Arlington Million

Arlington Million Horse RaceThe 31st Arlington Million is the feature race of the International Festival of Racing on Saturday, August 17th 2013. The festival card will include five stakes, three of which are grade I events: the Arlington Million; the $750,000 Beverly D. Stakes for fillies and mares and the $500,000 Secretariat Stakes for 3-year-olds. The day also includes the second running of the $400,000 American St. Leger for 3-year-olds and up and the $75,000 Hatoof Stakes. All races will be run over Arlington’s turf course.

Betting on the Arlington Million is already underway and we found good odds at Sportsbook.com for the Million.

The History of the Arlington Million

The Arlington Million is a Grade 1 race for horses aged three years and upward. It is staged on the turf at Arlington Park, Illinois in August over a distance of a mile and a quarter. The Arlington Million was the first thoroughbred race to prize money of US$1,000,000 and has attracted a strong European challenge over the years.

It is also part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge series with the winner gaining automatic qualification for the Breeders’ Cup Turf. It was first held in 1981 with the inaugural running won by top American horse John Henry, ridden by Willie Shoemaker. Despite the massive prize money, the race did not receive Grade 1 status until 1983. John Henry went on to win the race for a second time in 1984 under jockey Chris McCarron, the only horse to win two Arlington Millions.

The Million did not look likely to be staged in 1985 when a fire burned the original stadium to the ground less than a month before the race. Remarkably, more than 35,000 racegoers turned up to use tents and temporary facilities for a race that became known as “The Miracle Million”. In 1989 the race was held at Woodbine in Toronto whilst Arlington Park was rebuilt, victory going to another established American star in Steinlen.

A two-year hiatus in live racing at Arlington meant that no Million was staged in 1998 or 1999. The race returned in 2000 as a part of the Emirates World Series Racing Championship with a massive $2 million purse.

The Winners

Willie ShoemakerThe first running of the race in 1981 lived up to the hype when the great Willie Shoemaker (on the photo) forced John Henry up to win by a nose from The Bart in a thrilling finish. British trained runners soon began to target the race and Tolomeo was the first to enjoy success in 1983 for Newmarket trainer Luca Cumani and jockey Pat Eddery, defeating the great John Henry by a neck. John Henry ensured that his name would always be linked with this race when winning it again as a nine-year-old and he remains the oldest winner of the race.

The hugely popular Bill Watts-trained gelding Teleprompter pulled off a dramatic win in 1985 in the colours of the Earl of Derby. The race has lot a little of its prestige in recent years with the growth of the Breeders’ Cup and The Dubai World Cup but some high class thoroughbreds from Europe have continued to plunder the prize.

Leading French trainer Andre Fabre won it in 1988 with Mill Native and John Hammond in 1992 with Dear Doctor, both ridden by Cash Asmussen. Godolphin won the race for the first time in 2003 with Sulamani with Irish trainer Aiden O’Brien enjoying success through Powerscourt (2005) and Cape Blanco (2011).

The 2003 Million was awarded to Sulamani on the disqualification of Storming Home who ducked out in the final strides to unseat Gary Stevens after the winning post. The following year, Powerscourt ridden by Jamie Spencer was also first past the post only to be disqualified for interference caused during the race. The race was awarded to Kicken Kris but Powerscourt returned the following year to win under Kieren Fallon.

Betting on Arlington Million winners has always been popular and now it’s time to find the winner for the 2013 event.

The Records

The fastest time recorded for the race was Awad in 1995 (1:58:69). The most successful owners have been Dotsam Stable (courtesy of John Henry’s two victories) and Juddmonte Farms (Chester House 2000 and Beat Hollow 2002). Both of the Juddmonte horses had started their careers in Britain with Sir Henry Cecil before going on to great success for Robert Frankel.

Six jockeys have won the race on two occasions: Ramon A. Dominguez (2009, 2012), Laffit Pincay, Jr. (1982, 1991), Cash Asmussen (1988, 1992), Jose Santos (1990, 1993), Gary L. Stevens (1990, 1997), Jerry D. Bailey (2000, 2002). The biggest winning margin was five lengths by Estrapade in 1986, trained by Charlie Whittingham. He also won the race with Perrault (1982) and Golden Pheasant (1990). Ron McAnally has also trained three winners with Tight Spot (1991) adding to John Henry’s two victories. In 2007, Catherine Day Phillips became the first lady trainer to win the race when the Canadian bred Jambalaya won.

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