01/12/2010 1:00AM

Arlington Million Day moved back two weeks


Arlington Park shuffled a little furniture here and there, but the primary new look in the suburban Chicago racetrack's will be a later date for the Arlington Million.

The Million, held early in August the last six years, will be contested Aug. 21 this year, two weeks later than in recent seasons. The Million was held the third Saturday in August in both 2002 and 2003.

Million Day also encompasses Arlington's other two Grade 1 races, the Beverly D. and the Secretariat, as well as the Grade 3, $150,000 Stars and Stripes Handicap, lengthened from 12 to 13 furlongs this year.

"The later date for this year's Arlington Million should give the race better separation from the major East Coast and West Coast prep races" for the Million, said new Arlington racing secretary Chris Polzin. "The extra two weeks should also benefit the Beverly D. and Secretariat."

In all, the 2010 schedule comprises 27 stakes worth just more than $5 million, totals similar to those in 2009. Besides moving the Million, Arlington also pulled apart some of the multi-stakes days it had created in recent years. For instance, the four stakes run on May 23, 2009 - the Hanshin Cup, the American 1000 Guineas, the Arlington Classic, and the Arlington Matron - have been divided between two weekends in May. Similarly, the Arlington Sprint was pulled from Million Preview Day (July 17) to be run as the featured race on June 26. The changes leave Arlington with 10 Saturdays lacking a six-figure stakes race, as opposed to 13 such Saturdays in 2009. However, there are no stakes (besides overnight races) scheduled this summer between Million Preview Day on July 17 and Million Day on Aug. 21.

The schedule has not yet been given a stamp of approval by the Illinois Racing Board, but the board is expected to confirm Arlington's stakes proposals at a meeting later this month in Chicago.