Boosted by money from the Horse Racing Equity Trust Fund, Arlington Park has proposed a 2012 stakes schedule of 26 stakes races worth $5.8 million during the 90-day meet at the Chicago, Ill.-area track.
The schedule, which is subject to approval by the Illinois Racing Board at its January meeting, includes purses boosts for most stakes, a return to the schedule of the Arlington Oaks, and the addition of the $400,000 Arlington St. Leger.
The meet, which runs from May through Sept. 30, is highlighted by the International Festival of Racing, featuring the 30th running of the Arlington Million (gr. IT) on Aug. 18.
Churchill Downs Inc., which owns Arlington, reported it had received $19.3 million during the fourth quarter of 2011 from the Illinois Horse Racing Equity Trust Fund. The money, paid by several Illinois casinos, had been held in escrow for several years pending resolution of legal issues.
Arlington’s International Festival of Racing will be on Saturday, Aug. 18 and features three grade I stakes on turf – the $1 million Arlington Million for 3-year-olds and older; the $750,000 Beverly D. for fillies & mares, 3-years-old and older; the $500,000 Secretariat Stakes for 3-year-olds; and the St. Leger for 3-year-olds and older.
The Million and Secretariat are both run at North America’s classic distance of 1 1/4 miles, the Beverly D. is contested at 1 3/16 miles, and the Arlington St. Leger will be carded at a 1 11/16 miles. The Secretariat received a $100,000 boost to its purse for the 2012 renewal.
“The International Festival of Racing has always been a great event but now with the celebration of the 30th running of the Million, the addition of the Arlington St. Leger, and the purse increase of the Secretariat, the Festival is set to go to a whole new level,” said Arlington Park general manager Tony Petrillo in a statement.
“We are extremely proud to be able to launch a new race with the Arlington St. Leger,” he continued. “This is an historic race in Great Britain, the third leg of the English Triple Crown. We are honored to be able to name our race after that classic. It strengthens our relationships with the international racing community and we are sure this race will be very popular with the American racing fans.”