Arlington Park has several thousand seats still available for the Oct. 26 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships despite an early sales push and good demand.
About 24,000 seats were requested by the June 16 deadline for a ticket "lottery." Another 10,000 are set aside for participants and others involved in the events. Arlington will have about 45,000 total seats for the event, which it is hosting for the first time.
After allocating tickets to applications received after June 16, about 6,000 to 7,000 seats remained available, officials said June 21.
The "lottery" requests are being filled and applicants should be notified no later than mid-July of their status. After that process is complete, applications received after June 16 will be handled on a first-come, first-served basis, said Damon Thayer, vice president Breeders' Cup and event marketing for the National Thoroughbred Racing Association and Breeders' Cup Ltd.
While encouraging fans to continue submitting applications, Breeders' Cup and Arlington officials said sales are going well. "We're pleased with where we're at," Thayer said. "This is the earliest we've ever attempted to sell Breeders' Cup seats. And we're in an unusual situation because there are no general admission tickets."
Breeders' Cup president D.G. Van Clief Jr. said the organization projects that all seats will be purchased in advance of the event. If not, Breeders' Cup would make plans to offer them on walk-up basis the day of the championships.
Thayer and Van Clief said the decision not to offer general admission was made to ensure that amenities at Arlington, including mutuels, concessions, and traffic flow, will be adequate.
"We want to make sure we can service the 45,000 people we have there, and that they have a great Arlington Park Breeders' Cup experience," he said.
Thayer said Arlington is working with the office of Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, the Chicago Breeders' Cup Host Committee, and the Arlington Heights Breeders' Cup Task Force to build interest in the event in its first-ever Chicago-area running.
"The response by the state of Illinois, city of Chicago, and the village of Arlington Heights has been great," he said. "They have all made it clear they want this event to be a complete success and that they want it to come back to Arlington."