It came down to the final week, but the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships at Arlington Park is a sellout.
Arlington Park chairman Richard Duchossois made the official announcement during an Oct. 22 luncheon at Harry Caray's in downtown Chicago. Only hours before, Breeders' Cup president D.G. Van Clief Jr. said the organization was about 100 tickets shy of a sellout.
Duchossois said 45,000 tickets were sold, and about 800 media members were credentialed. He said there are about 20,000 people, including those from foreign countries, occupying hotel rooms in the area.
Duchossois credited the state, county, and local officials for helping facilitate Arlington's first World Thoroughbred Championships. Van Clief credited Duchossois and his staff for meeting the challenges associated with getting the track ready to accommodate the large crowd.
Arlington has constructed some 32,500 stadium-style temporary seats and arranged for off-site parking for ticketholders to accommodate the Cup crowd.
"It has been a big challenge to create the infrastructure around Arlington Park," Van Clief said. "We also thank the village of Arlington Heights, but as villages go, Arlington Heights would be the third-largest city in Kentucky."
For the first time in the 19-year history of the event, no tickets or general admission will be available Breeders' Cup Day.
National Thoroughbred Racing Association commissioner Tim Smith said he remembers when, just after he took office in a job to sell horse racing, it was announced that Arlington, located in the country's third-largest media market, would close. Now, in its third year since reopening, the track will host its first Breeders' Cup.
"It was a terrific decision to move (the World Thoroughbred Championships) around and help the sport in particular markets," Smith said.