Arlington Diaries: A Million Reasons to Go Racing

Events / Travel

If you have never been to Chicago-area track Arlington International Racecourse, you are missing out big-time. Whether you’re a die-hard racing fan or the most casual observer of pretty horses turning left, Arlington is one of the most picturesque racing venues in America.

I began my Arlington adventure on Friday morning. Just after the the sun rose, I arrived at the track to watch contenders for tomorrow’s International Festival of Racing take their morning exercise on the eve or raceday. When I first walked to the horse path that leads from the stable area to the track, I was struck by the arresting beauty of the scene.

As I set up shop near the entrance of the track, I had a great vantage point to see some of tomorrow’s runners; here’s Beverly D. contender I’m Already Sexy, who was clearly feeling her proverbial oats since she kept sticking her tongue out at me. Sassy!

I also caught sight of Sheldon, a longshot in the Secretariat. While he may not be everyone’s betting choice, he’s an attention-grabbing horse who just looks wonderful.

His fellow Secretariat contender Tourist grabbed my attention just for his looks. He’s an eye-grabbing guy with fantastic facial markings and a pretty good race record behind him; he may be tough to beat on Saturday afternoon.

I just caught sight of Arlington Million contender Hardest Core; he was heading off of the track, but he seemed very calm and collected amid the hubbub of training hours.

The third Secretariat runner I saw was Highball; not only do I like his name, but I was very impressed by his movement as he galloped this morning. He may be getting my bet on Saturday afternoon.

Smoking Sun is a world traveler with a lot of panache; he’s probably one of the Million’s most interesting horses, since he’s a real trooper who’s shown his moxie everywhere from France to Singapore. I can’t wait to see how he fares here in the United States!

In addition to the Thoroughbreds, I saw the bravest person on the planet: this window washer.

While most people would probably point to the jockeys and exercise riders as the most intrepid folks at the track, I have a paralyzing fear of heights and therefore think that this guy is a hero. To give you a little perspective, this is how far he is off of the ground.

I shall use a .gif to fully express my feelings on doing something like that:

But he’s also the perfect representation of what makes Arlington Park such a special place: the attention to detail. The facility is flawless with fresh paint, perfectly manicured landscaping and nary a torn-up betting ticket to be seen on the ground. It is truly a showplace racecourse, and on Arlington Million weekend it’s probably the most picture-perfect racetrack in the nation.

And the visitors to the track are a complement to that attention to detail; there is fantastic fashion on display at Arlington, and I spotted some very chic fans as I wandered the grounds today.

Speaking of chic, I ran into milliner Christine A. Moore, who makes some of the most fabulous headgear in all of horse racing.

Naturally, I had to try a bunch of them on. Hey, what can I say – some girls (like myself) never really grow out of playing dress-up!


But most of all, Arlington Park is about having a fun, fantastic time at a beautiful location with breathtaking horses and heart-pounding excitement. If that sounds like a good time to you (and I promise it is!) then I can’t encourage you enough to get out to Arlington International Racecourse as soon as possible to have an unforgettably amazing day at the races.

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