Arlington Park releases 18-race stakes schedule for likely final season

  • Arlington International Racecourse on Thursday announced a list of 18 stakes races, for what's expected to be the Arlington Heights track's final season. Track owner Churchill Downs Inc. announced in February it was putting the 94-year-old racing palace up for sale.

      Arlington International Racecourse on Thursday announced a list of 18 stakes races, for what's expected to be the Arlington Heights track's final season. Track owner Churchill Downs Inc. announced in February it was putting the 94-year-old racing palace up for sale. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer, 2015

 
 
Updated 4/8/2021 6:04 PM

Arlington International Racecourse Thursday released its stakes schedule for what is likely the track's final season, highlighted by three Grade I races that carry the names of Arlington Chairman Emeritus Richard Duchossois and his family.

Those marquee races will enter the starting gates on Saturday, Aug. 14 -- long known as Million Day at the Arlington Heights oval, though there won't be a $1 million purse in any single race.

 

Formerly known as the Arlington Million, the rebranded Mister D. will be run at 1¼ miles for a $600,000 purse. It will be preceded by the Beverly D. at 1 3/16 miles for fillies and mares, with a $400,000 purse. The race formerly known as the Secretariat is the Bruce D. at 1 mile for 3-year-olds, worth $300,000.

Those three races are among an 18-race stakes schedule worth $2.75 million over the course of a 68-day race meet.

"Million Day has always been a highly regarded event and now to honor Mr. Duchossois and his family will make this year the most special of all," Arlington President Tony Petrillo said in a news release. "It is the day that brings the superstars of racing to our state and unprecedented attention to Illinois racing. This maintains an interest in Illinois racing for fans in the state and worldwide."

Million Day, along with graded stakes races, were shelved during last year's shortened racing season amid the pandemic and a protracted labor dispute between track management and horse owners and trainers.

Some 75 trainers and hundreds of horses will start to return to Arlington this week for spring training, in what could be their final time there.

Track owner Churchill Downs Inc. announced in February it was putting the 94-year-old racing palace up for sale.

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Million Day will showcase eight stakes races for the first time in the track's history, with six of the races contested on the turf. They include:

• Grade III Pucker Up Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at 1⅛ miles, worth $100,000.

• Isaac Murphy Stakes for fillies and mares 3 years old and up at 6 furlongs, worth $75,000.

• Addison Cammack Memorial Stakes for 3-year-olds and up at 6 furlongs, worth $75,000.

• Mike Spellman Memorial Stakes for fillies and mares 3 years old and up at 1 1/16 miles, worth $75,000.

• Black Tie Affair for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/16 miles, worth $75,000.

The track will host Million Preview Day on Saturday, July 17, with three turf prep races worth $100,000 each: the 1 3/16-mile Grade III Arlington Stakes (Mister D.); the 1 3/16-mile Grade III Modesty Stakes (Beverly D.); and the milelong American Derby (Bruce D.). The Hatoof Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles, worth $75,000, is also slated for the turf that day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Other stakes races on the calendar include:

• Saturday, June 26: Grade III Chicago Stakes at 7 furlongs, worth $100,000; and milelong Hanshin Cup, worth $100,000.

• Saturday, Aug. 7: Richard P. Hazelton Memorial Stakes and Sharon N. Kirby Memorial Stakes -- both a milelong, on the turf, and worth $75,000.

• Saturday, August 28: Arlington-Washington Futurity and Arlington-Washington Lassie -- both 7 furlongs, on the turf, and worth $75,000.

Opening Day at the track is April 30.

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