Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Arlington offering incentives to run in big races


Historically, Arlington Park's Million Preview Day has not lived up to its name, and the fields for its three preps for the only three Grade 1 races in Illinois have borne scant resemblance to those on the day of the main events.

This year the top runners in the Million Preview Day preps on July 11 will have an incentive to return for the Arlington Million Stakes (G1), the $750,000 Beverly D. Stakes (G1), and the $400,000 Secretariat Stakes (G1) on August 8.

Under a new format devised by Kevin Greely, Arlington's vice-president of racing, the top three finishers in the preps—the $200,000 Arlington Handicap (G3), the $200,000 Modesty Handicap (G3), and the $300,000 American Derby—will have their entry and starting fees waived for the three Grade 1 races.

The Arlington Handicap is the prep for the Million, the Modesty for the Beverly D., and the American Derby for the Secretariat.

Greely also announced another incentive plan, this one calling for bonuses for the horses running in the Mid-America Triple series of turf races for three-year-olds—the $150,000 Arlington Classic, the American Derby, and the Secretariat. The owner of horses that run in all three legs will earn a bonus of $6,000, and the owner of horses that run in two legs will receive a $3,000 bonus.

Arlington earlier announced that if a horse sweeps the Mid-America Triple series, its owner will be receive a $500,000 bonus.