THOROUGHBRED CLASSICS: THE ARLINGTON MILLION w/BONUS FOOTAGE
1981, the world's first $1 Million Thoroughbred race...the Arlington Million...it's a race with a great history at a track that has had great impact on the sport and business of Thoroughbred racing.
Through the years Arlington has hosted such legends as GALLANT FOX, OMAHA, WHIRLAWAY, CITATION, the Great NASHUA/SWAPS Match Race, KELSO, DR. FAGER, SECRETARIAT and CIGAR - great racehorses at a great racetrack...a track that has survived changes in ownership, a world war, a devastating fire and politics. Multi-million dollar purses have become almost commonplace but that wasn't the case in 1981 when Arlington Park announced it was going to host the first international Thoroughbred race in the world with a $1 million purse. The concept became an instant success and immediately put Arlington and Midwest racing back on the map in a stature comparable to other great American tracks.
The first Arlington Million attracted a field of twelve including four from Europe but the horse that made the race was the 1980 Eclipse Turf Champion - JOHN HENRY. In a late charge, JOHN HENRY would just nip THE BART at the wire taking the first Arlington Million by a scant whisker. JOHN HENRY would continue to have an impact on the race. In 1982 he was out with an injury and came in second in 1983, but in 1984 the nine-year-old living legend, JOHN HENRY, was back to win his second Arlington Million on his way to his second Horse-of-the-Year title!
The 1985 Million was run despite the devastating fire which leveled the grandstand; the English invader, TELEPROMPTER, would win that year's race dubbed, "The Miracle Million". The 1988 Million was run north at Woodbine during reconstruction at Arlington and was won by the French colt, MILL NATIVE.
The new Arlington International Race Course opened in June of 1989 - the six-story, 700,000 square foot racing palace was the new home of Chicago racing and "The Million" - GOLDEN PHEASANT won the 1990 renewal, TIGHT SPOT in 1991, PARADISE CREEK in 1994 and MARLIN in 1997. That same year Arlington went through some troubling financial times that sadly could not be overcome and had to close down. It seemed hard to believe that the long-standing institution since 1927 was closed...shut down by politics and economics. The painful decision was made after Arlington was unable to fulfill their mission of providing the highest quality of racing and at the same time balancing the books. The track sat idle for two years while politics played itself out but came back to life in 2000 after a $10 million renovation. The new $2 Million purse for, "The Million", sent an optimistic message for the future that Arlington was back and stronger than ever!
AS AN ADDED BONUS...four lengthy segments on the history of Arlington Park, the Arlington Million and the fire that ravaged the facility in 1985 are also included after the running of the main feature in addition to one on JOHN HENRY and the inaugural Arlington Million in 1981:
1) "The Miracle Million", a short-subject film
2) Segment on Arlington Park as featured on HRTV's "Inside Information" series
3) "The Miracle Million" which aired on HRTV's "Inside Information" series
4) An HRTV, "Past the Stands", vignette on JOHN HENRY and the first running of the Arlington Million in 1981
|Format(s) Available:||DVD And VHS|
|Category:||U.S. & Canadian Flat Racing|