Arlington International Racetrack is one of the most recognizable thoroughbred venues in North America. It is located in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Racing in Chicago is extremely popular, and Arlington is one of the most popular sporting venues in the region.
It is located close to the Illinois Route 53 expressway and is just minutes from downtown Chicago making it easily accessible for the majority of racegoers.
The track is steeped in history and has been hosting top-class action since 1927. It is often described as “the most beautiful track in America” and has regularly been a trailblazer for thoroughbred racing in the US. It was the first track in the midwest to install a synthetic track.
The main track is a one mile and one-eighth dirt oval with an additional one-mile turf oval. The turf track is one of the most famous in America. In 2007, the dirt oval was replaced by a synthetic track, which was made out of a combination of recycled rubber, synthetic fibers, and silica sand. It is then treated with wax, which allows racing to take place despite inclement weather conditions in the region.
The venue can house 2,000 thoroughbreds at any given time with a very impressive stabling area located at the track. The capacity of the racecourse is currently 50,000.
Racing at Arlington takes place between late-May and mid-September, and this has rarely changed over the years. There are three Grade I events taking place at the track with the Arlington Million, Beverly D Stakes, and the Secretariat Stakes all taking place here. There are several Grade II and Grade III events staged here, ensuring that there are regular top-class race-days taking place in Chicago. The track hosted the first $1 million race in the country back in 1981 and has always been associated with lucrative prize purses.
California businessman Harry D. Brown was responsible for the vision which led to the opening of Arlington Racetrack in 1927. Twenty thousand spectators attended the opening thoroughbred race-day on October 13th with Luxembourg winning the inaugural contest under jockey Joe Bollero.
Just nine years later, Arlington became the first track in North America to install a photo-finish camera at the finishing line. It was also the first track to install a PA system many years later and has been credited with introducing the trifecta bet in 1971.
Arlington Park was sold to Benjamin F Lindheimer in 1940, and he remained at the helm for the next twenty years. During his reign, the track became the first racecourse to install electronic starting gates in 1941. Lindheimer is credited with being “the savior of Chicago Racing” by many, and he helped raise the profile of both the sport and the track itself.
The track introduced a race for the 3-year olds in 1973 in a bid to lure the world-famous Secretariat to the track. The talented thoroughbred won easily, and the race was subsequently named after him.
Arlington made history in 1981 by hosting the first million-dollar race. The result of this race has been immortalized in bronze at the top of the paddock with a statue of Bill Shoemaker riding John Henry to victory. The horse was a 40-1 shot, and its come-from-behind victory was one of the most significant moments in the history of the track. The Arlington Million has since gone from strength-to-strength and has been won by a number of high-class racehorses over the years. It was awarded Grade I status just two years later.
Disaster struck in 1985 when a small fire broke out and quickly began to spread. It destroyed a large part of the Grandstand and the Clubhouse. The 1985 Arlington Million was run in front of a burnt-out Grandstand. It took four years for the track to fully re-open with racing commencing in late 1989. However, a 13-day meet was held in 1986 at the track despite ongoing recovery works.
The 1988 Arlington Million was held at Woodbine in Ontario while the track prepared for its re-opening. It was the first time a Grade I race had moved across the border.
Upon re-opening, Arlington made a concerted effort to attract a family audience to the track and with the help of some aggressive marketing, it was able to entice a new generation of racing fans to the venue.
Cigar made the headlines when it won its 16th consecutive race in North America at Arlington Park. More than 34,000 people gathered to watch the world-famous thoroughbred storm to victory.
It merged with Churchill Downs in 2000, and just two years later it hosted the Breeders Cup for the first time. 46,118 spectators went through the turnstiles to enjoy the world-famous November meet. It was the first time that the Breeders Cup was held in the midwest.
In 2013, Arlington reverted back to its previous name – Arlington International Racecourse.
Arlington Known Track Bias
Arlington is viewed as a track where “the best horse wins,” and this suggests that there is very little bias. Before the synthetic track was installed, the main course used to heavily favor frontrunners, although this has not been the case since 2007.
The turf track also shows very little bias, with the sweeping and expansive turns allowing the majority of the field to get themselves into potential winning positions. It is suggested that horses who sit fractionally off the pace have the best chance of success on the turf course. There are very few traffic problems at Arlington, although horses rarely come from off-the-pace to blitz the field.
Tactical speed is far more profitable when it comes to Arlington Park. This differs from the majority of North American tracks where front-runners have plenty of success.
Winning Post Positions
At the current meet (2019), there has been a healthy mix of winners from all posts. In sprint events on the main track, stall two was the most profitable with 19% of winners coming from this post. Stall five wasn’t far behind with 16% of winners being drawn here. Stall four was the least profitable, with just 9.9% of winners being positioned here.
Of the 51 horses drawn in stall eight, just three of them were victorious, while two of the 22 horses starting from gate nine entered the winner’s enclosure. None of the eleven horses in stall ten were successful.
Over the longer trip (routes), the main track tended to favor horses drawn in stall four. 20% of winners were positioned here. 18% of winners came from stall two while 14% of winners were positioned in stall 6. In races of a mile or greater, stall seven was far from an ideal draw with just one of 52 runners crossing the finishing line in front. Only four runners have been drawn in stall eleven, with one of those horses going onto to win.
There is an interesting mix of results on the turf course, although smaller sample sizes are available. There have been 19 horses starting in stalls one-six, with gate four producing the highest number of winners so far. None of the runners in stall five have been victorious so far (as of June 25th, 2019). Collectively thirteen runners have been positioned in stalls ten-twelve, but none of these have been first past the post.
Top Trainers at Arlington
There are a number of horsemen who regularly send their runners to this track. Key races throughout the season also attract top trainers who ship their thoroughbreds across from areas such as New York State and California.
There are a number of trainers who should be noted whenever they send a runner to the track.
Stats for 2019:
Ignacio Correas (15% Strike Rate)
Eduardo Rodriguez (16% Strike Rate)
Thomas Amoss (21% Strike Rate)
Christopher Davis (21% Strike Rate)
Frank J Kirby (21% Strike Rate)
Chris M Block (27% Strike Rate)
Steve Manley (29% Strike Rate)
Mark J Cristel (38% Strike Rate)
Larry Rivelli (41% Strike Rate)
Top Jockeys at Arlington
There are plenty of jockeys to keep an eye on at the track.
Stats for 2019:
Julio E Felix (14% Strike Rate)
Jermaine Bridgmohan (16% Strike Rate)
Jose E Lopez (19% Strike Rate)
Carlos Marquez (19% Strike Rate)
Mitchell Murill (21% Strike Rate)
Jose Valdivia (29% Strike Rate)
Tyler Baze (40% Strike Rate)
Arlington Race Season and Key Races
Arlington Racetrack host regular race-days between mid-May and September. They typically race three times a week – usually Friday, Saturday and Sundays.
There are a number of high-class events taking place at Arlington throughout the year with three Grade I events scheduled every twelve months. Arlington attracts a number of high-class thoroughbreds to the track with its generous prize purses.
Arlington Million, Beverly D Stakes, Secretariat Stakes
Arlington Classic Stakes, Arlington Handicap, Arlington Oaks, Arlington-Washington Futurity Stakes, Arlington-Washington Lassie Stakes, Chicago Handicap, Hanshin Cup Handicap, Modesty Handicap, Pucker Up Stakes, Sea O’Erin Stakes, Stars and Stripes Turf Handicap, Washington Park Handicap.
Arlington Sprint Handicap, Isaac Murphy Handicap, Lincoln Heritage Handicap, Round Table Stakes, American 1000 Guineas Stakes.
Arlington Racetrack Address
Arlington International Racecourse, 2200 West Euclid Avenue, Arlington Heights, IL, 60005-1004