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Arlington Season Opens April 29 with New Venues, More HD TVs and New Wagers
When the gates burst open for the first race at Arlington Park for the 2010 season at 1 p.m. Central time on Thursday, April 29, guests will be treated to a number of new amenities, new venues, new wagers as well as an upgraded and expanded menu of food options.
Most noticeable will be the addition of Longshots Sports Bar on the east end of the Apron level. Longshots is a casual sports bar with both indoor and outdoor seating and a menu featuring sandwiches and burgers, plus a full bar available. In addition to showing the live races from Arlington Park, Longshots will devote ample television monitors to covering area major league sports teams and will remain open into the evening.
Two other new venues are areas restricted to members of the Arlington Racing Club, a season-long membership program that includes a season pass, preferred parking, and more. New for 2010 ARC members are the “ARC in the Park” seating area – a limited availability, members only picnic benches in the Park area; and the “ARC on the Apron” – a covered, members only seating area on the track apron.
Also new for 2010, Arlington Park will offer high definition (“HD”) simulcasts of all of its races and becomes the only the fifth track in North America to offer a high-definition simulcast signal to on-track and simulcast patrons.
Arlington’s high-definition simulcast will present live racing in full 16:9 HD format, offering customers a larger and clearer view of the race itself. In addition, on-screen graphics and racing information will be presented in high definition within the 16:9 format allowing for additional, enhanced wagering information and previous race results provided by BRIS for both the on-track and simulcast customer.
Arlington has invested in state of the art hardware including Sony HD broadcast cameras to enhance the racing experience from the wide and tight race angles along with the paddock, winner circle and alternate finish line views. More than 100 HDTVs on-track at Arlington Park will benefit from the high-definition signal. Those televisions will be spread throughout the facility in both luxury seating locations and areas open to the general public. Locations include the new Longshots Sports Bar (located on the east end of the Apron level), Silks Lounge, International Room, Million Room, Turf Club, Governor’s Room, Gold Club, Terrace Café, Arc on the Apron, John Henry Suite, Million Suite, Beverly D. Suite and the Starting Gate Theatre.
Arlington’s state-of-the-art Polytrack synthetic surface underwent a three-week inversion process. Likening it to rotating the tires on car, “inverting” the Polytrack surface takes the portions of the surface that had less horse traffic and moved it to the heavier traffic areas and vice versa – bringing the track as close as possible to its 2007 composition.
On the wagering front, the track will offer a Pick 5 wager for the first time in 2010. The Pick 5, a $1 minimum wager, will cover races three through seven on any card with at least nine races programmed and offers a carryover provision any day the wager is not correctly hit.
Under new director of racing and racing secretary Chris Polzin, the track’s 27-race stakes schedule, worth more than $5 million, has undergone some revisions – most significantly the track’s signature event the Grade I Arlington Million and International Festival of Racing will be run two weeks later than in recent years, on Saturday, August 21.
Junior Alvarado and James Graham, the 1-2 finishers in the 2009 jockey race, renew their rivalry for 2010 and top a colony that includes mainstays Chris Emigh, Inez Karlsson, E. T. Baird, Tim Thornton as well as Michael Baze, who is shifting his tack from California to Arlington for the first time in 2010. Others returning include Jesus Castanon, Tanner Riggs, Lyndie Wade, Quincy Hamilton and Brandon Meier. Newcomers include Inocencio Diego, Angel Stanley, Anthony Groth and Julio Felix.
Eight-time Arlington training champion Wayne Catalano will defend his title and head a stable area that will include horses trained by Arlington regulars Chris Block, Hugh Robertson, Moises Yanez, Larry Rivelli, Dale Bennett, Tom Proctor, Christine Janks, Donnie K. Von Hemel, Nick Canani, Brian Williamson and Mike Stidham. Notable among the new names for 2010 is Dan Peitz, who brings 30 head from Oaklawn Park.
Arlington Park’s event and entertainment driven website www.arlingtonparklive.com has gotten a fresh look as well. Launched last year as the social hub for all activities at Arlington Park, the refurbished arlingtonparklive.com allows fans to get more up close and personal with Arlington Park in an easier to navigate, completely interactive format featuring substantially more content.
Arlington’s schedule is new as well. Racing will be conducted on a four-day per week basis with live racing every Thursday through Sunday (plus holidays) through Sunday, Sept. 26. Post time will be 1 p.m. Central time Thursday, Saturday, Sunday and holidays with the first race on Fridays set for 3 p.m. Central time.