• Champion Sprinter Work All Week has been retired due to a fracture.Posted 11 hours ago
  • Harmonize comes widest of all to win the Jessamine Stakes.Posted 1 day ago
  • Got Lucky gets there on the wire in the Grade 1 Spinster at Keeneland.Posted 4 days ago
  • Airoforce kicks away in the Dixiana Bourbon Stakes for hot trainer Mark Casse.Posted 4 days ago
  • Ben's Duchess takes advantage of a speed duel to win the L.A. Woman.Posted 4 days ago
  • Inheritance, a $1.9 million 2yo in training purchase, broke her maiden by 13 today at Belmont.Posted 4 days ago
  • Golden Horn wins the Arc ... Treve runs well, but settles for fourth.Posted 4 days ago
  • Wild Dude earns a Breeders' Cup berth with a Santa Anita Sprint win.Posted 5 days ago
  • Grand Arch just holds off a flying The Pizza Man to win the Shadwell Turf Mile.Posted 5 days ago
  • He repeats -- It's all Tonalist in a sloppy Jockey Club Gold Cup.Posted 5 days ago

HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

Arlington International: The Million Experience

Little Mike 615 X 400 Million
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire


I think when I tell a person that Arlington International is the nicest racing facility in the United States, they believe that I am at least partially exaggerating in favor of my home track. Not so. The beauty of the Suburban Chicago race place is evident even before you enter the turnstiles. After a devastating fire in 1985, the new owner, Richard L. Duchossois, known simply as Mr. D around here, spearheaded the drive to not only rebuild, but to create a showplace for the fans to love, and in which the industry could be proud. Mission accomplished.


When the new Arlington opened in 1989, it glittered like gold in the Illinois sun … and thanks largely to the dedication of the now 92-year-old Mr. D, it still does. From the manicured lawns, flowers, and trees that give the racetrack a garden feel, to the marble staircase and floors found inside, Arlington was designed to be something special. From the bright and clean colors seen throughout, to the pristine grandstand and racetrack itself, Arlington is maintained like no other. It feels a little strange to call a racetrack elegant, but that is exactly what Arlington is, and what better way to discover or enjoy the nicest racing facility in American racing than on Arlington Million Day.


The Arlington Million, first run in 1981, was also designed to be extraordinary. In just more than 30 editions, the race, once the richest in America, is overflowing with a wonderful history generally reserved for races that have been around for a century or more. From the unbelievable, never-say-die victory by the legendary John Henry in year one, to the exciting finish of The Apache and Real Solution in 2013, the rollcall of horses to have run in the Million reads like a who’s who of American turf racing. John Henry won it twice. The mare Estrapade took the field wire-to-wire in ‘86. The horse I still call the greatest American turf horse that I ever saw, Manila, dominated in 1987. Soon after came terrific winners like Steinlen, Golden Pheasant, and Tight Spot.


Among the best turf horses of the nineties were Sky Classic, and a personal favorite, Paradise Creek, but only the latter could pass the Million test, as Dear Doctor defeated the champion from Canada in 1992. Awad became a regular factor on Million day, while becoming the first horse to win both the Secretariat and the Arlington Million. Bobby Frankel rejoiced when Beat Hollow defeated a strong bunch early in this century, and who can forget the grass power of Powerscourt, who twice finished first, but only got to keep one due to an erratic stretch path. Age was celebrated with the eight-year-old The Tin Man’s victory, while the 2009 winner, Gio Ponti rivaled all but the great John Henry on the popularity scale. Little Mike also thrilled the home side with a front running masterpiece in 2012.


So today, when you make your way to Arlington International to enjoy the Arlington Million, and three other excellent turf races (American St. Leger, Secretariat, and the Beverly D.) for that matter, take the time to look around. Soak in the beauty and grandeur of a special place, and be sure to stop by the John Henry-The Bart (Against All Odds) statue. If that photo finish, immortalized in bronze, doesn’t get your blood flowing for this year’s Arlington Million, nothing will.



comments powered by Disqus

Related Pages

      Connect With Brian

Me On Facebook
Follow Me On Twitter


 ZATT's Star of the Week 

Golden Horn

Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing since birth. 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 Managing Editor of Horse Racing Nation, Brian authors a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and adds his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Brian also consults for Derby Wars, is on the the Board of Directors of ReRun Thoroughbred Adoption and is a Vox Populi committee member. 
A graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.  

Related Stories

Best of the Blogs

Top Stories