By Bob Kieckhefer
Arlington Park is offering a free pass to its biggest races for the winners of key European events – the latest in a long series of efforts to bolster the "international" part of the "International Festival of Racing."
Arlington officials said March 8 they will offer automatic starting berths and waive entry fees for the Aug. 21 Arlington Million (gr. IT) for the winners of the Coral-Eclipse Stakes (Ire-I) at Sandown Park July 3 and the Grosser Dallmayr-Preis Bayerisches Zuchtrennen (Ger-I) at Munich Racecourse July 25.
Winners of the Nassau Stakes (Eng-I) at Goodwood Racecourse would gain a free and guaranteed spot in the gate for the Aug. 21 Beverly D. (gr. IT) at Arlington.
The Million, Beverly D., and the Secretariat Stakes (gr. IT) for 3-year-olds highlight the annual International Festival of Racing at the track just north of Chicago.
"We hope that by offering these incentives, the winners of these prestigious races will assemble here in August and make the 2010 Festival truly an international event to remember," said Arlington director of racing and racing secretary Chris Polzin.
The Festival usually has significant foreign representation but Arlington historically has sought to strengthen that aspect of its key stakes events. That ongoing campaign started more than two decades ago when then-owner Richard L. Duchossois struck a deal with French racing officials to offer bonuses for horses placing in both Longchamp's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe weekend and the Arlington Festival.