Corporate Name: Arlington International Racecourse, LLC
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 7, Arlington Heights, Illinois 60006-0007
Street Address: 2200 West Euclid, Arlington Heights, Illinois 60006 (click for map)
Telephone: (847) 385-7500
Fax: (847) 385-7251
Throughout more than 85 years of existence, Arlington International has prided itself on playing host to many of the sport’s greatest moments and being a leader in the Thoroughbred racing industry. In 2002, the track significantly added to its legacy as both a host and a leader.
On October 26, 2002, the Breeders’ Cup World Thoroughbred Championships made its first visit to the Midwest and Arlington Park. For the first time in the 19-year history of the event, it was sold out in advance. More than 30,000 of the 46,118 in attendance sat in temporary, stadium-style seating built specifically for Breeders’ Cup day. Total wagering from all sources on the 11-race Breeders’ Cup card established a new Breeders’ Cup record of $116,059,574, which broke the old mark of $108.6 million set in 2000 at Churchill Downs. On track, the fans wagered $13,568,233.
Arlington officially opened to rave reviews on October 13, 1927, when more than 20,000 fans braved the cold weather to celebrate the event and see jockey Joe Bollero guide Luxembourg to victory in the first race.
During the ensuing years, Arlington established a reputation for its innovative and imaginative leadership. In 1933, Arlington took one of the boldest steps in racing history when it installed the first all-electric totalisator. The following year, Arlington introduced turf racing in Illinois. Chicago’s first photo-finish camera was installed at Arlington in 1936 and its first all-electric starting gate appeared at Arlington in 1940. Arlington continued in its role as an industry leader throughout the next several decades, installing the largest closed-circuit TV system in all of the sports in 1967 and introducing trifecta wagering in Chicago in 1971.
In 1981, Arlington presented the world’s first million-dollar race for Thoroughbreds – the Arlington Million. The race lived up to its billing as John Henry, with Bill Shoemaker aboard, edged 40-1 longshot The Bart by a whisker to win racing’s biggest prize.
Arlington entered a new era in 1983 when new owners of the track, headed by Richard L. Duchossois, assumed control from Madison Square Garden Corp. and made a pledge to continue presenting championship racing at Arlington.
That commitment was tested in 1985 when, in the early morning hours of July 31, the course of Arlington was changed forever. What first appeared to be a small fire within the Post and Paddock Club burst out of control, spreading through the clubhouse and grandstand and completely destroying the facility.
The future of Arlington was shrouded in confusion, but only temporarily, because the Arlington Million went on as planned. In a massive undertaking of human strength and will, crews worked around the clock to prepare the track in time for the Million, aptly known as the “Miracle Million.” More than 35,000 appreciative fans joined the celebration on August 25 and watched from temporary bleachers as Great Britain’s Teleprompter defeated Greinton by less than a length. The superhuman efforts of the entire Arlington team were recognized with a well-deserved Eclipse Award, the first-ever awarded to a racetrack.
The following season, Arlington conducted a 13-day International Festival of Racing in late August and early September. The Festival offered the most complete package of special events, festivity, and world-class racing ever presented in a two-week span. More than $5 million in purses were awarded to the country’s top performers over the course of the 13-day meeting.
Arlington reopened on June 28, 1989, with a new name and a new concept in Thoroughbred racing. Under the innovative and determined leadership of Duchossois, Arlington created a new generation of racing fans with its emphasis on family entertainment and customer service and satisfaction.
Arlington is proud of its history and a review of its honor roll reads like a “who’s who.” Eddie Arcaro, Johnny Longden, Steve Brooks, Bill Hartack, Bill Shoemaker, Walter Blum, Earlie Fires, Laffit Pincay, Jr., and Pat Day have won riding titles at Arlington. Arcaro, who captured three riding titles at Arlington, also became the first American rider to win 3,000 races with a victory at Arlington in 1953.
Many of racing’s biggest and brightest equine stars have graced Arlington over the years, including Armed, Bewitch, Buckpasser, Busher, Candy Spots, Cigar, Citation, Coaltown, Dr Fager, Equipoise, John Henry, Nashua, Native Dancer, Round Table, Secretariat, Spectacular Bid, Swaps, Tom Rolfe, T.V. Lark, and Twilight Tear.
In 2016, Arlington Park will run a 74-day meet from May 6–September 25.
Officers: Richard L. Duchossois, Chairman; Tony Petrillo, General Manager; Jim Stumpf, Vice President, Legislative Affairs; Ken Kiehn, Vice President of Sales & Customer Service; Howard Sudberry, Senior Director of Marketing & Communications
Admissions/Parking: Bill Adams, (847) 385-7427
Facilities: Tom Musielak, (847) 385-7743
Sales: Geraldine Grosspietsch, (847) 385-7749
Mutuels: Jack Lisowski, (847) 385-7436
OTB Operations: Jim Stumpf, (847) 385-7773
Racing Secretary: Chris Polzin, (847) 385-7738
Simulcast Contact: Kevin Clarke, (847) 385-7431
Security: Ed Arriola, (847) 385-7425
Television: Kevin Clarke, (847) 385-7431
Track Announcer: John G. Dooley, (847) 385-7500
Track Photographer: Four Footed Fotos, (847) 385-7500
Track Superintendent: (847) 385-7659
Nearest City: Arlington is in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, 26 miles from the Loop
Nearest Airport: O’Hare International (ORD), 12 miles from Arlington
Track Data: 11/8-mile oval, Polytrack surface; 1-mile chute; 1-mile turf course; ½-mile training track; total acres: 325; Stalls: 2,140