A former Chicago-area swimming champ will take charge of Illinois' pool of thoroughbred horses this summer at Arlington Park.
Chris Polzin, a former standout swimmer at Lyons Township High School and junior college national champion in the 100-yard backstroke for the College of DuPage, has been named director of racing and racing secretary at Arlington Park.
Polzin, a longtime racing official on the Chicago circuit, has been the assistant racing secretary at Arlington Park since 2005. He has held the same title at Hawthorne since 1998.
Arlington president Roy Arnold said he interviewed high-quality candidates from all over the country.
"After conducting a nationwide search, I am proud to announce that the right person for the job was already here in Chicago and that we were able to promote Chris," he said. "Chris' many years of experience as assistant racing secretary and stakes coordinator gives him the relationships necessary with horsemen locally, nationally and internationally to move Arlington's stakes program and overnight racing forward in 2010."
Polzin, who was sixth in 1972 IHSA state finals of the 100-yard backstroke, got his start in racing by working in the Arlington Park press box as a statistician in 1981.
He then gradually climbed the ranks in the sport.
The son of Chicago native and former turf writer and handicapper Elmer Polzin, Chris' first job as a racing official came in 1982 at Sportsman's Park.
He joined the Arlington Park racing office in 1985 as clerk of scales and was the track's stakes coordinator from 1991-2002.
When Polzin began his first job at Arlington in 1981, he never dreamed he would one day be the track's racing secretary.
"I had no idea," said the 55-year-old Polzin, who has also served as assistant racing secretary at Sportsman's Park. "I've spent practically my entire life at Arlington Park and I am excited to have this opportunity."
Polzin is looking forward to continuing to work with the Illinois horsemen as well as horsemen from all over the world who send their horses to compete in stakes races. He also looks forward to seeing Illinois racing make forward strides.
"I welcome the challenge to make Arlington's racing program even stronger than it already is," said Polzin, who will assume his duties at Arlington later this month. Among his first tasks will be to finalize the track's 2010 stakes program.