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Arlington Million

Grade 1 race
Arlington Million
Location Arlington Park
Arlington Heights, Illinois
Inaugurated 1981
Race type Thoroughbred
Website Arlington Park web site
Race information
Distance 1 ¼ miles
Track Turf, Left-handed
Qualification 3-y-o & Up, Thoroughbreds
Weight Weight for age
Purse $1,000,000

The Arlington Million is a prestigious Grade 1 flathorse race in the United States for thoroughbred horses aged three years and upward. It is raced over a distance of 1¼ miles (approximately 2,000 metres) on the turf at Arlington Park, Arlington Heights, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago) in August each year.

The Arlington Million, as its name implies was the first thoroughbred race to offer a purse of $1,000,000 in August 1981. It is part of the Breeders' Cup Challenge series, the winner of the 2008 Arlington Million automatically qualifies for the Breeders' Cup Turf. [1] The "Million" is considered by many in American racing circle to be the most prestigious turf race in the country behind only the Breeders' Cup.

The Arlington Million was introduced in 1981 by Joe Joyce, the President of Arlington at the time. The winner not only receive 60% of the million dollar purse but also one of the most elegant trophies in all of sports, the Arlington Million Trophy. The race was graded after only its second running and was instantly awarded a grade one status in 1983 based upon the talent of the runners that raced in its first two years.

The horse John Henry succeeded in winning the race twice. On August 30, 1981, Willie Shoemaker became the first jockey to win a $1 million race when John Henry took the inaugural Arlington Million by a nose over The Bart. The track famously ran the Arlington Million in 1985 under the shadow of a burnt out grandstand, the victim of a fire 25 days earlier. In 2007, Jambalaya became the first Canadian bred horse to win the Arlington Million and his trainer, Catherine Day Phillips the first female trainer to ever win the race.

The race has been run under several different named in the past. In 1981 it was called the Arlington Million Invitational Stakes. From 1982 through 1984 the race was known as the Budweiser Million Stakes and in turn the Budweiser-Arlington Million from 1985 through 1987. In 1989 the race was held at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, Ontario. The race was not held in 1998 and 1999.


Time record:

  • 1:58.69 - Awad (1995)

Most wins:

Most wins by an owner:

Most wins by a jockey:

Most wins by a trainer:

Largest Margin of Victory:

  • Estrapade (1986), Five Lengths

Past winners







1981 John Henry 6 Willie Shoemaker Ron McAnally Dotsam Stable 2:07.6
1982 Perrault 5 Laffit Pincay, Jr. Charlie Whittingham Serge Fradkoff & Baron Thierry van Zuylen 1:58.8
1983 Tolomeo 3 Pat Eddery Luca Cumani Carlo d'Alessio 2:04.4
1984 John Henry 9 Chris McCarron Ron McAnally Dotsam Stable 2:01.4
1985 Teleprompter 5 Tony Ives Bill Watts 18th Earl of Derby 2:03.4
1986 Estrapade 6 Fernando Toro Charlie Whittingham Allen E. Paulson 2:00.8
1987 Manila 4 Angel Cordero Jr. LeRoy Jolley Bradley M. Shannon 2:02.4
1988 Mill Native 4 Cash Asmussen André Fabre C. N. Ray 2:00.0
1989 Steinlen 6 José Santos D. Wayne Lukas Wildenstein Stable 2:03.6
1990 Golden Pheasant 4 Gary Stevens Charlie Whittingham Summa Stable & Wayne Gretzky 1:59.6
1991 Tight Spot 4 Laffit Pincay, Jr. Ron McAnally Anderson, Winchell & Carradini 1:59.55
1992 Dear Doctor 5 Cash Asmussen John Hammond Henri Chalhoub 1:59.84
1993 Star of Cozzene 5 José Santos Mark Hennig Team Valor Stable 2:07.50
1994 Paradise Creek 5 Pat Day William I. Mott Masayuki Nishiyama 1:59.78
1995 Awad 5 Eddie Maple David G. Donk Ryehill Farm 1:58.69
1996 Mecke 4 Robbie Davis Emanuel Tortora James Lewis Jr. 2:00.49
1997 Marlin 4 Gary Stevens D. Wayne Lukas Michael Tabor 2:02.54
1998 no race 1998-99
2000 Chester House 5 Jerry Bailey Robert J. Frankel Juddmonte Farms 2:01.37
2001 Silvano 5 Andreas Suborics Andreas Wöhler Stiftung Gestüt Fährhof 2:02.64
2002 Beat Hollow 5 Jerry Bailey Robert J. Frankel Juddmonte Farms 2:02.94
2003 Sulamani * 4 David R. Flores Saeed bin Suroor Godolphin 2:02.29
2004 Kicken Kris ** 4 Kent Desormeaux Michael R. Matz Brushwood Stable 2:00.08
2005 Powerscourt 5 Kieren Fallon Aidan O'Brien Sue Magnier 2:03.38
2006 The Tin Man 8 Victor Espinoza Richard Mandella Ralph and Aury Todd 2:01.35
2007 Jambalaya 5 Robby Albarado Catherine Day Phillips Todd & Catherine Day Phillips 2:04.76
2008 Spirit One 4 Ioritz Mendizabal Philip Demercastel Kamel Chehboub 2:02.17
2009 Gio Ponti 4 Ramon Dominguez Christophe Clement Castleton Lyons 2:04.19

* Storming Home finished first in 2003 but was demoted to fourth place following a Stewards' Inquiry.
** Powerscourt finished first in 2004 but was demoted to fourth place following a Stewards' Inquiry.


  • No races were held at Arlington International Racecourse in 1998 or 1999, as the Illinois horse racing authorities did not authorise dates for the track.
  • Starting in 1991, timing was arranged to hundredths.
  • In 2004, Pat Gibson won a million pounds on the UK version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire? by correctly answering the Million was not a Triple Crown race in the United States (which were the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes).
  • Starting in 2007, the winner of this race will qualify for the Breeders Cup World Thoroughbred Championships in the Turf Division.


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