According to the track, since 2000 Arlington Park has utilized at two-tiered purse structure, offering higher purses during its "Summer Festival of Racing", which this year encompasses 36 race days from Wednesday, July 21 through Monday, Sept. 6. The summer festival is highlighted by Illinois' only three grade I stakes -- the Arlington Million, Beverly D. and Secretariat Stakes. When those three races were run Aug. 14, the track set an all-time record with total, all-sources handle on the 12-race card of $17,912,506. That figure shattered the previous festival record of $15,851,625, established in 2002, by $2,060,881.
Arlington Park announced Saturday that overnight purses will increase by amounts ranging from 2% to 5% for the 21 days that remain in the track's 2004 meet, effective Aug. 25. All overnight races will increase in value by $1,000 and any overnight handicap purse will be boosted by $2,000 per race, according to Frank Gabriel Jr., executive vice president of racing and racing secretary."Higher purses, larger fields and good weather have all contributed to increases in attendance and handle during Arlington's summer festival of racing," explained Gabriel. "We are pleased that this success will allow us to give back more to the horsemen through increased purses during the last four weeks of our meet."