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BIENAMADO TOPS FIELD OF 12 INTERNATIONAL CONTESTANTS SLATED FOR GRADE I ARLINGTON MILLION AUGUST 18 AT ARLINGTON PARK
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (August 15, 2001) -- Hard-knocking Bienamado, the well-muscled chestnut who boasts a brilliant California campaign since disappointing as the choice of the fans in last year's Arlington Million, now gets a chance to make amends in Arlington Million XIX, the showcase event of the Chicago Thoroughbred racing season to be run August 18.
Significantly, it was 20 years ago this summer that another hard-hitting heavyweight named John Henry added to his legend by getting up in the last jump to defeat longshot The Bart by a nose and capture the inaugural running of the Arlington Million. That race was the first event in Thoroughbred racing in history to offer a seven-figure prize and immediately became a cornerstone of Arlington history with its "against all odds" climactic photo finish.
Saturday's Grade I Arlington Million, now the centerpiece of Arlington Park's one-day International Festival of Racing, also includes the Grade I Beverly D. for the best fillies and mares from all over the world and the Grade I Secretariat, restricted to 3-year-olds of international caliber. All three Grade I races, the only such events offered in Illinois, are contested over Arlington's world famous grass course.
The Arlington Million, run at a mile and a quarter over the local lawn, also now serves as the third leg of the exciting Emirates World Series Racing Championship, an international Thoroughbred series now enjoying its third season. Emirates World Series 2001 consists of 12 races contested in 10 countries on four continents.
However, for its upcoming renewal, it is important to remember that Bienamado, projected choice in the wagering once again, is now a 5-year-old. As a heavyweight contender still seeking his first Chicago score, he comes into this year's Arlington Million well freshened after a dominant performance in the Grade I Charles Whittingham Handicap June 10 at Hollywood Park.
Owned by Trudy McCaffery, John Toffan and Robert Sangster, the Kentucky-bred Bienamado, who raced in Europe in his younger days, will face a quartet of new European invaders as well as a hearty group of North American challengers.
In last year's Million, Bienamado was off slowly and forced wide throughout to lose significant ground, but continued willingly to finish a good fourth, beaten less than five lengths at the wire.
Bienamado was also coming off a grueling victory in a mile and a half race less than four weeks earlier last year, and trainer Paco Gonzalez has elected to give him a more extended rest to prepare for Chicago's upcoming test against the best horses in the world.
Bienamado's regular rider Chris McCarron, who did not ride Bienamado in the Million last year, returns in the irons once again.
Allen E. Paulson Living Trust's Hap should be the one to beat in Arlington Million XIX. Trained by Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, who saddled Paradise Creek to win the Million in 1994, Hap is coming off a length and three-quarters score in the Grade II Bernard Baruch Handicap at Saratoga July 27.
In his previous trip to the post June 23 at Rockingham Park in the Grade III New Hampshire Sweepstakes, Hap was a seven-length victor. After being settled behind the early leaders, the entire son of Theatrical forged to the front in upper stretch to draw off while less than fully extended in that New England outing.
Hall of Fame rider Jerry Bailey, who won the Arlington Million last year aboard Chester House for Juddmonte Farms, Inc., is named to handle the reins on Hap.
Stiftung Gestut Fahrhof's Silvano looms perhaps the strongest threat among four European invaders in the 2001 Arlington Million. The German-bred globetrotter was most recently fifth but beaten only three lengths in the Group I Singapore Airlines International Cup at Kranji Racecourse May 12.
Previously, the 5-year-old by Lomitas had won the Group I Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Sha Tin in Hong Kong by a length and three-quarters April 22.
Before that, on March 24, the world traveler had finished third in the Grade II Dubai Sheema Classic when asked to go a mile and a half on Dubai World Cup Day at Nad Al Sheba. Silvano had won the Singapore Cup by five and a-half-lengths when back at Kranji Racecourse earlier that month.
German jockey Andreas Suborics who has ridden Silvano in all of those worldwide tests, will be in the irons once again Saturday at Arlington.
Juddmonte Farms, Inc.'s Senure, most recently the adjudged winner of the Grade I United Nations Handicap at Monmouth Park July 1 after crossing under the wire second by a head, is sure to draw support from the fans in Saturday's Million. The familiar green silks with the pink sash and white sleeves of Juddmonte Farms were worn aboard Chester House in last year's Arlington Million winner's circle ceremonies.
Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel, who saddled the winning Chester House in the 2000 Arlington Million, is also the conditioner of Senure, who was second, beaten a length and a half behind Million favorite Bienamado in the Grade I Charles Whittingham Handicap June 10 at Hollywood Park.
Jockey Robbie Davis, who was aboard Senure in that last New Jersey shore outing that eventually led to the winner's circle, will return in the irons for the Arlington Million. Davis rode James Lewis Jr.'s Mecke to win the 1996 Arlington Million.
Luiz A. Taunay's Redattore is shooting for his second win in a row Saturday, after having captured the Grade I Eddie Read Handicap by two lengths at Del Mar July 28. Earlier in the year, Redattore accounted for the Grade II San Francisco Handicap at Bay Meadows in Northern California. Alex Solis is named in the irons astride Redattore.
Richard Mandella is the conditioner of Redattore. Mandella was inducted into the National Museum and Racing Hall of Fame at Saratoga earlier this month.
HH Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid al Maktoum's White Heart is worthy of strong consideration in Saturday's Arlington Million. Trained by Neil Drysdale, elected to the National Museum and Racing Hall of Fame at Saratoga last summer, the British-bred White Heart was fourth in the Grade I Charles Whittingham at Hollywood June 10, but raced wide that day.
In his start before that, White Heart won the Grade I Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs by a neck on Kentucky Derby Day, May 5. Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens, who was aboard White Heart for that win at the Twin Spires oval last spring, regains the mount for the Million. Should White Heart win, Stevens would become the first jockey in history to win the Arlington Million three times.
Shadwell Stud's Muakaad, one of the European invaders, comes into the Million off a length and a half win in the Group III Meld Stakes at The Curragh in Ireland July 28. Trained by Ireland's all-time leading conditioner Dermot Weld, Muakaad will be ridden by regular European rider Patrick Smullen.
A pair of 6-year-old Irish-bred rivals, Bruce Barton & Alvin D. Haynes' Make No Mistake and John J. Greely III, Tom Nichols & Columbine Stable's Takarian, meet for their personal rubber match in Saturday's Arlington Million. They finished first and second respectively three weeks ago in the Grade III Arlington Handicap, final local prep for the Million, but that order had been reversed in July of 1998 during the Meld Stakes when Takarian was the winner.
Make No Mistake will be ridden by Robby Albarado, while Corey Nakatani is named to handle the reins on Takarian.
Others named to Arlington Million XIX include Erik Penser's Compton Bolter, who was fifth in the Grade I Secretariat last year and has Michael Fenton slated for the tack.
Also entered in the Million is Sam-Son Farm's Quiet Resolve, second by a head in last fall's Grade I Breeders' Cup Turf as a longshot and most recently third in Woodbine's Grade II Hong Kong Jockey Club July 22, with Todd Kabel in the irons.
Completing the Arlington Million field is Gary A. Tanaka's Caitano, most recently fifth in the Group I Deutschland Preis at Dusseldorf July 22 in Germany. Kent Desormeaux is named.
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