Power Cap

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10 August 2009

Arlington Million Trip Report

After my first visit to Arlington I can understand why Al Capone made the move from Brooklyn to Chicago. Not only was Chicago a helluva town but Arlington is a top-class racing venue and everyone I dealt with was helpful and professional. This facility was clean, modern and meticulously maintained. From the well landscaped grounds to the clean bathrooms and immaculate paddock everything looked like a classy facility, not just a great racetrack. I have to spot Arlington right under Keeneland as the number two racing facility in North America.

View of the track from the clubhouse turn

Track had a majestic entrance gate, it looked like you were driving through an entrance to a stud farm or perhaps an estate. The grounds leading up to the clubhouse entrance were landscaped with an abundance of fresh flowers and just cut shrubbery. My $25 seat to the Arlington million not only provided a place to sit but also free parking, a program and track admission.

A glossy program is included with admission at Arlington

Secretariat Starting gate

The Arlington Million racing program is one of the premiere racing cards of the year in North America. If you a fan of turf racing, these are your kind of races. I posted a pick 3 that threw the kitchen sink at the sequence but failed to hit. Take The Points surprised me as I expected him to regress off tough races but did the opposite and ran a huge race under Desormeaux to take the Secretariat Stakes. This was the first time that Desormeaux had won a graded stakes for Todd Pletcher. The Aiden O'Brien shipper Black Bear Island ran well for second. Desormeaux collected a stakes double when Dynaforce stalked the pace a forget to quit in the Beverly D.

Bev D Starting Gate

Before the Arlington Million the Brazilian bred Gloria De Campeao put on a show in the parade. For about 10 minutes he ran around with his head about one foot off the ground and cocked to left with his mouth wide open teeth exposed like a rabid dog. I don't know what he was doing but it didn't look like he had his mind on racing. This was a long way to come for a horse to go out and goof around on the track like a big baby. The classy and talented Gio Ponti solidified his position as the top turf horse with his forth grade I win in a row. He looked tremendous in the paddock and Clemente looked confident as he saddled him. Gio Ponti looked like he made the lead early at the top of the lane and might be caught late. However as soon as the competition came to him he found another gear and took off again. Gio Ponti won deceptively easily. This is a classy colt that will return for a five year old campaign. Arc de Triomphe 2010 for Gio Ponti?

Arlington Tote Board Where All The Numbers Work

Always A Sign Of A Great Track Is An Immaculate Paddock

Another Paddock Shot

Pacesetter Hoosier Kingdom king Before The Secretariat Stakes

ESPN Talent On-Hand

Paddock Statue Of The Bart & John Henry in Arlington Million I

P.S. On the way home at O'Hare airport I met hall of fame jockey Gary Stevens on the Hertz rent a car shuttle. It was only the two of us on the bus. He was a really nice guy and was happy to talk about the races with a fan.


Wendy said...

I was equally impressed by Arlington. I had no idea it was so beautiful!! I like Hawthorne for it's "family" atmosphere but Arlington is a knock out beautiful place. I was there to shoot photos and here's a link to some of my pics. http://www.flickr.com/photos/wendy_u/sets/72157621860037557/detail/

G. C. said...

Thanks for the link to the high quality pics.

landesign said...

Arlington is one of the most beautiful tracks in the U.S. I was glad that HRTV covered the week leading up to the Million but thought it was an unfortunate choice to situate their broadcast in the paddock in front of the horses in the 1-6 saddling stalls. This is right where the fans who want to be close to the horses always stand. Not a very fan friendly move and the first time I have ever seen a broadcast team located there.