Arlington Adjusts Start for 1 1/16-Mile Races

Change allows for longer main track stretch run but will limit field size to eight.

Arlington Park, which begins its 2013 season May 3, has made a change in its configuration for races contested at 1 1/16 miles on the main track.

The Chicago-area track announced April 25 that it will revert to its former starting position for those races and use the oval's traditional finish line. The starting gate is to be placed between the finish and the sixteenth pole past, using a significant run-up to the pole that triggers the timer.

Previously, an auxiliary finish had been employed at the sixteenth pole, resulting in a substantially shorter stretch and slightly unclear finish for fans.

According to Chris Polzin, Arlington's director of racing and racing secretary, the previous positioning of the start and finish "never caught on with the fans. Many in the crowd didn't understand what was going on with the finish."

It was unpopular with some horsemen as well, Polzin added. "Some of them didn't like that they had to make an earlier move on the turn," he said.

Because of the shortened run to the first turn, fields will be limited to eight runners (plus also-eligibles) with a slightly wider placement of the starting gate to soften the angle into the first turn. Off-the-turf races originally carded for 1 1/16 miles will be run at one mile on the main course.