02/05/2004 12:00AM

Circle Aug. 14 date


Arlington Park tweaked its stakes schedule for 2004, but there are no major stakes changes at Chicago's premier Thoroughbred venue.

Arlington will offer 27 stakes worth $5,625,000 during a 96-day meet that begins May 14 and ends Sept. 19. As always, the meet highlight is the Arlington Million, scheduled this year for Saturday, Aug. 14, and presented with the $400,000 Secretariat and the $750,000 Beverly D., all Grade 1 turf races. The Beverly D. received a $50,000 purse hike for 2004.

Million Day, called the International Festival of Racing, is one of four multi-stakes days during the meet. Arlington is part of Churchill Downs Inc., which promotes big multiple stakes days at most of its tracks. For 2004, Arlington has placed the $100,000 Lassie and the $100,000 Futurity together on the closing day card. June 26 is the Prairie State Festival, six stakes for statebreds, and July 24 is Million Preview Day.

As in the past, Million Preview Day this year includes the Arlington Handicap and the Modesty Handicap, but the Round Table for 3-year-olds on dirt has been replaced by the American Derby, a turf prep for the Secretariat.

The Grade 3 Singapore Plate, for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles on dirt, will be called the American Breeders' Cup Oaks this season.

Several stakes had their purse slightly reduced - for instance, the Washington Park Handicap is worth $350,000, $50,000 less than last year - but others were bumped up for 2004.

The stakes schedule must still be approved by the Illinois Racing Board.