My first visit to Arlington Park was like a photographer’s dream, incredibly aesthetically pleasing as soon as I approached the entrance with the track name spelled out in a floral arrangement, and continuing throughout my day at the races the day before the Belmont Stakes, timing that also had me place a win bet on Justify for souvenir purposes.
The interior was as beautifully maintained as the outdoor settings, and a good sized crowd was on hand even on a day with no stakes races. A live band and other activities on the lawn near the top of the stretch further added to the fun atmosphere. It’s been a goal of mine to “collect” new tracks whenever possible, and I had not known much about Arlington’s setting in advance–in fact I only primarily knew of it for its marquee day of racing in August, featuring the Arlington Million, so it was a pleasant surprise to find how much I enjoyed this track and to discover its appeal.
I also appreciated being able to pay for admission and even a track program in advance through their website, which I have not seen any other tracks offer. Even little things like that enhance a visitor’s experience, since I rarely carry cash and was also visiting from out of town, being able to pay in advance was helpful.
While I’m not a frequent visitor to the Chicago area, it’s not terribly far. My wonderful experience at Arlington, plus having had it in the back of my mind to attend Arlington Million day at some point, has me definitely looking to return sometime and take in more than one day of racing. I couldn’t have asked for a better first impression of a track, or a better experience.
Even the other patrons were gracious, holding doors open in a manner I haven’t often experienced at a track–more out of a sense of true kindness rather than social obligations (which can sometimes come across as done a bit begrudgingly), and several of the people on track ponies smiled and greeted me as they left the track after accompanying racehorses.