Churchill Downs announced a 2022 stakes schedule for its spring/summer meet featuring a record 53 stakes worth a record $20.37 million. But, it’s a special stakes race Aug. 13 that drew the attention of horse racing fans. The Arlington Million.
Yes, that Arlington Million, the marquee race at the now-late Arlington Park outside Chicago. Churchill Downs closed Arlington Park last fall, ending nearly 100 years of racing at what was the Midwest’s signature track.
That Aug. 13 date runs outside of Churchill Downs’ 44-day Spring Meet that opens April 30 and closes July 4. But through an arrangement with Ellis Park and the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, Churchill Downs received permission to run a special one-day Arlington Million Day program.
That program features the $1 million Grade 1 Arlington Million, the $500,000 Grade 1 Beverly D, the $300,000 Grade 3 Secretariat and the $200,000 Grade 3 Pucker Up.
Churchill Downs takes nine stakes from Arlington Park
All total, Churchill Downs will play host to nine stakes races previously run at Arlington Park. The other five will run during the Spring Meet.
Churchill Downs’ 53 stakes is up from the previous mark of 40, set last year. The $20.37 million purse represents a 34% boost from last year’s $13.44 million total stakes purse.
In fact, Kentucky Derby Week alone accounts for $12.2 million of that record purse, almost as much as last year’s total meet stakes purse. Headlined, of course, by the $3 million Kentucky Derby May 7, Derby Week offers 22 stakes races. Eight of those stakes are on Derby Day, with four of those Grade 1s.
Running on the Derby undercard are the $1 million Turf Classic, the $750,000 Churchill Downs and the $750,000 Derby City Distaff.
Churchill Downs-2022 Key Spring/Summer Meet Stakes Races
|May 6||Kentucky Oaks||I||1 1/8 miles||3-year-old Fillies|
|May 6||La Troienne||I||1 1/16 miles||4-and-up, Fillies & Mares|
|May 6||Alysheba||II||1 1/16 miles||4-and-up|
|May 7||Kentucky Derby||I||1 1/4 miles||3-year-olds|
|May 7||Turf Classic||I||1 1/8 miles (turf)||4-and-up|
|May 7||Churchill Downs||I||7 furlongs||4-and-up|
|May 7||Derby City Distaff||I||7 furlongs||4-and-up, Fillies & Mares|
|May 7||Pat Day Mile||II||1 mile||3-year-olds|
|July 2||Stephen Foster||II||1 1/8 miles||4-and-up|
|July 2||Fleur de Lis||II||1 1/8 miles||4-and-up, Fillies & Mares|
|Aug. 13||Arlington Million||I||1 1/8 miles (turf)||3-and-up|
|Aug. 13||Beverly D.||I||1 1/8 miles (turf)||3-and-up, Fillies & Mares|
|Aug. 13||Secretariat||II||1 mile (turf)||3-year-olds|
The day before, Friday, May 6, features the $1.25 million Kentucky Oaks, the marquee race for 3-year-old fillies. Headlining the seven stakes on the Oaks undercard is the $750,000 Grade 1 La Troienne.
Churchill Downs’ stakes schedule features only those Grade 1s. But there are several key Grade 2s that often draw Grade 1-caliber talent. That category includes the $500,000 Pat Day Mile on the Derby undercard, the $500,000 Alysheba and $500,000 Eight Belles on the Oaks undercard and the $750,000 Stephen Foster, which headlines Closing Weekend on Saturday, July 2.
After last year’s renovations of the turf course, grass racing returns to Churchill Downs this year. Fourteen of the 53 stakes races are on the turf.