‘Saratoga of the Midwest’: The Arlington Experience

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Some racetrackers like to call Arlington Park in the suburbs of Chicago, the Saratoga of the Midwest. While the two tracks are very different in terms of age, they do share a fun atmosphere appealing to families and people of all ages. In addition to its renowned turf course, Arlington Park is also known for its clean environment and unique attractions that bring in casual fans.

The Paulick Report’s Scott Jagow and Natalie Voss spent several days at Arlington for the International Festival of Racing, and they provide a taste of what Arlington Park is all about – on an average day and during the biggest day of the year.

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  • David

    A wonderful place – the facility is second to none in NA; a racing calendar ideally suited to the area; a leader with influence, resources beyond anyone in racing; the most respected US track by an international stage; a track who risks far more in market development amid an unsure future than any competitive organization. Yet, they struggle mightily to draw traffic, garner cooperation from the State house and compete against fellow tracks and alternative gamers. It’s no wonder people aren’t standing in line to get in the business.

    • bill marshall

      Arlington bears about as much resemblance to Saratoga as Evangeline Downs does to Keeneland.

    • THE ENFORCER

      YOU ARE CORRECT–AP IS A MAJESTIC PALACE…ONE WISHES GULFSTREAM PARK HAD COMFORTABLE FAN SEATING LIKE FAN FRIENDLY AP..

      AP MAY STRUGGLE BECAUSE OF THE HEFTY DAILY $8 ADMISSION CHARGE($20/MILLION)…GP IS FREE..

      OTHER REASONS THEY DO NOT DRAW MAY INCLUDE AN ABUNDANCE OF MAIDEN RACES AND LATE TRAINER SCRATCHES WHICH CAUSE SHORT FIELDS..

      THEY ALSO NEED MORE RACING EDUCATION FOR THE BEGINNING FAN..

      OVERALL, IT IS A FUN PLACE TO BE!!

  • Kris

    Arlington Park is high on my ‘bucket list’ of tracks to visit. Some day…….

  • justaguest

    I used to love going to this track when I lived there (Chicago is my hometown), I wish they would televise on TVG (can’t get HRTV). When they rebuilt it they did it right.

    • 4Bellwether666

      How about one of the major sports networks bringing “The Game” to all???…If you are going to shoot shoot for the Moon…ty…

      • justaguest

        NBC/NBC Sports I think does a pretty good job of showcasing some of the premier stakes races throughout the country and they host the Breeders Cup. My only complaint is when the televise the Kentucky Derby and focus so much on the “celebrities” that probably don’t really care about the horses and the sport in general but want to be seen. I’ve sent them a few e-mails about it in the past. That day belongs to the horses, jockeys, trainers and owners and I would much rather have more coverage of all of them.

  • Albert LoRusso

    This is a beautiful well maintained facillity. The public transportation makes getting to the track easy. We went to the Arlington million a few years ago and purchased our tickets online. Owners of boxes put their unused tickets up for sale. So we sat in a box with the owner, a couple from Florida and another from Tennessee. Great seats and a lot of fun!

  • wayzer

    Beautiful place to see horses run-only problem is they don’t have horses that can run- and most of the jockeys can’t ride-except for Desormeaux who has been run out of every major circuit in the US how many Jockeys in IL racing have won any significant races-

  • susanne

    Arlington Park is absolutely gorgeous I’m lucky to have called it my ‘home’ track for the past ten years. Any fan of racing should make a point to visit! It stands shoulder to shoulder with any international race course, beautiful grounds, welcoming staff, great amenities, and value at the window. Racing through September its a perfect weekend getaway that’s reasonable to afford! No, I don’t work there. Truly a great racing destination.

  • TexJR

    Arlington is a beautiful track, but except on select dates the racing quality is nowhere near Saratoga. Purses just are not very good. Illinois racing is in very poor shape and it seems like Arlington and the horseman are fighting all the time.

  • salthebarber

    Nice job. Why can’t replays have such quality video? Arlington Park is a beautiful and fan-friendly track. Someone in there mentioned what should be the new tagline of horseracing: “Not sketchy.” :)

  • Patti Davis

    I love Arlington Park but for one pet peeve: PLEASE trim down (or, even better, entirely REMOVE) those pesky weeping willow trees in the infield! They obscure a good quarter of each race, whether you’re watching live, on the track video, or on TV. I think I’ve even heard track announcer John Dooley call, “..and now the pack disappears behind the jungle,” once or twice.

    Time for Mr. D to become Mr. B: as in “Bunyon!”

  • Bob C

    The American St. Leger and the American 1000 Guineas—is this Europe Or Chicago? The Arlington Classic and the American Derby drew better horses (Buckpasser, Damascus, Dr. Fager etc;) when they were the next stop for three year olds after the Triple Crown. Today, they are merely prep races for the Secretariat Stakes.

  • Lickety-Split

    As you enjoy the beauty of the front-side, just be aware of the steady cuts in investment on the backside like the “Kids On Track” program that, up until this year, provided supplemental education and daycare for the hundreds of underprivileged children living in the squalid worker tenements. The variable costs of this well-managed program, administered by the Palatine School District, had been funded independently for many years through a network of donors. Yet, Churchill Downs and Arlington Park management shut down the program to avoid the incidental overhead costs. This after a substantial fund-raising campaign had just been completed the year before to refurbish the program’s on-site building, install dozens of computers, and replace old appliances, the benefits of which landed back in Churchill Down’s pocket.

  • wayzer

    I’ve been watching AP racing for the last couple of days. Can someone explain to me how AP racing has become so bad. It’s so horrible that cheating isn’t even an issue. The horses look like they’d rather be doing anything else but run.

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