Arlington Park's International Festival of Racing, which this year will feature the 22nd running of the grade I Arlington Million, highlights a 27-race stakes schedule worth $5,625,000 in purses.
Pending approval from the Illinois Racing Board, Arlington's 96-day meet will commence May 14 and end Sept. 19.
Arlington's International Festival of Racing features Illinois' only three grade I stakes, all scheduled for turf --- the $1-million Arlington Million for 3-year-olds & up; the $750,000 Beverly D. Stakes for fillies & mares, 3-years-old & up; and the $400,000 Secretariat Stakes for 3-year-olds
Five other stakes races received purse boosts for 2004, including three races that are now part of the Breeders' Cup Stakes program. The grade II Arlington Classic, to be run July 3, and the grade III Pucker Up Stakes, a turf race for 3-year-old fillies scheduled for Sept. 18, each were raised by $25,000 to $200,000.
The grade III Arlington Breeders' Cup Oaks (formerly the Singapore Plate), for 3-year-old fillies on Aug. 21, and the Arlington Breeders' Cup Sprint, for older horses to be run one week later, each received a $50,000 enhancement from the Breeders' Cup Fund and are now worth $150,000 apiece to Breeders' Cup nominees. In addition, the grade III Arlington-Washington Breeders' Cup Futurity will be worth $200,000, which includes $50,000 from the Breeders' Cup Fund.
Million Preview Day, scheduled for July 24, three weeks prior to the International Festival of Racing, has been adjusted to include major prep races for all three International Festival events. The grade III $250,000 Arlington Handicap serves as the final local prep race for the Arlington Million while the grade III $150,000 Modesty Handicap carries the same role for the Beverly D.
New to Million Preview Day for 2004 is the grade II $250,000 American Derby, which leads into the Secretariat Stakes. In past years, the $100,000 Round Table, a dirt race for 3-year-olds, was part of the Million Preview Day card but that race will be held one week earlier in 2004, on July 17.