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updated: 8/13/2011 11:05 PM

Hat's off to Santina Dond in the Hatoof

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Sure, the crowd of 31,069 at Arlington Park was provided with an abundance of excitement from the three Grade I stakes races on the International Festival Day of Racing.

But they got a bonus, too, from a minor stakes race.

The $65,000-added Hatoof, carded immediately before the Secretariat, brought plenty of cheering with an electrifying finish.

Santina Dond, a 31-1 shot ridden by Carlos Castro, dramatically split rivals in the stretch and just got up in time at the wire to edge 9-1 Happy Choice by a neck.

With 13-1 Lily Again and 31-1 Seans Silverdancer third and fourth, the superfecta for a 10-cent bet paid a whopping $3,003.23.

Playing favorites:

If you bet the favorites and also bet the horses shipping into Arlington, you had yourself a heck of a Saturday.

The three big winners certainly put the 'international' in International Festival of Racing.

But as for big returns on investment? Not so much.

That's because the favorites won all three Grade I races, beginning with Treasure Beach ($5 to win) in the Secretariat Stakes.

Stacelita's win in the Beverly D. was worth only $5.60, and Million winner Cape Blanco returned $6.20.

The usually robust Festival Pick 3 wager returned a paltry $16.40.

Noah's ark:

The heavens opened up at Arlington around 1:12 p.m. and caused a brief delay of racing.

Some 20 minutes later the skies brightened and the horses hit the track for the third race.

The rain not only caused the condition of both turf courses to be changed from 'good' to 'yielding,' it also caused the times between races to be shortened to make sure the Million hit its scheduled start time on WGN-TV ... which it did.

Big shooters:

Former White Sox slugger Frank Thomas and Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville were on hand to celebrate Cape Blanco's victory in the Arlington Million with the horse's connections.

Calling them home:

Look for WGN-TV, which aired Saturday's Arlington Million live, to continue broadcasting the race in years to come.

• Daily Herald staff writer Mike Spellman contributed to this report.