Contact: Dan Leary
(847) 255-4300


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Arlington International Racecourse today announced that overnight purses will be increased 25% from current levels, starting Saturday, Aug. 12, for the remainder of the inaugural Summer Festival of Racing, which began July 12 and will run until Labor Day, Sept. 4, 2000.

For the first time ever in 2000, a two-tiered purse structure was established to offer a premier segment of the race meet to improve the level of competition and attract national attention to racing in Illinois.

The Summer Festival of Racing began on July 12, with a significant increase in overnight purses from the first 43 days of the meet. Through the first 20 days of the 41-day Festival, daily purses, which include Illinois owner award supplements, have averaged $255,090 compared to $217,297 per day prior to July 12.

"We are extremely pleased by the favorable response to the Summer Festival concept by the horsemen and the wagering public, both on track and at all of our simulcast outlets" said Frank Gabriel, Arlington's Vice President of Racing and Operations. "A 25% increase in total wagering per day on Arlington races since the start of the Festival, compared to the first 43 days of our meet, is proof that the interest in Illinois racing is growing rapidly.

"To further bolster the Festival race meeting, we are increasing purses 25% through Labor Day," added Gabriel.

The highlight of the Summer Festival will be on Saturday, Aug. 19 when $2.9 million in purse money will be up for grabs in Illinois' only three Grade I races - the $2 million Arlington Million, $500,000 Beverly D. and $400,000 Secretariat Stakes. The Arlington Million will be run as the first North American race on the Emirates World Series Racing Championship schedule.

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