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HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

30 Years of the Arlington Million Part 1


It's hard to believe there have already been 30 editions of Chicago's premier race, the Arlington Million. America's first million dollar race was such a monumental thing, especially for fans of Chicago racing, that it just doesn't seem possible that more than three decades have passed since that memorable inaugural edition. Befitting of the occasion, the first running of the Arlington Million was a classic in every sense of the word...




Many in attendance that day still wonder if John Henry really got The Bart that day, but the official Arlington Park photo shows the great gelding getting his nose on the wire a hair ahead of his challenger. John Henry came back to win another Arlington Million, three years later. He remains the only official winner of more than one Million, but if not for the plucky rail move of a three-year-old, European long shot named Tolomeo, it would have been three for the Hall of Famer...




Through thick and thin, the Arlington Million persevered. In 1985, there was the Miracle Million. Only a few weeks after the old Arlington burned to the ground, Dick Duchossois and his team somehow managed to host the Million. An amazing spirit to come back from hardship brought about blacktop, bleachers, and many, many tents. To the great appreciation of 35,000 fans, Teleprompter controlled the pace and won the Miracle Million.


The next two editions of the Million saw the only female winner, Estrapade, and the horse that I still call the best American turf horse I have ever seen, Manila, win in impressive fashion. In 1988, The Million was held north of the border, at Woodbine, as the new Arlington Park was being built. Mill Native won that one, in the only edition run away from Arlington.


Terrific turf stars like Steinlen, Tight Spot, Star of Cozzene, and Paradise Creek racked up wins at the new showplace that is Arlington Park. There was no Million in 1998 and 1999 as Arlington was shut down while Mr. D battled the state over riverboat casino competition. Still, the Arlington Million would not go the way of the dodo, and as the 21st century arrived, the Midwest's greatest show on turf would return.


Come back tomorrow for more on 30 years of the Arlington Million...


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Older Comments about 30 Years of the Arlington Million Part 1...

photo finish cameras don't lie...Peoiple just witness parallex
I will never forget the 1st Arlingtin Million, I bet 6.00. did a triple box The Bart/John Henry?Madame Gay, I forgot what it payed, It was several thousand, and to this day, 30 yrs later, I still swear The Bart won that race............
Bailey did a very informative video on the differences (FROM his point of view) in the major turf courses (which held moisture longer, which left the grass longer or shorter, which were more uniform or spotty etc)....Really made me start to observe differences in the way they played, BUT they are usually more uniform than their major surface counter parts
EVERY race track crowd is DUMB as a post, maybe except on some of the big big days in New York..They are ill prepared, don't know how to create logical wagers and are overall really ill prepared for the game in front of them. Whatever PR they read written by any yokel in the local newspaper is accepted as gospel....ANd all of us should thank our lucky stars that that is the case.
The only thing I got out of your point, was that the Woodbine crowd was dumb. The fact that they accurately predicted that the last two finishers of that race would finish that way, based on odds, tells me that they were, in fact, smart. The only dumb part that I felt that existed in this race, was that Rick's Natural Star went off at 56.15-1 odds. He should've been longer than Arcangues(133.6-1).
the idea that a horribly overmatched and over exposed horse could be ANYWHERE close to a graded stakes winner was the idea.
Though your point is nearly correct, that is not a fact, but a fallacy. http://stats.breederscup.com/bcosRaceChart.cfm?race_id=90
FACT: to show you just HOW DUMB the crowds are, Marlin went off at LONGER ODDS than Rick's Natural Star at the B.C. Turf at Woodbine.
I am not sure where Little Mike fits with the great winners of the past, but two wins would be pretty special and I think he has a good shot to win it again. Except for maybe the Breeders Cup Turf this is the greatest turf race in the United States and the list of winners is very impressive. By the way I agree about Manila, he is the best American turf horse I have seen.
Marlin also won the Secretariat and Million, Jasen. Awad was not taken down, and in fact, still holds the record for the fastest Million at 1:58.69. Powerscourt was taken down in the Kicken Kris year, but came back to win the following year. He was the only horse to finish first in consecutive years.
  • jasen.mangrum · Oops, my bad. Still trying to get that memory of Marlin winning the Million. That was a bd trip to Chicago. · 1468 days ago
I should say he crossed the wire first in both. Kicken Kris was put up via DQ in the Million.
I'm still partial to Awad, the only horse to win the Secretariat and Million.
where did TEN entire years go??
Yes, it was in 2003, tv. Looked like Stevens' mount won it, but the horse possibly spooked and Stevens fell off just before the wire.
ONE or the other of them as I do not watch this race regularly
confusion in the article as he was on Sulamani
Storming Hme 2003 right after the wire
NO, there was a singularly innovative event at Ruidoso that predated Arlington for that title being a million since '78.
What year was it when Gary Stevens fell off right at the finish? Think that was in a Million.
America's first $1,000,000 race (I like seeing all of those zeros), that was such a huge thing and now they are a dime a dozen. Still the name Arlington MILLION is very special.

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, and American Pharoah. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 

As Editor of Horse Racing Nation, Brian authors a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, adds his editorial flare to the overall content of the website, and co-hosts the popular racing show, HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves as the President of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars, is both a Hall of Fame and NTRA poll voter, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.


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