|Arlington Park - Road To The Million
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ARLINGTON MILLION NOMINEES RUN ONE-TWO IN GII SUNSET 'CAP; BEVERLY D. NOMINEES SWEEP FIRST FOUR SPOTS IN GII NEW YORK 'CAP
Fog City Stable's Blueprint and Mr. & Mrs. Jerome S. Moss's Kudos, both nominated to the Grade I Arlington Million here August 18, engaged in a hard fought stretch duel in the last furlong of the Grade II Sunset Handicap at Hollywood Park July 15 before finishing first and second respectively.
Irish-bred Blueprint, the 12-10 favorite in the mile and a half outing over the lawn, was allowed to settle just behind the early leaders, challenged for command at the eighth pole and wore down Kudos in the late stages.
The latter, as the second choice in the $200,000 event, alternated for the early lead, could not withstand the winner in the last eighth, but saved the place by a neck.
Earlier in the year, Blueprint had captured the Grade II San Luis Rey Handicap at Santa Anita before finishing third behind Arlington Million candidate Bienamado in the Grade I San Juan Capistrano Handicap at that Arcadia oval.
Kudos had won four in a row before his narrow defeat in the Sunset. In his previous trip to the post, the 4-year-old Kris S. colt had captured the Jim Murray Memorial Handicap May 12 at Hollywood.
Meanwhile, one day earlier on the East Coast, two fillies and two mares, all nominated to the Grade I Beverly D., were the first four finishers under the wire in the Grade II New York Handicap on the Belmont Park grass course.
The Beverly D., sister race to the Arlington Million, will also be contested August 18 as part of the one-day International Festival of Racing at Chicago's premier thoroughbred oval.
After bobbling at the start, Edouard De Rothschild's England's Legend recovered to prompt the pace in the New York 'Cap, a mile and a quarter turf test, challenged in mid-stretch and drew clear late for a length and a half tally.
Favored Gaviola, owned by Twilite Farms, made the pace, could not stay with the winner when challenged but held the second spot by three-quarters of a length over the South African-bred Spook Express, owned by Janice Aron and Robert Aron.
Finishing fourth in the New York 'Cap, a length further back, was the British-bred Melody Queen, owned by Nigel Shields.
England's Legend, who was, incidentally, bred in France, had won her first race in this country in allowance company March 14. The 4-year-old had not started since.
England's Legend had won her first two starts in France for trainer Andre Fabre, but was given a vacation after a finishing seventh in the Group II Prix d'Astarte and then sent to the United States for her 4-year-old campaign.
Gaviola won the Grade III Beaugay Handicap May 6 at Aqueduct, but was seventh in Monmouth's Grade III Vinery Matchmaker June 16.
Spook Express won a pair of Grade III handicaps, the Honey Fox and the Suwannee River at Gulfstream Park this winter, but was then third in the Grade II Black Helen Handicap at Hialeah Park.
Melody Queen was second in the Matchmaker, beaten two and a-half-lengths.
The day after the New York Handicap, Belmont Park ran the Grade III Lexington Stakes for 3-year-olds at a mile and a quarter on the green. Both the winner and the runner-up in that 10-furlong event are nominated to the Grade I Secretariat here August 18 as part of the International Festival of Racing.
The three Grade I events offered at Arlington on that day are the only three Grade I events contested in Illinois.
In the Lexington, William Bloom, John T. Behrendt & Charles K. Marquis' Sharp Performance came from just behind the early leaders to win by a length, finally collaring Elizabeth H. Alexander's Package Store, who held the second spot four and a quarter lengths to the good of the third-place finisher.
Late nominations to the Arlington Million and the Beverly D. closed July 11, with seven added to the centerpiece event of the Arlington Park season and 12 distaffers added to the co-featured Beverly D., run for an increased purse of $700,000 this year.
Among those added to the Million nominations were Morton Fink's Guided Tour, who may be the starting highweight in the Grade II Washington Park Handicap July 21 here. Another additional nomination was Juddmonte Farms' Senure, who crossed under the wire second but was placed first in the Grade I United Nations Handicap at Monmouth Park July 1. The Juddmonte silks were aboard the winning Chester House in the Arlington Million last year.
Highlighting the additions to the Beverly D. nominations list was Helen K. Groves' Batique, who was the victress in the Matchmaker over Gaviola and Melody Queen.
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