Arlington Park

Ron Magers Reflects On His Decades In Racing And Breeding

"It all happened only because my wife, Elise, is very careful about where she walks...especially around horses." A Chicago-area veteran and established local TV news anchor, Ron Magers knows a good story when he hears one. It was Gulfstream Park in the spring of 1990 when Ron, accompanied by his wife, Elise, were making their way out of the paddock on their way to the airport at the end of the day's races. When something shiny in the dirt caught Elise's eye, she bent and scooped up what was an...

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Brown Hopes Million Dominance Transfers to Churchill

Perhaps no trainer felt the loss of Arlington Park more keenly than Chad Brown, who had dominated the historic track's signature Arlington Million Day card for the past decade, but the multiple Eclipse Award winner will have a pair of runners as he tries to keep the momentum going at the relocated--and truncated--Million card at Churchill Downs Saturday. Currently leading North American trainers with 10 Grade I wins on the year, Brown will be in search of a record-extending fifth victory in the Million when he sends out recent GIII...

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This Side Up: Oasis or Mirage?

In this instance, you really can't say that the grass is any greener on the other side of the fence. Take your dystopian pick: the floods of Kentucky, or the desiccation of Europe, where I've just returned from a vacation that seamlessly united the city parks of England and Italy in the same wasteland, with just a few bleached spikes still protruding from the baked, ashen earth. However illusory, then, it's a relief to find enough recognizable vegetation salvaged Stateside at least to host all three of Saturday's Grade I...

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Breeders' Cup Winning Trainer Noel Hickey Dies

Trainer, owner and breeder Noel Hickey, who was the first trainer to breed a Breeders' Cup winner when Buck's Boy captured the GI Breeders' Cup Turf in 1998, died Monday at the age of 94. Blood-Horse first reported the story. The Irish-born Hickey, who raced under the name of Irish Acres Farm, his Ocala breeding operation, trained for over four decades and had his best success at Arlington Park. He won the 1990 training title at the Chicago-area track with 49 winners, all of whom were homebreds. He trained his...

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One Life in a Box: Richard Hazelton

For nearly three years, a frayed cardboard box has hidden in the corner of a small apartment in the Westside of Los Angeles, buried from view by wooly blankets, a tennis racket with broken strings, worn clothes long earmarked for the thrift store and an old jacket with a broken zipper and patched leather sleeves. The box is filled mostly with creaky photo albums stuffed full of old newspaper clippings pasted onto faded paper, laminated win pictures--the plastic as brittle as sheet-ice--and handwritten letters. There are magazines and an old...

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Contents of Arlington Up for Online Auction

The first items in a massive online-only auction of the contents of Arlington International Racecourse have been listed for bidding. The sales process, which is scheduled to take place over the next few months in up to 15 separate "events" grouped by asset type, is beginning with food-service and kitchen items. The coveted big-ticket racing-related offerings--marker poles, finish lines, signage, artworks, and even starting gates--will be among the last batches of items to be sold. "We're going to be targeting nostalgia and memorabilia items mid-September," said Judd Grafe, who runs...

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Why Have Standardbreds Gotten Faster and Thoroughbreds Have Not?

It's been almost 55 years since Dr. Fager set a world record for the mile distance when winning the 1968 Washington Park Handicap at Arlington Park in 1:32 1/5, a record that has yet to be broken. In 1973, Secretariat won the GI Kentucky Derby, covering the 1 1/4 miles in 1:59 2/5, a record that still stands 49 years later. There are other examples, all leading to the same conclusion--the Thoroughbred racehorse is not getting any faster. Some believe that horses have gotten as fast as they can get,...

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Letters To the Editor: Paul Farash

Bill Finley's column on the closing of Pompano Park used it as a textbook example of decoupling. And he warned of the possibility of such decoupling not being exclusive to the world of harness racing or other pari-mutuel wagering establishments; that Thoroughbred racing venues are just as vulnerable. Well there was evidence of such, for all to see, in Chicago in 2021. Last June, I became aware of the potentially permanent closing of Arlington Park at the end of its 2021 season. As a 40-year fan of horse racing and...

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Arlington Million Among 53 Stakes at Churchill Spring/Summer Meet

The Churchill Downs spring/summer, which will include an Arlington Million Day card transplanted from the shuttered Chicago racetrack, will offer a record 53 stakes races worth $20.37 million. The 44-day Spring Meet is highlighted by the $3-million GI Kentucky Derby May 7 and will run from Apr. 30-July 4. With the coordination of Ellis Park and the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, Churchill will host a special Arlington Million Day Aug. 13. The card will feature  four stakes cumulatively worth $2 million: the $1-million GI Arlington Million; $500,000 GI Beverly D....

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This Side Up: Not Yet a Lost Cause

As one of few institutions of American sport to rival its fastest two minutes, the Super Bowl will reopen some painful old wounds among our community. For while many in the Bluegrass presumably feel some allegiance to their nearest NFL team, they owe a deeper loyalty to the very acres on which the game will be contested--to the memories interred below. Nostalgia for Hollywood Park will be especially piquant now that Arlington Park is in the sickening throes of a similar demise. It's no longer just John Henry, winner of...

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Dooley Named Track Announcer at Horseshoe Indianapolis

John G. Dooley, a fixture in the announcer's box at numerous Midwest tracks, has been tabbed to replace Bill Downes as the voice of racing at Horseshoe Indianapolis Race Course, the former Indiana Grand Racecourse. Eric Halstrom, the vice president and general manger of the track, revealed the news in a tweet Friday afternoon. A native of Staten Island, New York, Dooley graduated from St. John's University on Long Island and served as an intern at the Meadowlands and at the New York Racing Association before accepting his first announcer's...

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Richard Duchossois Passes Away at 100

Richard Duchossois, the businessman whose name was synonymous with Arlington Park, a track he bought in 1983, has passed away. He was 100. Duchossois was born in 1921 in Chicago and was a graduate of Washington and Lee University. He joined the Army in 1942 and became the commander of Company C of the 610th Tank Destroyer Battalion, which landed on Utah Beach in Normandy. He served in five European campaigns and later served as the military governor for the region of Eichstatt. He was released from active service in...

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