Updated on 09/15/2011 12:26PM

Small fire breaks out at Arlington after races


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Arlington International basked in the first big day of its nascent season Sunday, when a crowd of 26,153 turned out for the Father's Day program.

The crowd, roughly twice that of the next-best attended track in the country on Sunday, surpassed last year's Father's Day attendance here by about 500. Ontrack handle Sunday totalled $1,304,740 while total handle was $3,747,599.

In its first full year as part of Churchill Downs Inc., Arlington pushed back its traditional opening date this year. Gone is the Mother's Day opener, which drew a crowd of more than 34,000 last season. Arlington and Churchill officials settled on a midweek opener this season, and modest crowds attending Wednesday through Saturday.

A successful day for the suburban Chicago track came to a bizarre conclusion as lingering fans and track employees were evacuated from the grounds when a small fire broke out in the facility after the 10-race program had concluded. The fire, apparently caused by a smoldering cigarette in a washroom trash can, was minor and no damage was reported.

Had the incident occurred earlier, when the majority of the crowd remained, the logistics of the evacuation would have been more complicated.

Sunday's stakes race, the Joe Marovich, went to Tub Tosser, who skimmed along the rail during the stretch run and forged to the lead in the final furlong.

"I had two cracks to go through but I wasn't scared," said winning rider Eddie Martin Jr. "I've been over the rail before."

Tub Tosser paid $26.20 to win and keyed a $189.40 exacta with the Great Lakes Downs-based colt Winnie's Pooh Bear.

Hollendorfer firing away

Nobody expected that trainer Jerry Hollendorfer would bring 47 horses from the West Coast this summer to use Arlington as a training center.

Hollendorfer came here to run, and after a successful weekend, he will attack Wednesday's program with seven different entrants in four of the nine races. All look at least somewhat live, and it would be no surprise if Hollendorfer comes away with four wins.

In the featured eighth, Hollendorfer's pair of Barrybrown and Flying Denoument must get past Big Gold, a recent claim sent out for the first time by trainer Wayne Catalano, the defending meet championship trainer.