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Arlington St. Leger Added To Million Day

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Masked Marvel won the English St. Leger at Doncaster last fall. Arlington Park is bringing an American version of this race to the 2012 International Festival of Racing.
Masked Marvel won the English St. Leger at Doncaster last fall. Arlington Park is bringing an American version of this race to the 2012 International Festival of Racing.

Arlington Park, which recently received approximately $140 million in casino impact fees, will add a new $400k stakes race on the grass to its stakes program, as well as an increase of $1.3 million to its stakes purses, according to a report in the Daily Racing Form. The new race will be open to three-year-olds and up and will run during the August 18th Arlington International Festival of Racing card, along with the G1-Arlington Million, G1-Beverly D., and the G1-Secretariat Stakes. The Secretariat, which had its purse reduced to $400,000 last year, will once again be a $500,000 race.

The Arlington St. Leger is based on the St. Leger races run in England and Ireland, each of which are contested at a distance of one mile and six furlongs. The Arlington St. Leger will run at one mile and five and a half furlongs.

Arlington Million day is already one of the best days for grass racing in the United States and the addition of a $400k race like the St. Leger should only add to that quality. The purse is high enough and the distance sufficiently unique that the race should attract a much different caliber and type of horse than the Million. Additionally, since the European owners and trainers like to ship to Arlington for the Festival, there shouldn't be a shortage of international horses looking to take a shot at a race tailor-made for them. Finally, although the race is currently ungraded (and will be until the requisite number of years have passed), this is a nice addition to the grass racing stakes calendar.

Arlington added another European-style turf race a few years ago when it started running the American 1,000 Guineas in 2008. The race was open tor three-year-old fillies at a mile and had a purse of $200,000. Sadly, the race only lasted three years and was dropped from the Arlington stakes calendar in 2010.