While thousands of traditional racing fans gear up for Saturday's Arlington Million, organizers are also hoping to draw a younger crowd to the age-old sport with two new party options available this year.
"Our older demographic knew what horse racing was when they were younger -- it was a big sport and a big event for people to go to the track growing up," said Alyssa Ali, racing reporter for Arlington Park.
"Now, we want to get the younger demographic in so they can enjoy horse racing too," she said Thursday. "We know they'll appreciate what Arlington Park has to offer once they get here. It's just a push to make them realize what we have," she said.
The Million Party Zone will house a few thousand fans in the Arlington Park Area and Beer Garden complete with an all-inclusive food and drink package. Fans can watch the races from the Party Zone while listening to live entertainment from a local group called Prom Band.
Tickets to the Million Party Zone cost $65, which includes entrance to the park, Ali said.
"This is an entertainment destination, not just horses running around the circle," Ali said. "We want them to enjoy the sport, but find something else to enjoy as well."
For those looking for more of a high-class party atmosphere, the International Room on the fourth floor of the racetrack will be transformed into an upscale night club, the Million VIP Lounge, during Saturday's event.
DJ Summer Altice, who has worked at the Playboy Mansion and top clubs around the country, will spin hits for a group of about 250 people in the VIP Lounge.
The Lounge will also offer a 4½-hour premium open bar, a light buffet, a Red Carpet entrance, private betting agents, an outdoor viewing area and a silent auction.
A special VIP table reservation package that includes seating for eight, bottle service and a private server is available for purchase as well.
Tickets for the Million VIP Lounge cost $200 per person.
VIP partyers will also get their name on the list for a club in the city to continue the celebration once the day of racing is over.
"These events are aimed at the younger crowd and just trying to give people a different experience at the racetrack," said Howard Sudberry, senior director of marketing and communications for Arlington Park. "There's something for everybody, so the experience when you come to the Million is whatever you make it."
Tickets to both events are available online or on race day.