Arlington to Run 26 Stakes in 2006

The International Festival of Racing, featuring the Arlington Million (gr. IT), tops a 2006 schedule that includes 26 stakes races worth $5,425,000 during 95 days of racing at Arlington Park, beginning May 5 and running through Sept. 12.

Arlington's International Festival of Racing will be run Aug. 12 and features three grade I stakes, all scheduled for turf -- the $1 million Arlington Million for 3-year-olds & up; the $750,000 Beverly D. for fillies & mares, 3-years-old & up; and the $400,000 Secretariat Stakes for 3-year-olds.

The Million and Secretariat are both run at 1 1/4 miles while the Beverly D. is contested at a 1 3/16 miles. The Million is part of the World Racing Championships and will be telecast live on ABC.

Other major event days include the Prairie State Festival for Illinois-bred June 24; Million Preview Day July 22; and Sept. 10, the final Sunday of the meet, when Arlington will run its two premier events for 2-year-olds -- the Arlington-Washington Breeders' Cup Futurity and the Arlington-Washington Breeders' Cup Lassie.

This year's Mid-America Triple will again provide a showcase for top 3-year-old turf horses in the Arlington Classic July 1, the American Derby July 22, and the Secretariat on Million Day.

Million Preview Day, scheduled for July 22, three weeks prior to the International Festival of Racing, includes major prep races for all three International Festival events. The Arlington Handicap serves as the final local prep race for the Arlington Million while the $150,000 Modesty Handicap (gr. IIIT) carries the same role for the Beverly D., and the $250,000 American Derby (gr. IIT) leads into the Secretariat Stakes.

Also returning is the seventh annual Prairie State Festival, Arlington's annual showcase for Illinois-bred horses featuring six $75,000-added stakes races with total purses expected to be more than $500,000 June 24.

Other major stakes races in 2006 include the $200,000 Stars & Stripes Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IIIT) for older horses July 2; and the Washington Park Handicap, the meet's richest main track race July 29. The $100,000 Arlington Oaks, for 3-year-old Aug. 19, has been accorded grade III status for 2006.

One new stakes race, the $100,000 Avers Wexler Stakes, appears on the 2006 schedule. The Avers Wexler, a 1 1/16-mile grass race restricted to horses owned by Illinois owners, honors the prominent local horseman who has raced at Arlington for several decades.