Million Fans Produce Biggest Handle in Illinois History

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Byline: Mike Spellman Daily Herald Sports Writer

While bad weather and the Air and Water Show in Chicago may have played a role in keeping attendance down at Arlington Park for Million Day on Saturday, the 22,176 at the track and those watching from around the United States and the world made up for it by producing the biggest handle in Illinois racing history.

On-track handle was $3,007,998 (not a record) and total handle from all sources was $14,519,027, breaking the previous mark of $13,200,575 set on July 13, 1996, when Cigar ran in the Citation Challenge.

"Saturday was a great day for Arlington Park and both Illinois and international racing," said Steve Sexton, Arlington Park executive vice president. "The fact that a German horse won the Arlington Million is evidence that international competition is the wave of the future."

More stakes stuff: In addition to the three Grade 1 races on its card, Arlington's Saturday card also featured three $60,000 stakes races.

In the Bet Twice Stakes, Wild Hits and jockey Frank Lovato Jr. led from start to finish in picking up the victory.

In the Buckpasser Stakes, Arlington's leading rider, Rene Douglas, guided 2-1 shot Neon Shadow to the winner's circle. Robby Albarado picked up his second win on the card with a win aboard The Happy Hopper in the Safely Kept Stakes.

Big effort: Perhaps the most impressive performance on Million Day was the one turned in by England's Legend in the $700,000 Beverly D. The 4-year-old romped home to an 8-length victory over a strong field which featured Astra as the overwhelming favorite.

"She's a very special filly," said jockey Corey Nakatani. "You can throw anything at her and she can handle it. …