The name is back and the purse is restored but, otherwise, the renewal of the Arlington Million (G1), this Saturday bears little resemblance to the event that ushered in the era of seven-figure Thoroughbred purses.
The most obvious change is the venue. Arlington International Racecourse where JOHN HENRY famously defeated THE BART in the inaugural Million in 1981, is no more.
Churchill Downs Inc., which owns the suburban Chicago track, is in the process of auctioning off the flatware, china, and the rest of the furnishings in preparation for a sale of the racecourse real estate to the Chicago Bears.
Churchill Downs will host a special one-day Arlington Million Day program thanks to cooperation from Ellis Park, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, and Kentucky horsemen.
Overall, Churchill Downs will host eleven thoroughbred races with two dirt Stakes races and two turf Stakes races including the Arlington Million (GI) and the Beverly D. (GI).
A solid and competitive field of nine is set for The Million, which is the feature race on the one-day meeting at Churchill Downs.
The Arlington Million is for horses aged three years and upward. It is run on the turf course at a distance of 1+1⁄4 miles.
The Million was the first thoroughbred race to offer a purse of $1,000,000 America dollars.
It remains a part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge series, with the Winner automatically qualifying for the Breeders’ Cup Turf.
The Arlington Million is listed as the last race on a card of eleven Saturday, with a scheduled post Time of 6:25.