01/19/2011 11:25AM

Proposed Arlington schedule eliminates several stakes


Arlington Park revealed its proposed 2011 stakes schedule on Wednesday, a schedule that will save close to $500,000 in purse money compared to 2010.

Arlington will host 22 stakes worth $4.2 million in 2011, provided the Illinois Racing Board approves the schedule at its January meeting. That is down from 26 stakes worth more than $4.7 million in 2010, and reflects the financial realities currently at work at Illinois racetracks, which were rebuffed – as usual – by the state legislature earlier this month in their latest effort to bring slot machines to tracks.

Gone from the stakes schedule in 2011 is the $200,000 American 1,000 Guineas, an early-meet turf stakes for 3-year-old fillies that was introduced in 2008 and never found a niche. Also absent from the 2011 schedule is the Grade 3 Arlington Oaks, a race that had been run 13 times, and offered a $100,000 purse in 2010. Two $100,000 Illinois owners stakes will be run as $50,000 overnight races in 2011. And finally, the purse of the Arlington Matron was lowered from $150,000 last year to $100,000 this year.

The Stars and Stripes Handicap has another new spot on the calendar: After being moved from on or around July 4 to Arlington Million Day last year, the Stars and Stripes will be the featured race on July 23 this year.

That leaves the Arlington Million program with three Grade 1 stakes again in 2011. The Million, Beverly D., and Secretariat will be contested Aug. 13, one week earlier than in 2010, and back to the spot on the calendar the races had recently occupied before last season. Million Preview Day, with three stakes preps for corresponding races on the Million Day card, is scheduled for July 9.

The 86-day Arlington season will run from May 6 through Sept. 25.