Fun Facts About the Arlington Million

John Henry

By Christina Moore, courtesy America's Best Racing

The Arlington Million anchors Saturday’s Arlington International Festival of Racing, which is the highlight of the summer at Arlington Park, regularly attracting big crowds and first-class racehorses to the Chicagoland track. With a hefty purse and a spot in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf on the line, it’s easy to see why the Arlington Million is such an important race. Read on for 11 fun facts about Saturday’s race.

1. The Arlington Million was the first Thoroughbred race to have a purse of $1 million or more when it was inaugurated in 1981.

2. Estrapade was not only the lone mare to ever win the race, she did so by a record five lengths in 1986.

3. The Million often attracts international runners. Since its inception, 141 competitors represented nine countries outside the U.S. and 12 of them took home first prize in the race.

4. No jockey has won the race more than twice. Six jockeys are tied with two wins apiece.

5. The 1985 Million is known as the “Miracle Million” after a fire destroyed the grandstand just 25 days before the race. The show went on, and 35,651 fans watched the race from tents and temporary facilities.

6. Post position No. 7 has the highest win rate in the race at 23.5 percent. Post No. 1 is close behind with more than 20 percent winners from starters.

7. Two-time Horse of the Year John Henry was also a two-time Arlington Million winner. He won the first edition in 1981, and he became the oldest winner when he won as a 9-year-old in 1984.

8. In the last 15 years, three Arlington Million runners-up were declared the winners after the first-place finishers were disqualified for interference: Sulamani (2003), Kicken Kris (2004) and Real Solution (2013).

9. Mill Native paid a record high $83.20 for a $2 win bet when he was victorious in the 1988 race. Beat Hollow was the lowest-priced winner, paying $3.40 in 2002.

10. Twenty-six Eclipse Awards have been won by 19 horses that ran in the Million.

11. The 1988 Arlington Million was run at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, Canada, while the Arlington grandstand was rebuilt. It was the first time a major stakes race was moved to another country.