SARATOGA SPRINGS -- I'd crane my neck to catch a glimpse of Arlington Park, spaceship hulk of a grandstand looming just off Route 53, as a kid growing up in Chicago's Northwest Suburbs. We never went to Arlington, just passed it en route to one destination or the other. You couldn't see the actual racetrack from the road, but if you were lucky and it was early in the morning, horses could be spotted circling the old training track down by the barns. I used to beg my dad to slow down, used to hate the 50-miles-per-hour flow of traffic that swept us along much too fast. When I got my driver's license, one of my first ventures was to the track. I didn't have a job covering races, didn't go out with an agenda or a list of potential interviewees. I sat on the apron in the mornings, just took it all in; the jingle of bits, the cadence of hoofbeats, the movement, the fine, sometimes nearly imperceptible communications between horse and rider. I didn't talk to anyone, but sometimes I'd take a notepad and write down things I noticed -- the way a good worker seems to skim the surface of the oval, the way a trainer's eyes track his charges down the course. I'll always consider Arlington part of my formative years, but as fond as I am of the Midwest oval, I've never attended its' signature race. Arlington Million Day finds me mid-season at Saratoga, caught up in the day-to-day coverage of a meeting in a town that has been part of my life for the past six years. It's probably a good thing. I enjoy racing at Arlington before the Saratoga season gets underway, catch a race or two at the end of the meeting if I'm back in Chicagoland again, and for me, the laid-back, easygoing stroll from paddock to press box, from press box to winner's circle, is part of the charm. But the Million is like Arlington's Kentucky Derby, the one day Illinois racing comes alive. So while I'm covering our own turf event in the Sword Dancer Invitational here, I'll keep an eye on the runners at home -- and so will the rest of the nation. Here's a rundown of the action that will take place this Saturday. For more information, you can visit the race's official site.