Racing & Wagering

2013 Season Meet Overview

| Churchill Downs Communications | 04/30/2013 #

Arlington International Racecourse opens its doors for the 2013 season on Friday, May 3.  First post (the first race of the day) for the 10-race opening day program is 3 p.m.

Arlington has been part of the Chicago sports scene since 1927, when a group of investors built what was then called Arlington Park, which upon its opening was called “America’s most beautiful race course” by the Chicago Tribune. 


Completely rebuilt following a 1985 fire that destroyed the facility, Arlington remains one of the world’s finest racing establishments.  Each August, Arlington hosts the world-renowned Arlington Million, which was inaugurated in 1981 as the world’s first million-dollar horse race.  This year’s Million is schedule for Saturday, August 17.

General admission on Opening Day is free. The 89-day season continues through Sunday, Sept. 29, with live racing conducted on a four-day per week schedule.  In May and June, Arlington will be open for live racing every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday with a post time of 1 p.m. and every Friday with a first post of 3 p.m. 

There will be a special 12:15 p.m. post time on Saturday, May 4, for the Kentucky Derby day program and there will be a holiday racing program on Memorial Day Monday, May 27, beginning at 1 p.m.

Once the calendar flips to July, Arlington’s schedule will change to a Thursday-Sunday schedule with the first race slated for 1 p.m. on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, and 3 p.m. on Fridays through August and 2 p.m. in September. 

Opening Weekend
In addition to the 10-race card on Opening Day, the first 5,000 guests will receive a coupon for a hot dog and their choice of beer or soda for just 50-cents.  The day’s festivities will also include the simulcast of the Kentucky Oaks from Churchill Downs, as well as advanced wagering on the next day’s Kentucky Derby, presented by Yum! Brands.

ESPN-1000 Radio will be on hand all day broadcasting both the Carmen & Jurko Show from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. and the Waddle & Silvy Show from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m.

The next day, Saturday, May 4, is Chicagoland’s Official Kentucky Derby Party at Arlington and is all about world famous Mint Juleps, live music, and good times with great friends! Fans will be able to watch and wager on the Kentucky Derby simulcast, the entire program from Churchill Downs and 12 live races throughout the day.

Arlington will host its annual Derby Day Hat Contest after the third race. Be sure to get fancy, creative and fun with your hat choice and enter for a chance to win some amazing prizes. Also, one lucky guest will be chosen to make the ULTIMATE BET – $1,000 to make a win bet on the 139th running of the Kentucky Derby.

For those looking for an exclusive red carpet experience, Arlington will offer the Derby Party Zone. Located just past the finish line in the Marquee Tents, the Derby Party Zone ticket includes an all-inclusive drink and food package, a live DJ, commemorative Kentucky Derby Mint Julep glass, and a Daily Racing Guide. For tickets call 847.870.RACE (7223).

Mother’s Day
Mother’s Day at Arlington has become a Chicagoland tradition. This is your chance to give Mom a unique experience that will create memories to last a lifetime.

The first 5,000 ladies to arrive on Sunday, May 12 will receive a free rose upon entrance. Plus, select Moms will be chosen throughout the day to be honored in the Winner's Circle with a picture with the winning jockey and their family.

The Junior Jockey Zone in the park will offer kids the chance to make their Mom a Mother's Day picture frame, enjoy pony rides, a petting zoo, face painter, magician, juggler, caricaturist, bounce house and hands-on activities with Legoland Discovery Center and the Shedd Aquarium.

There will be Mother’s Day Mimosas and Bloody Marys on special to treat Mom to a delicious afternoon drink.

Arlington will also offer several brunch and dining packages, which are sure to be an extraordinary experience for everyone. Premium Day brunch packages in the Million Room, Suites, International Room, and Marquee Tents are available.

Major Stakes Days
Fans of high-quality turf racing will want to make plans to be here on Saturday, July 13, for Million Preview Day, and again on Saturday, August 17, for the Arlington Million and International Festival of Racing.

On Million Preview Day, the track will present four Grade III turf races – the $200,000 Arlington Handicap, the $200,000 Modesty Handicap, the $200,000 American Derby and the $150,000 Stars and Stripes Stakes – which will serve as prep races for the International Festival of Racing five weeks later.

In addition to the Grade I Arlington Million, the International Festival of Racing includes the Grade I $750,000 Beverly D. Stakes, Grade I $500,000 Secretariat Stakes and second running of the $400,000 American St. Leger Stakes.

In all, Arlington International will present 25 stakes races, 15 of which are graded, worth more than $5.5 million.

Other major stakes days include Saturday, May 25, featuring a trio of Grade III races – the $150,000 Arlington Classic, the $150,000 Arlington Matron and the $150,000 Hanshin Cup; each of the first three Saturdays in June will feature a pair of $100,000 stakes races for Illinois-bred horses; and Saturday, Sept. 7, when 2-year-olds will be featured in the Grade III $150,000 Arlington-Washington Futurity and the Listed $100,000 Arlington-Washington Lassie.

Arlington Million and the International Festival of Racing
As mentioned above, the meet’s centerpiece is the Arlington Million and International Festival of Racing.  Both the Arlington Million and Beverly D. Stakes have again been designated as Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” races, automatically qualifying winners for the Breeders' Cup World Championships.

The winner of the Million will receive an automatic berth into the Breeders’ Cup Turf while the winner of the Beverly D. will earn a starting slot in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf. First post on Arlington Million Day is 12:15 p.m., which is earlier than usual in order to accommodate the expanded 12-race card.

Jockeys: Deep Colony features 2011 champion James Graham and Eclipse Award winners Kent Desormeaux and Rosemary Homeister Jr.
Three-time Eclipse Award winning jockey Kent Desormeaux joins an already deep jockey colony that includes 2011 champion James Graham; Eclipse Award-winning Rosemary Homeister Jr.; 10-time Breeders’ Cup winning rider Corey Nakatani, and 2006 Arlington titlist Chris Emigh to name just a few.

Trainers: Casse among New Names Joining Mainstays Catalano, Block and Stidham
Mark Casse will have an Arlington division for the first time in 2013.  The predominantly Canadian-based conditioner is a four-time winner of the Sovereign Award as Canada’s top trainer. 

He joins perennial leading trainer Wayne Catalano as well as longtime Arlington regulars Chris Block, Mike Stidham, Roger Brueggemann, Larry Rivelli, Jimmy DiVito and Frank Kirby.

New Wagers and Lower Takeouts
Returning wagers with a low 15% takeout rate are the 50-cent Pick 5 and the $1 Jackpot High 5, which last year returned an Arlington record payoff of more than $1.1 million when it was finally solved for the first time on the 23rd day of the meet.

Offering a 15% takeout rate for the first time in 2013 are the $1 Pick 6, which will cover the final six races daily, and the all-new 10-cent Jackpot Pick 9.

Like the Jackpot High 5, the entire carryover pool (plus 50% of that day’s net pool) on the Jackpot Pick 9 will only be paid out when there is a single winning ticket sold that correctly selects the official winners in the designated Pick 9 races with 50% of the day’s net pool being split amongst those ticket holders with eight of nine winners.  If there are multiple tickets sold that correctly select the official winners in the designated Pick 9 races, then 50% of the daily Jackpot Pick 9 pool will be distributed among those ticket holders and 50% of the daily pool will be carried over to the next day. Early Pick Four; Late Pick Four
Fans can get free Ultimate Past Performances for each Early Pick Four at Arlington International courtesy of, the Internet’s largest horseracing information service. The Early Pick Four starts on Race 2 every day. To download your free Early Pick Four past performances, visit to access the link. will be the title sponsor each day’s Late Pick 4, which will cover the day’s final four races.  Every Wednesday in May and June, the Late Pick 4 for have a $40,000 guaranteed pool so long as there are at least six betting interests in each race in the sequence and that all turf races in the sequence remain on the turf at the time the wager closes.

Nine Chances to Win a Trip to Major Las Vegas Handicapping Contests
Arlington International live-money handicapping contests, dubbed the Arlington Handicapping Challenge (AHC), return for the 2013 live meet that starts on Friday, May 3.

For 2013 Arlington will send one horseplayer to the DRF/NTRA National Handicapping Championship (NHC) in Las Vegas in January 2014 and eight fans to the 2014 Horse Player World Series (HWS) in Las Vegas in February 2014.  The first handicapping contest is scheduled for Saturday, May 18.

More information on Arlington’s summer handicapping contests, fans can visit:

Arlington University
Always among the leaders in fan education, Arlington International Racecourse will unveil “Arlington University,” a one-stop location where fans new and old alike can ask questions and receive individual and small group interaction from the track’s group of experts – the university “professors.”

An expansion of Arlington’s popular “Learn to Win” program that the track has held on selected days for several years, Arlington University will be housed in the west end of the Million Tent located in the Park area.  Arlington University (“AU”) will open, weather permitting, beginning 30 minutes before the day’s first race every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and holiday from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.

In addition to on-site help at the “Campus,”  “AU” team members will work with groups of people throughout the track as well as conduct tours of the facility.

On selected weekend days, experts Joe Kristufek and Brian W. Spencer will join the Arlington University professors to teach racing fans of all levels.

Social Media
Information on Arlington International Racecourse and Trackside OTB can be found online at, on Facebook at and, and on Twitter at @Arlington_Park for the latest happenings, @arlingtonracing for the latest racing news and @tracksideotb for all things pertaining to off-track wagering.