Arlington Park released its 2010 stakes schedule Jan. 12, and the biggest change will be to its featured event, the Arlington Million (gr. IT), which will be run two weeks later than it has been in recent years. Held in early August since 2004, the Million is scheduled for Aug. 21 this year.
The date change for the race, which was held the third week of August from 2000-03, was mainly to accommodate horsemen, Arlington spokesman David Zenner said.
“It just seems to make more sense on the national schedule,” Zenner said. “More and more horsemen like four or five weeks between races, and this allows for that. Horses can run in West Coast preps like the Eddie Read (at Del Mar) and still make the Million. And even though the East Coast tracks haven’t come out with their schedules yet, it should benefit them, too.”
Also on Million Day are the $750,000 Beverly D. (gr. IT) for fillies and mares and the $400,000 Secretariat Stakes (gr. IT) for 3-year-olds. In addition to the three grade I headliners that day, the Illinois track will feature for the first time the $150,000 Stars and Stripes Handicap (gr. IIIT) at its new marathon distance of 1 5/8 miles on the turf.
Million Day tops a schedule of 27 stakes worth more than $5 million during 91 days of racing from April 29-Sept. 26. The schedule is contingent upon approval of the Illinois Racing Board at its January meeting.
Other major event days include the $600,000 Prairie State Festival for Illinois-bred horses June 19; Million Preview Day July 17; and stakes doubleheaders May 15; May 22; May 29; Labor Day, Sept. 6, when the track presents its annual Turf Showcase card; and Sept. 11, when 2-year-olds are showcased.
“We have more Saturdays with at least one stakes than in past years,” Zenner said.
Million Preview Day, scheduled five weeks prior to the International Festival of Racing, includes major prep races for three events. The grade III $200,000 Arlington Handicap serves as the final local prep race for the Million, while the grade III $200,000 Modesty Handicap plays the same role for the Beverly D. The grade II $300,000 American Derby leads into the Secretariat Stakes.
The third running of $200,000 American 1000 Guineas for 3-year-old fillies at one mile on the turf headlines the stakes twin bill May 22 that includes the $100,000 Arlington Classic for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles on the grass.