Beloved Arlington Millions Moves to Churchill Downs

Chris Adams

Churchill Downs Inc. will be under the close watch of many horseplayers this weekend. Saturday marks the first running of the Arlington Millions at Churchill.

Arlington Park Closure

Arlington Park home of the Arlington Millions which will now be run at Churchill Downs
Arlington Park | The Real Deal

This will be a bittersweet running of the Arlington Millions for many horseplayers. Arlington Park in the Chicago area was bought by Churchill Downs Inc. Many thought this would reinvigorate racing at the beloved Midwest track. That was not the case.

The parent company of the track by the same name made several moves to slow racing to a halt. Eventually they sold the track for redevelopment. The sale was directed away from groups that wanted to continue racing.

Arlington Millions

Fans were angered as it appeared CDI was more interested in protecting the interest in their nearby casino than the game they are most associated with. A further blow was dealt when the company then took all of the marquee races and moved them to the site of the Kentucky Derby.

Trouble on the Turf

Matt Winn Turf Course at Churchill Downs
Matt Winn Turf Course | Coady Photography

Saturday’s card will mark a return to the new Matt Winn turf course. The course was shut down after the root structure failed to take hold during the spring meet. Signs are not great that things have gotten much better as many of the turf races scheduled for Saturday were taken off the turf for precautionary reasons.

The two races that remain on the turf will be run on different parts of the turf course to protect the course and the horses.

Churchill Downs- Race 1

Post: 12:45 PM ET; $120k Maiden Special Weight going 6 furlongs on dirt; Entries: 10

  • #9 BABY GOT BACKSPIN (3-1) should improve off the first start and gets the top selection.
  • #8 MALAWNIA (12-1) is a price horse that is well bred for this spot.
  • #3 CONVERSATIONAL (8-1) makes sense on the debut speed figure.
  • #6 EYES OF GOLD (5-1) has speed figures that make her a player.

Selections: 9 – 8 – 3 – 6

Churchill Downs- Race 2

Post: 1:19 PM ET; $120k Maiden Special Weight going 7 furlongs on dirt; Entries: 9

  • #3 ROMANCE NOVEL (3-1) has the pedigree to be dangerous here.
  • #1 LUV DRAGON (7-2) should improve off the first effort and looks good.
  • #7 JAG WARRIOR (12-1) is a price horse and should be part of the early pace in this spot.
  • #2 SCARLET STRIPE (7-2) debuts here and gets Gaffalione in the irons. He’s been heating up recently.

Selections: 3 – 1 – 7 – 2

Churchill Downs- Race 3

Post: 1:53 PM ET; $127k Allowance going 1 1/16 miles on dirt; Entries: 8

  • #7 JELLY NOUGAT (3-1) looks best here. He shouldn't have trouble with the 1 1/16 mile distance.
  • #4 GULFSTREAM WAY (7-2) has tactical speed and can sit just off the leaders for a stalk and pounce trip.
  • #3 TEPEU (5-2) appears to be a major player in this race and could get the right setup in this race.
  • #8 LEGIONNAIRE (7-2) should be competitive in this spot. He will likely have a lot to do in the lane, but could get up with a competitive run.

Selections: 7 – 4 – 3 – 8

Churchill Downs- Race 4

Post: 2:27 PM ET; $120k Maiden Special Weight going 6 furlongs on dirt; Entries: 10

  • #6 BLACK FOREST (7-2) gets the top selection. She could be a dangerous threat to get loose on the front end.
  • #7 KEY OF LIFE (3-1) should improve off the first start and goes out for Cox and Geroux.
  • #1 ZEITLOS (6-1) debuts here for Steve Asmussen and could be in with a shot in this race.
  • #10 MOODY (8-1) is an interesting one to hit the board.

Selections: 6 – 7 – 1 – 10

Churchill Downs- Race 5

Post: 3:01 PM ET; $500k Beverly D. S. going 1 1/8 miles on turf; Entries: 5

  • #3 PRINCESS GRACE (3-1) is the top pick for the Stidham barn. This one shouldn't have trouble with the 1 1/8 mile distance.
  • #4 ROUGIR (2-1) makes sense on speed figures, but has been underwhelming in the last couple tries.
  • #2 FAMILY WAY (3-1) has tactical speed and can sit just off the leaders for a stalk and pounce trip.
  • #1 DALIKA (8-1) could be a dangerous threat to get loose on the front end.

Selections: 3 – 4 – 2 – 1

Churchill Downs- Race 6

Post: 3:35 PM ET; $120k Maiden Special Weight going 6 furlongs on dirt; Entries: 13

  • #3 CONFIDENCE GAME (6-1) should improve off the first start and looks best here.
  • #10 STORMIN ARMY (5-1) has the pedigree to be a major player in this spot.
  • #6 GASLIGHT DANCER (4-1) debuts at a short price. That’s a promising sign.
  • #12 ACCIDENT (10-1) has run against decent company of late.

Selections: 3 – 10- 6 – 12

Churchill Downs- Race 7

Post: 4:09 PM ET; $200k Lady Tak S. going 6 furlongs on dirt; Entries: 5

  • #2 SCONSIN (1-1) gets the top selection. She is a logical favorite.
  • #1 BELL'S THE ONE (7-5) has the top overall power rating in the group.
  • #3 JOYFUL CADENCE (5-1) has been really solid in recent starts and should be ready to run a big one here.
  • #4 LOVEMESOMEME (6-1) should be part of the early pace in this spot and may be able to slip away.

Selections: 2 – 1 – 3 – 4

Churchill Downs- Race 8

Post: 4:43 PM ET; $120k Maiden Special Weight going 7 furlongs on dirt; Entries: 11

  • #8 ENGRAVE (3-1) is the top pick and is in great form.
  • #3 VINCO (4-1) has solid early pace figures in a race that looks to lack a ton of front running speed.
  • #4 NORGAY (12-1) is s price that could have a say early.
  • #1A APPEAL DENIED (5-1) should improve off the first start and could surprise here.

Selections: 8 – 3 – 4 – 1A

Churchill Downs- Race 9

Post: 5:17 PM ET; $134k Allowance Optional Claiming going 1 1/16 miles on dirt; Entries: 8

  • #8 BUSINESS MODEL (9-2) looks best here. He shouldn't have trouble with the 1 1/16 mile distance.
  • #1 SCARLET FUSION (7-2) is in great form.
  • #6 GIGGING (5-1) has really consistent pace figures which should work well in a moderately paced race.
  • #5 JENNINGS (5-1) has tactical speed and can sit just off the leaders for a stalk and pounce trip.

Selections: 8 – 1 – 6 – 5

Churchill Downs- Race 10

Post: 5:51 PM ET; $200k Fort Larned S. going 1 3/16 miles on dirt; Entries: 7

  • #5 TWILIGHT BLUE (5-2) gets the top selection. He shouldn't have trouble with the 1 3/16 mile distance.
  • #6 INTREPID HEART (7-2) should be competitive in this spot. He has races good enough to beat this group.
  • #2 KING FURY (2-1) should be sitting in the second tier of runners and looking to make one well timed run at the leaders.
  • #7 KEYSTONE FIELD (15-1) is a price horse and should be competitive in this spot at a really nice price.

Selections: 5 – 6 – 2 – 7

Churchill Downs- Race 11

Post: 6:25 PM ET; $1000k Arlington Million S. going 1 1/8 miles on turf; Entries: 9

  • #6 SANTIN (3-1) is the top pick. He is probably the horse to beat, but is a little hard to trust the form on.
  • #2 SACRED LIFE (9-2) goes out for the combination of Brown and Franco.
  • #7 ADMISSION OFFICE (10-1) is a price horse that should have the stamina to get the distance.
  • #4 SMOOTH LIKE STRAIT (5-2) goes out for the Mccarthy barn and gets Velazquez in the irons. California grass form doesn’t always translate east, but the talent is there.

Selections: 6 – 2 – 7 – 4

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Chris Adams
Chris Adams

Chris first got introduced to horse racing in 2009 at Canterbury Park (Shakopee, MN). Along with handicapping and betting, Chris has worked as a teller at his local track and participated in ownership partnerships. He now enjoys sharing his passion with his wife and two young daughters who love going out to the track each and every summer.

Chris first got introduced to horse racing in 2009 at Canterbury Park (Shakopee, MN). Along with handicapping and betting, Chris has worked as a teller at his local track and participated in ownership partnerships. He now enjoys sharing his passion with his wife and two young daughters who love going out to the track each and every summer.