Race Tracks > Arlington Park
Arlington Park Track Facts
- Address: 2200 W Euclid Ave, Arlington Heights, IL 60005
- Phone: (847) 385-7500
- Website: www.ArlingtonPark.com
- Main Track (Polytrack Synthetic Dirt): 1 & 1/8 mile dirt oval
- Turf Track: 1 mile
Arlington International Racecourse was home to some of the biggest highlights of thoroughbred racing in the Midwest every season. Arlington’s live racing season formerly ran from the first Friday in May to the second to last Saturday in September. Races have since relocated to Churchill Downs.
Handicapping Arlington Park Bets
Tools: Ultimate Past Performances from TwinSpires and Brisnet feature BRIS Class, Pace and Speed Ratings that can be a valuable tool when handicapping races. Additional data, including trainer, jockey, track bias and pedigree stats, allows further inspection into key details and Ultimate PPs also contain a predictive Prime Power Rating for every horse that’s started. Ultimate PPs are free to TwinSpires.com players when they wager on the track and day of the product purchased.
Horse-for-the-course angle: Individual records (track, distance etc) are listed in Ultimate PPs and horseplayers can expect form reversals at Arlington. Horses who have shown an affinity for either dirt, synthetic, or turf surfaces can display significant improvement upon recent efforts at other tracks. In particular, watch for differences between dirt and Polytrack runners; horses which have run on turf often transition better to Polytrack than dirt runners do.
Hot/cold trainers and jockeys: Top Arlington Park trainers like Larry Rivelli, Scott Becker, Steve Manley and Wayne Catalano always have large, strong teams for the meet, and expect to see them perform well. But even top barns will go through hot and cold streaks at times; keep an eye on how their horses have been performing during the meet, and their winning percentages, because winning and losing can be contagious. Same goes for jockeys: horses can feed upon the confidence of a hot rider and logical win contenders will come up short with pilots mired in a cold slump. Also, be wary of the big-name raiders from both coasts – and overseas – when the rich races are held Arlington Million day.
Track bias: Keep an eye on the statistics during the meet to see what gates, and what styles of racing, perform best over the Arlington Park Polytrack and turf surfaces. The turf often plays well for horses that come from off the speed, though it usually pays to not be drawn too close to the outside rail. Horses with early speed can fare best on the Polytrack, and again gates on the inside half of the track often prove best.
Best bets can make the difference between winning and losing – horseplayers interested in making money won’t wager the same amount on every race. Some races appear inscrutable, more wide-open than others, and that places a premium on leveraging your strongest opinions when handicapping.
Developing a game plan is simple: identify your best bets on the program and attack accordingly. Best bets can be “singled” in multi-race wagers like the Pick 3 and Pick 4, where stringing together winners is of critical importance. Singling allows you to utilize more horses in other contentious races.
TwinSpires.com is the place to bet races from Arlington Park and horseplayers can rely on a wealth of reports, including Daily Selections and Workout Reports from Brisnet.com, to help take the guesswork out of selections.
The Pizza Man has become a fixture for the turf races at Arlington Park as he enters the Million on Saturday. Acoompanying him are several international contenders in addition to talented opponets Beach Patrol, Divisidero and Oscar Nominated. Additionally on the card is the Beverly D that features Dacita, Kitten’s Roar, Zipessa and several international runners.
Read Kellie Reilly’s international contender reports:
Arlington Million international scouting report: Fanciful Angel
Arlington Million international scouting report: Mekhtaal
Arlington Million international scouting report: Scottish
Arlington Million international scouting report: Deauville
Find all related stories in our Arlington Million day news and notes page.
Arlington Million Race Card Schedule
Gates Open at 11am
First Post is at 12:15pm
Admission is $30 Adult / $4 Youth
- Race 1 – 12:15pm
- Race 2 – 12:49pm
- Race 3 – 1:23pm
- Race 4 – 1:57pm
- Race 5 – 2:31pm
- Race 6 – 3:05pm
- Race 7 – 3:39pm – Secretariat S.
- Race 8 – 4:13pm – Bruce D. Memorial S.
- Race 9 – 4:51pm – American St. Leger S.
- Race 10 – 5:35pm – Beverly D. S.
- Race 11 – 6:19pm – Arlington Million XXXV S.
- Race 12 – 7:02pm – Pucker Up S.
Arlington Million Historical Trends and Tips
by Alastair Bull
First run in 1981 as the first million-dollar race in Thoroughbred racing, the Arlington Million has a distinguished history. It attracts horses from around the world to Chicago, and remains one of the most prized turf events in the United States.
The classy and incredibly hardy John Henry helped establish the race, winning in 1981 and 1984 on the way to Horse of the Year titles both occasions. Since then, it’s been a regular summer target for turf horses in North America and Europe.
One of the best handicapping puzzles on Arlington Million day is trying to establish how the European horses will go. To date, European horses have won 11 of the 34 runnings. In terms of class, Europeans, whose first surface is turf, will frequently have an advantage over locals, for whom the turf wasn’t always the first choice.
There often aren’t as many of the big-name European horses at Arlington Park as there are for the Breeders’ Cup. In addition, those that do come have spent most of their careers racing on roomy tracks with a very long stretch, and thus are not as familiar with tighter U.S. turf courses. Tracks in Europe can also be wetter than they are in North America.
So, when handicapping the race, look at whether the Europeans have form in North America, or form on firm tracks. If there’s evidence they can make up ground when rounding a turn, that’s also helpful; if you get a chance, maybe look at the horse physically and assess its athleticism to guess how it might handle turns.
Tight turf tracks can favor horses on or near the lead, but Arlington Park’s turf course usually gives horses a chance wherever they settle in the running, unless the early pace is unusually slow. Horses that settle off the pace need to be put into the race rounding the final turn, but they often prove more than capable of pressing on.
Mondialiste, winner of the 2016 Arlington Million, was an example, settling fifth on the outside before beginning his challenge near the top of the stretch and outfinishing Kasaqui, who had been sixth before finding an inside run.
He wasn’t the only one to win in this fashion last year. Sea Calisi was in the rear third of the field rounding the turn in the Beverly D but still won easily, while Noble Beauty was just as far back before winning the Pucker Up. Beach Patrol took out the Secretariat Stakes after settling third in the running on the outside, while Da Big Hoss was midfield in the American St Leger before making ground with three furlongs to run.
Generally then, it’s best to analyze form using all the normal tools. Usually, class wins out.
History of Arlington Park
Opened in 1927, the Arlington Park Race Track has been home to some of history’s biggest names, including John Henry, Cigar, Dr. Fager, and Secretariat. Combining elegance and tradition, Arlington Park has been host to many of racing’s biggest innovations: the first all-electric totalisator, the first commercially sponsored race, and the world’s first million-dollar Thoroughbred race (the Arlington Million, first run in 1981). Won twice in its early days by American racing legend John Henry, it continues to be one of the best turf races in the country.
The 1985 Arlington Million is known as the “Miracle Million” after the track was nearly destroyed by fire less than a month before the signature event. Racing from May to September, the Arlington Park Race Track is home to some of America’s finest turf races (the Beverly D., Secretariat, American Derby), as well as two of the first real tests for young horses in the Arlington-Washington Futurity and Arlington-Washington Lassie.
In 2021, Arlington will host 68 live race days, with opening weekend featuring the Kentucky Oaks (April 30, 2021) and the Kentucky Derby (May 1, 2021), and will conclude on Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021.
The synthetic surface at Arlington Park is Polytrack, which is comprised of several layers: perforated drainage pipes covered in dirt, then dense grade aggregate, clean stone, porous macadam (asphalt), about seven inches of compact Polytrack, then finally three inches of loose Polytrack.
Arlington International Racecourse
Though the actual venue is officially known as Arlington International Racecourse, racing fans and locals often refer to it simply as Arlington Park. Founded in 1927, the track is currently owned by Churchill Downs Incoporated and hosts three Grade I stakes races as well as many other significant competitions through the course of the year.
Arlington Park will run races from the first weekend of May through to the end of September. It’s marquee events include the Arlington Million, Beverly D. Stakes, Secretariat Stakes and the American Derby.
Some of the most popular Arlington Park races are highlighted below:
|Arlington Million||Arlington Classic Stakes||Stars and Stripes Turf|
|Beverly D. Stakes||Arlington Matron Hcp||Washington Park Hcp|
|Secretariat Stakes||Arlington Oaks||Arlington Sprint|
|American Derby||Arlington Handicap||American 1000 Guineas|
ARLINGTON PARK RACETRACK INFORMATION
Main Track: 1 1/8th Mile Dirt Track
Turf Track: 1 Mile Turf Oval
Seating: 50,000 (with extension)
Stables: 2,000+ horses
About Arlington Park
Arlington International Racecourse is traditionally known in and around the sport as “Arlington Park”. Located in a suburb just outside of Chicago, Illinois, this is one of the most important tracks in the Midwest. In fact, Arlington has been an extremely important location in terms of the history of American Thoroughbred Racing. A lot of firsts occurred at this storied venue.
The city of Chicago embraced horse racing as early as the 1830’s and a continued stream of success and support allowed for Arlington Park to be founded on October 13th, 1927. Leading the way was Harry “Curly” Brown, a California businessman who was able to open the venue to 20,000 public spectators on its first day.
In the 1940’s Arlington Park was acquired by the Lindheimer family who are credited with saving racing in Chicago. Benjamin Lindheimer and his daughter Marjorie Lindheimer Everett were the principals in charge of the track and created a world-class facility. With the Lindheimer family at the helm, Arlington Park became a venue for not only some of the biggest races in the sports, but also many of its most important innovations.
Arlington Park has also been credited as the first ever track to have a public-address system where announcers could commentate on the track to entertain the audience. Such a system allowed announcer Clem McCarthy to pioneer the live commentary that we enjoy to this very day.
In 1933 Arlington Park became the first track to have an electric totalisator, which allowed fans in the audience to see live updates on odds and racing results in real time. In 1936, Arlington Park also added a photo finish camera and in 1940 was the first track to use an electric powered starter’s gate as well.
The very first million dollar race was also hosted by Arlington Park in 1981 and was appropriately named the Arlington Million. The inaugural running of this race was won by jockey Bill Shoemaker and horse John Henry.
The track transitioned in to the hands of Richard L. Duchossois and a team of investors in 1985 before finally being acquired by Churchill Downs in 2000.
Arlington Park hosted the 2002 Breeders’ Cup.
Additional Information on Arlington Park
Arlington Park is the premier Thoroughbred racetrack in the Chicago area, located in the northwest suburb of Arlington Heights. Founded in 1927, it lays claim to a number of “firsts” in American racing.
The track is widely credited for being the first to install a public address system and electric totalisator, and was the first to use an electric starting gate. Arlington also played host to the first ever Thoroughbred race worth $1 million, the 1981 Arlington Million.
The Million, a 1 1/4-mile turf race, remains the track’s signature event. That race, along with the Beverly D. for fillies and mares and the Secretariat for three-year-olds, comprise the International Turf Festival, which is held every August.
The Secretariat honors the legendary colt whose first appearance after his record-breaking Triple Crown sweep in 1973 occurred at Arlington. Other Triple Crown winners to have competed at the track include Citation, Whirlaway, Omaha, and Gallant Fox.
For decades, races like the Arlington Classic and American Derby attracted many of the nation’s best three-year-olds, including Hall of Famers Native Dancer, Nashua, Buckpasser, Damascus, and Ack Ack. Arlington’s expansive and luscious turf course, acclaimed throughout the world, now plays host to the Classic and American Derby, as well as most of the track’s major events.
Other Thoroughbred icons that won at Arlington include turf legend Round Table and Dr. Fager, who ran a world-record mile in the 1968 Washington Park Handicap.
In the first several decades of its existence Arlington ran relatively short summer meets while sharing dates with a handful of other tracks in the metropolitan area. Consolidation, in particular with the old south side course of Washington Park in the 1960s, saw Arlington’s meet expand to cover much of the prime months of May through September.
The Arlington grandstand and clubhouse were destroyed by fire in 1985, shortly before the scheduled running of the Arlington Million. Due to the leadership of Richard Duchossois, the long-time head of the track, the remains of the building were removed and temporary facilities erected in time for the track to host the race on schedule. That year’s edition became known as the “Miracle Million.”
After one more year using temporary structures, Arlington closed in 1987-88 so a new, state-of-the-art grandstand could be built. Opened to wide acclaim in 1989, it remains one of the most modern in the sport.
While the current facility is smaller than the previous one, crowds of around 30,000 are common on Arlington Million Day. In 1996, more than 34,000 spectators at Arlington witnessed two-time Horse of the Year Cigar equal Citation’s achievement of winning 16 races in a row in the Arlington Citation Challenge, a race created specially for the occasion.
Churchill Downs Inc. acquired Arlington in late 2000 and, two years later, the track hosted the Breeders’ Cup before a crowd of more than 46,000.
Another significant change at Arlington this century was the conversion of the 1 1/8-mile main track from dirt to a synthetic Polytrack surface in 2007.