Arlington Park to Celebrate Diamond Anniversary

By Davis, Jon | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), October 12, 2002 | Go to article overview

Arlington Park to Celebrate Diamond Anniversary


Davis, Jon, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Jon Davis Daily Herald Staff Writer

Like any 75-year-old, Arlington Park has seen its share of triumphs and troubles.

Financial woes have plagued Arlington owners from founder H.D. "Curley" Brown to current Chairman Richard "Mr. D" Duchossois and forced a two-year closure in the late 1990s.

The 1985 fire that gutted the grandstand and clubhouse also threatened the track's existence, but led to that year's "Miracle Million" less than a month later.

The Arlington Million is one of America's elite horse races, second in prestige, perhaps, to only the Triple Crown's Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes.

And Arlington has hosted a slew of famous horses including Cigar, Citation, Dr. Fager, John Henry, Native Dancer, Secretariat and Spectacular Bid, to name a few.

So it's probably fitting that in its diamond anniversary year, Arlington Park hosts the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships - just 14 days nigh.

"When we rebuilt, we had a chance to tale a look at ourselves and where we came from and we found there had been one obstacle after another," Duchossois said. "And that's where we got 'Against All Odds' (the statue outside the grandstand near the paddock).

"That's what makes Arlington great. There have been no obstacles we haven't been able to overcome," he said.

Arlington Park celebrates its diamond anniversary Sunday with festivities ranging from free admission for anyone born in 1927 to free slices from a 500-pound Eli's cheesecake doled out by Mr. D himself, starting at 2:30 p.m. in the Winner's Circle.

Moreover, the 75th patron through the turnstiles wins a two- night stay at the Chicago Hilton.

Legendary announcer Phil Georgeff - whose call "Here they come spinning out of the turn!" still echoes in many a Chicago-area resident's ears - will autograph copies of his autobiography, "And...They're Off."

A trivia contest and "favorite Arlington moments" montages are also planned as is an appearance by jockey and country/western singer Shane Sellers.

The party atmosphere continues on Monday, Columbus Day, when Arlington Park will charge just $1 for admission and 50 cents for hot dogs, popcorn and pop. The track will also host a live broadcast by Dick Biondi from "Magic" 104 WJMK 104.3-FM radio.

The Breeders' Cup is an appropriate part of the anniversary celebration, Village President Arlene Mulder said.

The village will celebrate, too, since Arlington Park helped put Arlington Heights on the map, Mulder said.

"Over the years, it's been something to point to for out-of-town visitors and something that's put us on the map. …

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