A year after an unprecedented string of catastrophic breakdowns left horsemen wondering what was wrong with the dirt track at Arlington Park, they were singing the praises of a new synthetic racing surface.
Trainer H. Graham Motion has a contender in two of the three big races at Arlington Park's International Festival of Racing, so he's in a good spot to assess the relative quality of Saturday's fields.
The palatial grandstand wasn't all that was new when Arlington Park reopened in 1989 as Arlington International Racecourse. Horses raced over a new nine-furlong main surface and a single, one-mile turf course with movable rails that replaced the old two-course setup.
Tenpins proves best in the Washington Park Handicap, but may skip the Breeders' Cup Classic.
Juddmonte Farms' Beat Hollow wins the Arlington Million over a course he'll see again during the World Thoroughbred Championships.
Falcon Flight and England's Legend, both French-breds, to advance after winning Million Preview Day stakes at Arlington Park.
Trainer Wally Dollase sends out Mananan McLir to capture the American Derby.
Hail The Chief takes Gold Cup to complete huge week for trainer Niall O'Callaghan.
With Ability sets sail, Emeraldforajudge shines while getting rich victories on the front end.
Peter M. Crane's Hail The Chief has found a new life since being switched to dirt racing.
California trainer David La Croix verbalized what most of the entrants were thinking in the days leading up to the April 6 Illinois Derby (gr. II) when he said he was looking for a "back door" to the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) for Fonz's.
Globe-trotting German horse Silvano pulls the upset in the Arlington Million.
Make No Mistake wins the Arlington Handicap, cornerstone of Million Preview Day.
Guided Tour continues his winning ways, this time in the Washington Park Handicap.
The veteran, Baptize, beats the newcomer, Indygo Shiner, in the Arlington Classic.
The axiom "speed kills" holds true about every second race for Duckhorn. The other times he worries trainer Patrick Byrne half to death. Fortunately for Byrne and owner Michael Tabor, the "good" Duckhorn showed up for the $500,000 Hawthorne Gold Cup (gr. II) May 19. Of course, that was bad news for his half-dozen opponents, who spent a mile and a quarter watching the rear end of the roan 4-year-old colt.
The National Jockey Club Handicap (gr. III) was a puzzle just waiting to be assembled by Guided Tour at Sportsman's Park on April 22. The out-of-town star was supposed to ship in, overcome the challenge of invading speedster Duckhorn, add another $120,000 to his earnings, and leave everybody else in the field of five to cash their checks. Puzzle solved. All the pieces were in place -- until a stout-hearted Illinois-bred named Chicago Six scattered the preordained solution all over the drying-out racetrack.
The road to the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) runs through...Cicero, Illinois? That's the untested theory that has Dogwood Stable chief Cot Campbell and trainer Todd Pletcher scratching their heads after their late-developing colt Distilled rolled to a convincing 1 3/4-length victory in the $500,000 Illinois Derby (gr. II) on April 7.
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