Arlington Park and the Illinois Thoroughbred Horseman's Association board of directors have agreed to trim stakes purses by $725,000 for 11 stakes races during the remainder of the 2010 meet, officials announced June 11.
Arlington Park is one of the tracks in North America owned by Churchill Downs Inc.
One Arlington stakes race worth $100,000 , the non-graded Sea o' Erin set for Sept. 6, has been placed on hiatus for this year. All graded stakes purse levels remain sufficient to retain that status, officials said.
Unaffected by the cuts are the six Illinois-bred stakes races that comprise the June 19 Prairie State Festival and the three grade I races that make up the International Festival of Racing on Aug. 21--the Arlington Million, the Beverly D., and the Secretariat Stakes.
A decrease in out-of-state handle on Arlington Park's races is the reason these cuts have become necessary.
"In order to maintain support for current overnight purses, it became necessary to make these adjustments to the stakes program," said Roy Arnold, Arlington Park president, in a statement. "While lowering purses is never easy, we want to do our best to provide as healthy an overnight purse structure as possible for the horsemen who stable on our grounds and support our program on a daily basis. These adjustments will allow us to retain current purse levels."
"We are hopeful that we have seen the worst in the way of handle at Arlington Park for the season and we hope that things will improve as the season progresses," said Mike Campbell, ITHA president. "It is incumbent on the horsemen stabled at Arlington to race here in order to help field size, which will improve the handle, and hopefully make further cuts unnecessary."
Changes will be reviewed at the next Illinois racing Board meeting scheduled for late June. The affected stakes races are:
Arlington Sprint, June 26, $100,000 (+$50,000 Breeders' Cup Fund), reduced to $75,000 (+$50,000 BCF)
Arlington Oaks (gr. III), July 3, $150,000, reduced to $100,000
Chicago Handicap (gr. III), July 4, $150,000, reduced to $100,000
American Derby (gr. IIT), July 17, $300,000, reduced to $200,000
Arlington Handicap (gr. IIIT), July 17, $200,000, reduced to $150,000
Modesty Handicap (gr. III), July 17, $200,000, reduced to $150,000
Stars & Stripes (gr. IIIT), Aug. 21, $150,000, reduced to $100,000
Washington Park Handicap, Sept. 4, $150,000 (+$50,000 BCF), reduced to $100,000 (+$50,000 BCF)
Pucker Up (gr. IIIT), Sept. 6, $200,000, reduced to $100,000
Sea O'Erin, Sept. 6, $100,000, canceled
Arlington-Washington Futurity (gr. III), Sept. 11, $150,000, reduced to $100,000
Arlington-Washington Lassie (gr. III), Sept. 11, $150,000, reduced to $100,000