Abandoned racecourse labelled 'world's most beautiful' sees final grandstand torn down in 'soul-crushing' photo | The Sun
THE final grandstand of a racecourse once labelled the 'most beautiful in the world' has come crashing down – as punters mourned the 'soul-crushing' loss of one of their favourite tracks.
Arlington Park hosted top class action for almost 100 years and could welcomed up to 50,000 punters every raceday.
With polytrack and turf, the Flat racing venue hosted a load of Group 1s including the Arlington Million Stakes which was won by Aidan O'Brien's Cape Blanco in 2011.
O'Brien and Ryan Moore teamed up to win the track's Group 1 Beverly D Stakes in 2021 with Santa Barbara too.
While Moore and Sir Michael Stoute won in 2013 with Dank and Hayley Turner and David Simcock had a brilliant victory there the year before on I'm A Dreamer.
Frankie Dettori got in on the act too, scooping the honours with Godolphin's Crimson Palace in 2004.
O'Brien and fellow Irish trainer Dermot Weld also claimed the track's Secretariat Stakes on a few occasions.
The most recent was in 2015 when Seamie Heffernan rode Highland Reel to victory, a year after Moore landed the same race with Adelaide, both trained by O'Brien.
Master handler Weld got in on the act with Winchester in 2008.
A happy hunting ground for jockeys and trainers on this side of the Atlantic, Arlington Park in Chicago, Illinois, is being demolished for a new NFL stadium.
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Owned by Churchill Downs Inc – site of the Kentucky Derby – they announced plans in Febraury 2021 to sell 326 acres of the land for redevelopment.
The Chicago Bears confirmed later that year they had reached an agreement to purchase the plot and the £160million sale was finalised in February of this year.
Since then work tearing down the iconic old stands has taken place and one photo posted on X recently showed the final grandstand a hollow shell of what it used to be.
Punters who loved the track – declared the 'most beautiful in the world' by Architectural Digest – were left devastated at seeing this once-great venue reduced to rubble.
One said: "Soul-crushing. I can't handle any more of these pictures."
Another wrote: "Anger. Rage. Frustration. Dejection. Despondence. A palace no more."
One comment read: "So sad to behold as it was a beautiful track."
While another posted: "May the ghosts forever haunt whatever comes next there."
A great number of racecourses have been lost over the years, although many still bear resemblance to their former glory days.
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Folkestone in Kent still has the parade ring and grandstand in place after it was sold to the council for £25million.
It is believed the first phase of a 30-year development is now under way and the first home will be up for sale on September 1, 2025.
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