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Illinois Day at Arlington Park--Anyone Going?

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  • Illinois Day at Arlington Park--Anyone Going?

    Since I have to be in Chicago for a late-evening dinner cruise, I'll get there with a bit of time (like all day) to kill and I was thinking of heading up to Arlington Park. It's apparently Celebrate Illinois Day and there are six stakes races on the card--anyone going who might want to do a meet-up? Any tips (betting or otherwise; I haven't bought the DRF sheets for it yet)? I'd be taking Marta in, not driving.

    Other option, if I decide to not take a chance on getting back late, is the OTB Chicago location--anyone been? It doesn't LOOK sketchy on their website (but obviously they aren't going to put sketchy photos up.) I believe, offhand, my CDInc Shareholder pass is good there as well (and I have an extra, for the track or OTB, if anyone wants to do a meetup! I know for sure they're good for General Admission at AP.)
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  • #2
    I won't be there however you should do it. Just make sure you're looking at the weekend schedule for the Metra Rail

    You'd be taking the Union Pacific/Northwest Line (UP-NW) which originates at the Olgilvie Station (500 W. Madison St. Chicago, Illinois) and ends its journey at Harvard, IL. The Arlington Park stop is literally at the race track so very little walking required. If I recall correctly it's maybe 30-min on the train.

    AP is one of the most tidy, clean, relaxed, and modern courses you'll find anywhere. The sprawling interior is well air conditioned, has plenty of betting windows, an extensive food area, and then a couple of bars. Seating never is an issue that I've had - feel free to pony up a few more bucks for an upper grandstand seat. What I've never understood is the paddock area for saddling and riders up. Too little of an area, not terribly viewing friendly (compared to Spa or Keeneland), and frankly precious few fans are ever out there reviewing the horses like the other places. Last year at 'The Million' in the paddock it seemed more like being at the Aqueduct on a weekday

    For Illinois Day there should be as per any weekend or Friday at Arlington a very healthy crowd of people. That is mommy/stroller/family country out there and they take to the track like its the same as Six Flags.

    I *think* Illinois Day is considered a premium day so admission is $10 but for that (as you do for any admission fee) you get the complete booklet/program. Box seating is I believe (it varies) from $5 to $15 more.

    Equibase - Entries for Sat 4-25-11 Illinois Day

    Arlington Park website - Illinois Day

    As for the OTB in the south loop (223 W. Jackson, Chicago) and I haven't been there, but you might want to confirm its there. The old one on the corner of State and Lake is gone - that was truly the Loop. I thought I read somewhere about the Jackson one (right by the Willis Tower - nee Sears) was moving.

    There is another (out of your way) in the Lincoln Park neighborhood - Mud Bug - which depending on the day is fairly frat-boy-ish mixed in with blue collar types.


    • Original Poster

      AP was a total shock compared to Suffolk--that track wasn't that packed when Commentator came up to romp in the last Masscap! I did make it up there, and it was fun, despite my only managing one payout since the six in the third managed to keep his nose in for show.

      Though I DID win a basket of horse stuff in the silent auction to benefit OTTB retirement (now they just need to call me, as I had to take the 4:30 back, so I can pay.) And by "horse stuff" I mean shampoo, sups, and other things worth way more than the opening bid! (Collectible plate with picture of Ruffian: okay. Halter worn by Monarchos and six seats at Churchill? Nice, but outside my price range. Tub of stomach-soothing supplement in basket full of other such goodies for $25? Priceless.)

      The Chicago OTB's on W. Weed Street, which wouldn't have been bad if I had missed the train, but then I wouldn't have gotten all the great shots of horses in the paddock (including one of Corey Nakatani adjusting his stirrups--hey, move when I hit the shutter, get an odd picture to be posted on my blog), and my first up close and personal look at poly. It looks like chewed-up tires.

      The program has some great hotel deals up near the track--I might have to go back for the Arlington Million and stay closer so I'm not rushed. I had to leave before the Black Tie Affair today.
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