Arlington Million updates
|Arlington Park Barn Notes
Contact: Graham Ross
(847) 385-7500 ext. 7319
In today's notes:
H.H. Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid al Maktoum's White Heart was overlooked in the Grade I Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day this spring, and the British-bred gelding gamely held off a late challenge by the favored King Cugat to tally by a neck.
White Heart should not be so easily dismissed in the upcoming Grade I Arlington Million, centerpiece of the local season at Chicago's premier Thoroughbred oval that will be run Saturday for the 19th time.
The Arlington Million is the third leg of the Emirates World Series Racing Championship. White Heart's owner, as a member of the Royal Family of Dubai, is part of that unparalleled lineage of international sportsmen responsible for the exciting international Thoroughbred series now in its third year. A victory in Arlington Million XIX would be a proud moment for the entire nation, and a horse not worthy of the assignment would not be sent.
Overlooked as the fourth choice in the wagering in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic, White Heart returned a $14.60 win mutuel despite being trained by the astute Neil Drysdale, a horseman who was elected to the National Museum and Racing Hall of Fame at Saratoga last year.
"He's training better now than he ever has," said Drysdale over the phone from California Sunday when speaking of White Heart. "He had a very good work the other day at Del Mar (seven furlongs on the grass in 1:26 4/5) and he's coming up to the Million very well."
White Heart has started once since the Woodford Reserve, finishing fourth beaten less than two lengths by fellow Million contestants Bienamado and Senure in the Grade I Charles Whittingham Handicap at Hollywood Park.
Bienamado, owned by Trudy McCaffery, John Toffan & Robert Sangster, was the length and a-half winner of the mile and a quarter Whittingham, while Juddmonte Farms, Inc.'s Senure was second, a nose and a head to the good of White Heart.
Although White Heart raced wide in that Hollywood Park outing, Drysdale dismissed the significance of the lost ground.
"He was compromised by a little foot problem for awhile," said Drysdale of the Whittingham outing, "but he's over that now and is training beautifully.
"We'll arrive Wednesday with the rest of the California horses," said Drysdale of White Heart's travel plans. "I may blow him out one more time on Monday, but I'm not sure about that yet. He really doesn't need much right now."
Stiftung Gestut Fahrhof's Silvano, winner of the Group I Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Sha Tin in Hong Kong this spring, arrived at Arlington Park Saturday afternoon in the latest stop of his world tour for an upcoming engagement in the Grade I Arlington Million on Saturday.
The Million, showcase event of the Chicago Thoroughbred racing season, will be one of three Grade I races contested on that day as part of the International Festival of Racing at Chicago's premier oval. Also on the program will be the 12th running of the $700,000 Beverly D. and the 25th running of the $400,000 Secretariat.
Silvano arrived at Arlington's Quarantine Barn at 3:30 p.m. Central time accompanied by racing manager Simon Stokes and groom/exercise rider Bianca Sieling.
"We drove down from Bremen to Frankfurt last night and stayed overnight at the track there because it's only a half hour from the airport," said Stokes Saturday. "We left Frankfurt this morning and flew straight to Chicago. It was an eight and a half-hour flight.
"He was very good on the flight, but he's flown a lot," said Stokes. "He's been to Singapore, Hong Kong and is used to traveling all over. We're hoping to go to the track by Monday for a light canter, and have a fast work Wednesday."
Later Saturday evening, at 8:15 p.m., Juddmonte Farms, Inc.'s Mizzen Mast, a candidate for the Grade I Secretariat arrived at Arlington Park after a flight from Paris, France to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. That flight took about nine hours.
Mizzen Mast's groom, Jean-Pierre Mallet, who speaks limited English, was able to convey that Mizzen Mast had a smooth trip and was none the worse for wear following the journey. The smallish, dappled gray sophomore seemed to confirm that by prancing alertly on his toes as he walked the shedrow inside the Arlington Quarantine Barn.
Also accompanying Mizzen Mast, who finished second in the Group I Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamp June 26 and is trained by noted French horsewoman Criquette Head-Maarek, was groom Wille Eon.
Luis A. Taunay's Redattore, who was the winner of the Grade I Eddie Read Handicap at Del Mar July 28, will arrive at Arlington Park around Noon Wednesday to contest the Grade I Arlington Million this coming Saturday.
"We're back on schedule," said Gary Mandella, assistant to his Hall of Fame trainer-father Richard Mandella. Several days ago, Mandella had expressed some doubt about Redattore making the trip to Chicago for the centerpiece event of the Arlington season.
"We just wanted to make sure," Mandella said Sunday, speaking over the phone from Del Mar. "We wanted to see how he was doing after a couple of days (following his latest work). Everything is good. He's doing fine.
"His groom, Tony Rose, will accompany Redattore on the flight," Mandella said. "My father and I will be coming later."
Patricia Miessler & Cliff Raber's Fan Club's Mister, winner of the Grade II American Derby at Arlington Park July 22, worked five-eighths of a mile in 1:01 2/5 Sunday morning under regular rider Randy Meier at Arlington. Fan Club's Mister's move was in preparation for his upcoming engagement in Saturday's Grade I Secretariat on Arlington Million Day.
"He worked super," Meier said. "I think they caught him galloping out in ':13' for three-quarters. I didn't really ask him for much. I was just sitting on him. I worked him a little past the wire and then stood up while galloping out. He did it all by himself. He's coming into the race as good as we can want him to. Now we just have to get lucky.
"I flew in late last night so I could be here to work him," said Meier, who was returning from an unsuccessful trip to Ellis Park for a mount in Saturday's Grade III Gardenia Handicap at that Western Kentucky oval. "I barely caught my flight from Ellis to Memphis so I could make it back here. I got back about Midnight."
Also on the work tab Sunday among prospective Secretariat starters was K. K. & Vilasini Jayaraman's Royal Spy, who went a half-mile in :53.
Royal Spy, third in the Grade II American Derby here, won Lone Star's Grand Prairie Turf Challenge and Diamond A USA Stakes earlier in the summer at the Texas oval.
Jockey Lonnie Meche recorded a riding double at Arlington Park on Saturday, winning the opener on the program astride Four Times a Lady, trained by Dee Poulos and owned by Four Leaf Farm. Meche returned to the winner's circle in the seventh aboard WinStar Farm's Victory At Sea, trained by Elliott Walden.
Theresa J. McArthur's Western Pride, runner-up in the Grade III Round Table Stakes here July 28 on Million Preview Day, used that outing as a springboard to a score in the $500,000 West Virginia Derby Saturday night at Mountaineer Park.
Kudos to Peter Lincoln, Mario Ortiz, Joe Kelly, Katy Trnka, Maggie Menozzi, and Enrique Padilla for winning the "Aspire Star" Awards for July at Arlington.
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