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updated: 6/15/2017 2:04 PM

Spellman Stakes returns as Arlington Park honors St. Viator champs

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  • Video: A day at Arlington Park

  • Last year, Stormin Elle won The Mike Spellman Memorial Handicap at Arlington Internation with leading jockey Jose Valdivia Jr. aboard.

    Last year, Stormin Elle won The Mike Spellman Memorial Handicap at Arlington Internation with leading jockey Jose Valdivia Jr. aboard.
    Photo courtesy of Four Footed Fotos

  • Mike Spellman

      Mike Spellman
    Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

 
 

The third annual Mike Spellman Memorial Stakes will return on Saturday at Arlington Park, the same day when track officials will honor St. Viator's baseball team by naming the fifth race for the Class 3A state champs.

Spellman, a popular Daily Herald sports writer, was a standout catcher for St. Viator's baseball team in the early 1980s. He worked for the Daily Herald for 23 years, and his Scorecard column was a favorite among readers. He died at age 51 in 2015.

As a sports writer, Spellman covered everything from preps to college to pro sports for the newspaper, and he took over the hockey beat after the death of veteran Blackhawks writer Tim Sassone in 2014.

Spellman was also the newspaper's horse racing writer for many years.

Arlington Park officials have invited the St. Viator baseball team to the track and the Lions will appear on the "Good Day Arlington" TV show, which airs live from the track at 11 a.m. Saturday on CSN.

The St. Viator team will join Neal Spellman (Mike's brother) to make the presentation to the winner of the $50,000 Mike Spellman Memorial Stakes, which is the seventh race (about 4:44 p.m).

Arlington's gates will open at noon, with the first post at 1:25 p.m.

Black Tie Affair Stakes:

Also on Saturday, The Pizza Man makes his 2017 Arlington debut in the $50,000 Black Tie Affair, carded as the eighth race (about 5:16 p.m.). A fan favorite, The Pizza Man is the only Illinois-bred horse to win the Million (2015).

"This is an Illinois-bred stakes race and is a stepping stone to the rest of the season," said Howard Sudberry, Arlington's senior director of marketing and communications. "The Pizza Man is nine years old now but they say he is doing as well as he ever has."

Horses & Hounds:

Saturday is also "Horses & Hounds" day at the track, an event designed to support adoptable dogs and retired race horses. A portion of ticket proceeds will go toward participating shelters.

While you can't bring your dog or horse to the track, officials will also host the "Corgi Classic" on its turf course, with two elimination heats leading up to the final race for the fastest Corgi. For more information, visit Arlingtonpark.com.

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