- Horse Racing - Arlington named site of 2002 Breeders' Cup

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Monday, December 3
Arlington named site of 2002 Breeders' Cup

CHICAGO -- Arlington Park will host the "Super Bowl" of thoroughbred horse racing next October when the Breeders' Cup comes to the Midwest for the first time.

Van Clief Jr. and Duchossois
D.G. Van Clief Jr., left, president of the Breeders' Cup Limited, shakes hands with Richard L. Duchossois, chairman of Arlington Park, after a news conference in Chicago.
The 19th Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships on Oct. 26 will feature eight races with total purses of $13 million, highlighted by the $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic.

"It brings our culminating championship event to the third-largest market in the United States," said Tim Smith, commissioner of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association.

Arlington closed for two seasons in 1998 and 1999 before owner Richard L. Duchossois worked out a deal with other racing interests, lawmakers and casino operators to make his track more financially competitive with the riverboats.

And last year as it reopened, Arlington merged with Churchill Downs, Inc., which has hosted five Breeders' Cups at Churchill Downs at Louisville, Ky.

Officials said Monday that Arlington will receive a grant of $500,000 in each of the next two fiscal years from the state of Illinois to help with expenses from a championship that could generate $54 million in economic activity for the state.

An economic impact study said the races will attract 700 to 800 media representatives from around the world, and that 55 percent of the 50,000 people attending will come from outside the Chicago area.

Track officials began to work on details last May. The official announcement was delayed until the track could make sure of state support and that it could add amenities to its picturesque suburban Chicago facility, including more seats, according to Arlington executive vice president Steve Sexton.

Sexton said the new seating would be phased in during next year's racing season. He said it had not yet been determined how many seats to the Breeders' Cup races would be available to the public or how much those seats would cost.

Jockey Pat Day, a four-time Arlington riding champion and a four-time winner of the Breeders' Cup Classic, said he's been presented with the perfect combination.

"With the great success I've had at the Breeders' Cup and at Arlington Park, I'm looking forward to it. I think I'm speaking on behalf of all the riders," said Day, who has career Breeders' Cup earnings of $21.7 million.

This year's Breeders Cup championships were held at Belmont Park.

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