In what could be the track's final horse racing season, Arlington International Racecourse released their stakes schedule Thursday.
The Arlington Heights racetrack announced 18 stakes races, with three Grade I races named for the family of longtime racecourse owner 99-year-old Dick Duchossois.
With races beginning April 30, the chief day of the track's 68-day race meet will be Aug. 14, which has been long known as Million Day. The formerly known Arlington Million race will this year be a Grade I Mister D race, named for Duchossois and run at 1¼ miles for a $600,000 purse.
Other Grade I races that day include the $400,000 Beverly D. run at 1 3/16 miles for fillies and mares and the $300,000 Bruce D., formerly the Secretariat, run at 1 mile for three-year-olds.
Arlington's 2021 18-race stakes schedule is worth $2,750,000, racing officials said in a release. The three races at Million Day are the only Grade I races conducted in Illinois.
Million Day will also feature eight stakes races for the first time in the track's history, with six of the races contested on the turf:
- Grade III Pucker Up Stakes for three-year-old fillies at 1⅛ miles, worth $100,000
- Isaac Murphy Stakes for fillies and mares 3 years old and up at 6 furlongs, worth $75,000
- Addison Cammack Memorial Stakes for 3-year-olds and up at 6 furlongs, worth $75,000
- Mike Spellman Memorial Stakes for fillies and mares 3 years old and up at 1 1/16 miles, worth $75,000
- Black Tie Affair for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/16 miles, worth $75,000
“We are very excited for the upcoming meet,” Arlington President Tony Petrillo said. “Million Day has always been a highly regarded event and now to honor Mr. Duchossois and his family will make this year the most special of all. It is the day that brings the superstars of racing to our state and unprecedented attention to Illinois racing. This maintains an interest in Illinois racing for fans in the state and worldwide.”
On July 17, Arlington will host Million Preview Day with three turf prep races for the Grade I races in August, worth $100,000 each. The first three horses to cross the finish line will have their entry fees waived for Grade I equivalents, officials said.
Other stakes races include the seven furlong $100,000 Grade III Chicago Stakes and the 1-mile $100,000 Hanshin Cup on June 26; the 1-mile $75,000 Richard P. Hazelton Memorial Stakes and the 1-mile $75,000 Sharon N. Kirby Memorial Stakes on Aug. 7; and the seven furlong $75,000 Arlington-Washington Futurity, and the seven furlong $75,000 Arlington-Washington Lassie on Aug. 28.
Aside from stakes races, Arlington's 2021 live racing season will also showcase Kentucky Derby Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day and Fireworks Night.
Individual tickets for Opening Day and race days in May will go on sale April 15, officials noted. On the second Wednesday of each month, tickets will go on sale for the following month's race days.
To purchase tickets, click here.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, race days will not include live entertainment events, family days nor carry-in items. The racetrack will also have limited capacity and a face covering requirement.
This year's racing season could be the last for the facility, as the owners of Arlington Racecourse announced plans to sell the property to a developer.
According to a press release from Churchill Downs Incorporated last month, the 326-acre property in suburban Arlington Heights will be sold, and the company selling the property will aim to find a buyer who will redevelop it.
The track has been a Chicago-area staple for nearly a century, opening in 1927.
It briefly shut down in 1998 and 1999, but it reopened in 2000 after Churchill Downs Incorporated purchased the track and rechristened it Arlington Park. It changed its name to Arlington International Racecourse in 2013.
According to officials, owners of the track will aim to relocate its racing license to another community in the state of Illinois.
“We are exploring potential options with the state and other constituents, and remain optimistic that we can find solutions that work for the state, local communities and the thousands of Illinoisans who make their living directly or indirectly through thoroughbred horse racing,” Carstanjen said.