Updated on 09/16/2011 6:42AM

Complements to the Cup


Arlington Park has released its stakes schedule for the upcoming season, which has been altered and expanded to complement and enhance the 2002 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships.

After a protracted period of negotiations between the Breeders' Cup and Arlington, and between Arlington and the State of Illinois, Arlington was selected this fall to host its first Breeders' Cup, which will be held Oct. 26. Besides the eight Breeders' Cup races, Arlington has added three additional stakes on Breeders' Cup Day, two the day before the Breeders' Cup, and two on the day after. All seven of those stakes, which are scattered across various divisions, offer a $100,000 purse.

The track also has created a Breeders' Cup preview weekend, dubbed Preview Weekend in the Park, with four Breeders' Cup prep races to be held Sept. 28-29, The preview weekend includes the Arlington-Washington Futurity and the Arlington-Washington Lassie on Saturday, and the Sea O'Erin Breeders' Cup Mile on turf and the Washington Park Handicap on Sunday. The Sea O'Erin's purse of $150,000-added was boosted by $50,000 this year. The $400,000 Washington Park, a prep for the Breeders' Cup Classic, was changed in distance from 1 1/4 miles to one and 1 3/16 miles.

The 2-year-old preview races are to be run at one mile, but Arlington officials said the Breeders' Cup has yet to determine the distances of this year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile and Juvenile Fillies races. Those races traditionally are held at 1 1/16 miles, but Arlington, with its 1 1/8-mile track configuration, does not run races at that exact distance.

Arlington does card races at "about" 1 1/16 miles, but those races start very close to the clubhouse turn and would be problematic for the full fields associated with Breeders' Cup 2-year-old races. If not at the "about" 1 1/16-mile distance, this year's 2-year-old races could be held around one turn at a mile, as they were in 1985 at Aqueduct.

Arlington made other minor changes to its stakes schedule, which, not counting the eight Breeders' Cup races, comprises 38 races worth $6.3 million. The Arlington Matron was moved from Sept. 2 to Oct. 6, and several early season stakes had their purses reduced by $25,000.

Even before getting the Breeders' Cup, Arlington concentrated its major races later in its meet, which runs this year from June 5 to Oct. 27. There are eight open stakes scheduled from the meet's opening until the first week in August, and 30 between then and the meet's end.

Arlington's International Festival of Racing, which includes three Grade 1 turf stakes, the Arlington Million, Beverly D., and the Secretariat - is scheduled for Aug. 17.

"Other than the changes made because of the Breeders' Cup, it's basically the same schedule as last year," said Frank Gabriel, Arlington's vice president for racing and operations.

Arlington's stakes schedule must still be approved by the Illinois Racing Board in a Feb. 12 meeting, but the IRB is not expected to challenge the changes.