Arlington's International Festival of Racing will be on Saturday, Aug. 18 and features three Grade I stakes – the $1,000,000 Arlington Million for 3-year-olds & older; the $750,000 Beverly D. for fillies & mares, 3-years-old & older; the $500,000 Secretariat Stakes for 3-year-olds and the newly created $400,000 Arlington St. Leger for 3-year-olds & older scheduled to be run over Arlington’s internationally acclaimed turf course
“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.
“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.”
The 2012 schedule features several “big event” days that combine multiple stakes races onto a single card.
The first of these days is scheduled for Saturday, May 26 and will feature the Grade III $150,000 Arlington Matron, for fillies and mares at a mile and an eighth on Polytrack, and the $125,000 Arlington Classic, the first leg of the Mid-America Triple for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles on the turf.
One other added-money race on the May calendar is the Grade III $150,000 Hanshin Cup for older horses at one mile over Polytrack, which will be run Saturday, May 19.
The June stakes slate is highlighted by the June 16 Prairie State Festival. The 13th annual showcase for Illinois-registered horses includes six $125,000 stakes for horses bred and/or foaled in Illinois. Each of these races is up $25,000 from last year making for an additional $150,000 available for state-bred runners. The Grade III $150,000 Chicago Handicap, a seven-furlong main track race, will close out the June stakes slate on Saturday, June 30.
On July 14, Million Preview Day, scheduled five weeks prior to the International Festival of Racing, includes major prep races for the four International Festival events. The Grade III $200,000 Arlington Handicap serves as the final local prep race for the Arlington Million while the Grade III $200,000 Modesty Handicap plays the same role for the Beverly D., and the Grade III $200,000 American Derby, which is also the second leg of the Mid-America Triple, leads into the Secretariat Stakes.
In addition, the Grade III $150,000 Stars and Stripes Stakes at a mile and a half on the turf will be run as part of the Million Preview Day card to serve as a prep race for the Arlington St. Leger Stakes on Million Day.
As has been the case for each of the last two years, the top three finishers in each of the Preview Day stakes races will have their entry and start fees waived for the counterpart race during the International Festival of Racing.
Also to be run in July are the 2012 renewals of the $100,000 Arlington Sprint, a 5 ½-furlong turf dash; and the Grade III $150,000 Arlington Oaks for 3-year-old fillies which returns to the schedule after a year’s absence. The Arlington Sprint is slated for Saturday, July 7 with the local Oaks scheduled to run two weeks later on Saturday, July 21.
In addition to the International Festival of Racing, August’s stakes slate includes the return of the Illinois Owners Stakes for Illinois-owned horses.
Two-year-olds will be featured on Saturday, Sept. 8 when Arlington presents the Grade III $150,000 Arlington-Washington Futurity for 2-year-old colts & geldings at one mile on Polytrack and the $150,000 Arlington-Washington Lassie for 2-year-old fillies at one mile on the main track
Two additional stakes race are scheduled for the meet’s final month – the Grade III $150,000 Washington Park Handicap for older horses at a mile and an eighth on the main track on Saturday, Sept. 1 and the Grade III $175,000 Pucker Up Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at a mile and an eighth on the turf, which will be run on Saturday, Sept. 15
With the influx of money from the Horse Racing Equity (“HRE”) Trust Fund, most of the stakes races enjoy purse increases from their 2011 figure, and the Arlington Oaks was able to return to the schedule.
The complete 2012 Arlington Park stakes schedule is attached.