Arlington to Run 27 Stakes in 2009 Worth More Than $5 Million
The International Festival of Racing, featuring the 27th running of the Grade I Arlington Million, tops a 2009 schedule that includes 27 stakes races worth $5,225,000 during 98 days of racing at Arlington Park from Friday, May 1 through Sunday, Sept. 27. The announcement was made Tuesday following the approval of the Illinois Racing Board at its monthly meeting.
Arlington's International Festival of Racing will be run on Saturday, Aug. 8, and features three Grade I stakes, all scheduled to be run over Arlington’s internationally acclaimed turf course – the $1,000,000 Arlington Million for 3-year-olds & older; the $750,000 Beverly D. for fillies & mares, 3-years-old & older; and the $400,000 Secretariat Stakes for 3-year-olds.
The Million and Secretariat are both run at North America's classic distance of a mile and a quarter while the Beverly D. is contested at a mile and three-sixteenths.
Other major event days include the American 1000 Guineas Festival on Saturday, May 23, when there will be four stakes races worth a total of $600,000 topped by the $200,000 American 1000 Guineas; the $600,000 Prairie State Festival for Illinois-bred horses on Saturday, June 20; an expanded Million Preview Day on Saturday, July 11; and stakes tripleheaders on Saturday, Sept. 5 and Labor Day Monday, Sept. 7 when the track presents its annual Turf Showcase card.
On July 11, Million Preview Day, scheduled four weeks prior to the International Festival of Racing, includes major prep races for all three International Festival events. The Grade III $200,000 Arlington Handicap serves as the final local prep race for the Arlington Million while the Grade III $200,000 Modesty Handicap carries the same role for the Beverly D., and the Grade II $300,000 American Derby leads into the Secretariat Stakes. The Modesty and American Derby each had its purse increased by $50,000.
Three additional grass stakes races will be held that afternoon – the $200,000 Arlington Sprint at 5 ½ furlongs and two overnight stakes races, the $60,000 Diamond Ring Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles and the $60,000 Pink Ribbon for fillies and mares 3-years-old & older at five furlongs. Total purses available on Million Preview Day top $1 million, making it the second richest day on Arlington’s 2009 calendar.
Also returning is the ninth annual Prairie State Festival, Arlington's showcase for Illinois-bred horses featuring six $100,000-added stakes races. Illinois-owned horses will be spotlighted in $100,000 Illinois Owners Stakes scheduled for opening weekend (colts & geldings) and closing weekend (fillies).
Now in its second running, the American 1000 Guineas for 3-year-old fillies at one mile on the turf headlines the stakes laden program on Saturday, May 23 that also includes the $150,000 Arlington Classic for 3-year-olds at a mile and a sixteenth on the grass, the Grade III $150,000 Arlington Matron Handicap for fillies and mares at nine furlongs on the main track and the Grade III $100,000 Hanshin Cup for older horses at a mile over Polytrack.
Returning to the schedule after a year’s absence is the Grade III Washington Park Handicap, the $300,000 event will be run over Labor Day Weekend on Saturday, Sept. 5 at a mile and three-sixteenths over Arlington’s Polytrack and serves as a major prep for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic, which will be raced over Santa Anita Park’s Pro-Ride synthetic surface. The Washington Park will share top billing that afternoon with the $150,000 Arlington-Washington Futurity for 2-year-olds at one mile on the main track and its sister race the $150,000 Arlington-Washington Lassie.
Labor Day Monday will be highlighted by the third annual Turf Showcase when nearly the entire card will be raced over Arlington’s world famous turf course. The grassy program will include three stakes races – the Grade III $200,000 Pucker Up Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at a mile and an eighth, the Grade III $125,000 Stars and Stripes Handicap for older horses at a mile and a half and the $100,000 Sea o’Erin Handicap for 3-year-olds & older at a mile.
With $600,000 in stakes purses available on Sept. 5 combined with the $425,000 up for grabs on Sept. 7, more than $1 million in stakes purses will be distributed over the Labor Day holiday weekend.
Two other graded stakes will be presented during Arlington’s 2009 season – the Grade III $150,000 Chicago Handicap, for fillies and mares at seven furlongs on Polytrack, which will top the Independence Day holiday card on Saturday, July 4; and the Grade III $150,000 Arlington Oaks, for 3-year-old fillies at a mile and an eighth on the main track, which will be run on Saturday, July 18.
Click here for the complete 2009 Arlington Park stakes schedule.