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Favorite thing: Please click on photo
Each time I attend Arlington International Race Track, I go to see the huge bronze scupture of the famous "Arlington Million winner, John Henry, in his race against The Bart". It's an impressive piece of art, even if you don't know the story behind it.
The scupture shows JOHN HENRY "edging out" THE BART in the FIRST ARLINGTON MILLION in 1981.
John Henry is aptly named for the legendary "steel driver who would not give up". And the horse was literally the same, a "Horse of Steel".
John Henry had what is called "calf knees" and came from an unimpressive breeding line. Yet, in his seven-year career, this mighty bay gelding won 39 races and earned more than six and a half million dollars.
After going from owner to owner, John Henry was purchased by Sam Ruben, who kept this incredible horse for the rest of his career. The horse did better in longer races, and after many successes in "cheap" races, he finally ran in a "grade I event and won
1981 was a great year for this gigantic gelding. In that first Arlington Million, with famed Bill Shoemaker riding him, John Henry appeared to be hopelessly beaten when he slipped near the start of the race. However, he had an amazing closing drive and managed to get his nose in front of the great horse, The Bart, just in time for the victory.
Fondest memory: He went on in 1981 to win many more big races (8 wins), and was rewarded with his first Horse of the Year title.
In 1982, John Henry was injured and only ran six times. In 1983, he had a new rider, Chris McCarron who rode him for the rest of his career. This time in the Arlington Million, John Henry came in second, missing the win by just a neck.
At the age of nine, in 1984, the "Horse of Steel" again won the Arlington Million in a strong field. He made the race look easy by winning by a length and three quarters! Thus, he was the oldest horse to be honored as the Horse of the Year.
John Henry was retired in 1985, becoming "a pensioner" at Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky, and he attracted thousands of visitors each year.
I feel so fortunate to have seen John Henry race twice at Arlington International Race Track.
In 1990, this mighty bay gelding was inducted into the Hall of Fame as was his jockey, Ron McAnally!
Now, you see why I always visit the gigantic sculpture of The Bart and John Henry (horse of steel) battling to the end in the First Arlington Million Race!
Updated Jun 3, 2005
Favorite thing: Arlington Park International Race Track was completed in 1927; then why does it look brand new? Well, in 1985, the beautiful race track and club house burned to the ground!
But let's go back a minute. In 1927 H.D. Brown from California decided to open a race track in Arlington Heights, Illinois, because it was only 23 miles from Chicago, and it was accessible by train. Thus, he purchased about 1000 acres of farmland and hired 500 workers to complete a grandstand that could seat 20,000 people.
Arlington Race Track operated all through the Depression. After the Depression, facilities were added to and remodeled and part of the undeveloped property was sold in 1955 to develop the nearby town of Rolling Meadows.
Tragically, in July of 1985, Arlington (owned by Richard Duchossois) burned down, but Duchossois would not let this gorgeous track die. He hired workers to work around the clock to clear all the fire debris. There were 250 truckloads of debris removed each day!
Today Duchossois still owns Arlington, and it is majestic. Inside marble and brass are used extensively. The predominate colors are White and Green, and lots of beautiful wood is also used.
I know some who read this will think that I am biased; however, most everyone in the racing world agrees with me.
In October of 2002, The Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships was held at Arlington Park. Only world class places have that opportunity.
Fondest memory: The landscaping of Arlington is magnificent. Each racing season, I marvel at the multitude of brilliant flowers throughout the Park.
There is always something happening at Arlington such as music, giveaways, or fireworks. Besides, it's just great fun to watch the people, check out the horses, admire the jockey "Silks" (clothing).
Thank goodness Richard Duchossois had the courage to raise this "Phoenix" from the ashes!
Updated Jun 3, 2005
Favorite thing: Please click on the photo, to really see the Tote Board
In the Infield at Arlington International Race Track, there is a huge, multi-paneled (6) Tote Board that tells you what you need to know.
First of all, it lists all the horses with their ODDS, which are constantly updated. In addition, it tells you what the special bets will pay. For instance, the Daily Double Pay-out, the Superfecta Pay-out, etc.
There's a huge clock that tells you how many minutes are left until the "horses reach the post. It also replays the race, especially if it is a "photo finish" so you can judge for yourself who won.
Fondest memory: So, when you are at the race track, keep your eye on the TOTE BOARD so that you are always up-to-date and aware of the odds, the payouts and the time.
Written Jun 2, 2005
Favorite thing: When I first went to the races, I was at a loss. People were speaking in "a foreign tongue" as far as I was concerned. My husband knew what they all meant, and I'm sure that he got tired of all the questions I asked. But, if you don't ask, you'll never know.
So, I thought that I would give you a "crash course" on terms used at the race course.
Fondest memory: Learn the terms used in and around horse racing, and you will feel more "at home".
Equipment & Medication of Horses:
Bandages are the wrappings used on a horse's legs to protect them from being injured.
Bit is a metal bar in the horse's mouth to which reins are attached so the horse can be guided and controlled.
Blinkers are eye cups attached to a hood to limit a horse's side vision and prevent distraction.
Colors (Silks) is the distinctively patterned and colored jacket and cap that is worn by the jockey to identify the horse's owner.
Lasix is a horse medication that is allowed in racing that is used to control bleeding, a condition that occurs when tiny blood vessels in a horse's respiratory system are damaged by exertion.
Tongue Tie is a strap or cloth bandage used to tie down horse's tongue to prevent him from swallowing it, or to keep the tongue over the bit in a race or workout.
Entry is when 2 or more horses in a race owned by the same person or stable are termed an "entry" and coupled as a single wagering unit.
Handle is the total amount wagered on a race or on a day's races.
Pari-Mutuel is the wagering format which allows each player to compete against other players ("among ourselves") rather than against the track.
Totalisator (Tote) is the system of computers and electronic components tied to the pari-mutuel ticket issuing machines that calculates the odds to $1 and computes the winning payoffs.
These are not all, but the most important terms.
Written Jun 2, 2005
Favorite thing: O'Hare is an international airport, so you can fly in from anywhere. I imagine there are currency exchanges in the international terminal, but you can change your money in Arlington Heights. American slang terms for money include: greenbacks, dead presidents, bread, moola, or simply "cash".
Written Oct 30, 2002
Favorite thing: A lot of care is given to painting a beautiful picture for visitors. This is a small park with benches for you to relax and maybe have some lunch. There is drinking water, and trash cans to keep it nice. Enjoy a peaceful setting with the founder of the city.
Fondest memory: Discovering these little plazas while on foot. Get out of your car, and enjoy the day.
Written Feb 25, 2003
Favorite thing: Arlington Heights is best discovered at a slow pace. So get out of your car, and walk. There are very pleasant walkways which will take you to small greens, and you will your stroll even though you are in a city.
Fondest memory: Looking at the fall colours, and strolling along the paths. This picture features my father.
Written Feb 25, 2003
Favorite thing: I am here for the Breeder's Cup, so a trip to Arlington Park is my favorite thing. It is really wonderful, and you can bet on the races. Arlington Park burned a few years back, and it was in disrepair, but new ownership has revivied this great place. A fun way to spend the afternoon.
Fondest memory: Picking winners, and cashing tickets!!!
Written Feb 25, 2003
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