Arlington Million TV viewers left in dark
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It wasn't quite the level of the "Heidi Game" when fans didn't get to view the Oakland Raiders' 2 touchdowns in the final minute to defeat the New York Jets in a 1968 NFL playoff game on NBC.
But Saturday's WGN broadcast of the Arlington Million unfortunately left viewers wondering about the official outcome when they cut away to the White Sox game before the official sign was lit.
Sure enough, the horse who fans saw cross the wire first when the telecast went off was later disqualified and the second-place horse got moved to first.
"There was nothing we could do about it," said Arlington Park marketing director Howard Sudberry, who was on the broadcast crew with Eddie Olczyk and Dan Roan. "We would have loved to have shown the replay of the race and everything else afterward. But it was completely out of our hands."
Today's technology, though, does make things easier for viewers to find their answers.
"If there is any consolation, in this day and age, with the Internet, you can pretty much find anything in two minutes," Sudberry said. "I didn't like what happened, but what were we going to do?"
One of the trophy presenters in the winner's circle for the Arlington Million was Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville.
Perhaps it was fitting because the man receiving the hardware, owner Ken Ramsey, had completed a nifty hat trick of his own Saturday, winning the Grade I Million and Secretariat at Arlington and the Grade I Sword Dancer at Saratoga.
Quennville also had a helping hand from former Bears coach Mike Ditka.
Arlington chairman Richard Duchossois served as a perfect host again, congratulating all the winning teams of Saturday's major stakes races. He also spent much of the past two days doing radio and TV interviews about the big showcase weekend.
"The most remarkable thing to me about today is that we establish a Midwest center of international racing with one common language," Duchossois said. "In a world of turmoil, thoroughbred racing has this one common denominator. We have people here from nine different counties and everyone gets along so well."
James Wigan, whose Dank won the race name of Duchossois' late wife (Beverly D. Stakes), relished his first experience at the Arlington venue.
"Mr. D. has done a fantastic job here," said Wigan, who lives some 100 miles from London. "I am a great admirer of his."
Former local racing media relations employee Katie Mikolay was back in town for the Festival.
"Arlington feels like home to me because I grew up coming here," said Mikolay, who is in her sixth season as track analyst at Presque Isle Downs and her first full year at Keeneland. "Just walking in here you can see it's a beautiful place to be, but for me it's special on a personal level because I've been coming here since I was 5-years-old."
Mikolay, who is expecting her first child, was at the track Saturday as part of fan education program.
"I've been working hard but at the same time I've been socializing," said a smiling Mikolay who graduated from Conant High School in Hoffman Estates. "I got to see all the old familiar faces.
"It's great to be back."
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