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|Arlington Park Stakes Advance: Arlington Million (G1)
Contact: David Zenner
SWEET RETURN GIVEN TOP NOD IN SATURDAY'S ARLINGTON MILLION XXII; POWERSCOURT TABBED BEST OF 5 EUROPEAN INVADERS IN 13-HORSE FIELD
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (August 11, 2004) -- British-born but American-based Sweet Return, third despite a troubled trip in the Grade I Eddie Read Handicap at Del Mar July 25, has been tabbed the tepid 7-2 morning line choice among 13 horses, including five European invaders, slated for Saturday's 22nd running of the Grade I Arlington Million.
The Arlington Million, centerpiece event of the Chicago Thoroughbred racing season, has attracted some of the best grass horses all over the globe since its inception in 1981 as a 10-furlong event on Arlington's lawn, and this should be one of its most competitive renewals.
Sweet Return, owned by Red Oak Stable and trained by Hall of Fame conditioner Ron McAnally, will also have another member of the Hall of Famer -- jockey Jerry Bailey -- slated to handle the reins Saturday.
In the Eddie Read, traditionally a significant barometer of top Arlington Million candidates, Sweet Return was launching a bid at the three-sixteenths pole when boxed in between rivals. Before that, the 4-year-old colt was fifth beaten less than three in the Grade I Shoemaker Breeders' Cup Mile at Hollywood Park May 31, but won three straight graded stakes during the winter in Southern California.
Powerscourt, favored among the European invaders in the morning line, was the runner-up in Germany's Group I Bayerisches Zuchtrennen in his last start when beaten a length and a half in that Aug. 1 test. His 11 previous starts were all in England or Ireland and included a six-length win in the Group I Tattersalls Gold Cup at The Curragh on The Emerald Isle May 23 as well as a second-place finish in the Group I Prince of Wales's Stakes June 16 during Great Britain's Royal Ascot meeting.
Owned by Mrs. John Magnier and trained by the renowned Irish conditioner Aidan O'Brien, Powerscourt will be ridden by Jamie Spencer, aboard for all four of his starts this year. The son of Sadler's Wells is 4-1 in the Arlington Million morning line.
Third choice at 6-1 in the Arlington Million morning line is Monty Roberts' Sabiango, a German-bred who is presently based in North America under the tutelage of Bob Baffert. The three-quarter brother to 2001 Arlington Million winner Silvano has made one start in the United States -- his only trip to the post this year -- winning Hollywood Park's Grade I Charles Whittingham Handicap on June 12.
Next at 8-1 among the North American-based campaigners in Saturday's Arlington Million are Skeedattle II's Mr O'Brien, who was bred in Ireland, and Brushwood Stable's Kicken Kris, who is a Kentucky-bred.
Mr O'Brien, trained by Maryland-based conditioner Robin Graham, will be ridden by Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day and comes into the Million off a runner-up finish in Monmouth Park's Grade I United Nations Stakes July 3, where he was beaten a half-length for all of it. Before that he was third in Belmont's Grade I Manhattan Handicap on Belmont Stakes Day June 5 but won Pimlico's Grade II Argent Dixie Stakes on Preakness Day May 15.
Kicken Kris, conditioned by Michael Matz, won the Grade I Secretariat as a sophomore last year on Arlington Million Day and will be attempting to become the third horse to win both halves of that rare double when he runs in Saturday's Million. The son of Kris S. is coming off a winning effort in Belmont Park's Grade II Bowling Green Handicap July 17 and will be ridden Saturday by Kent Desormeaux, inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame at Saratoga in ceremonies earlier this week.
Also at 8-1 in the Arlington Million morning line is Gary A. Tanaka's European invader Epalo, most recently second by a nose in Germany's listed Kolner-Sommer-Preis at Cologne on Aug. 1. Earlier this year, the German-bred Epalo won the Group I Singapore Airlines International Cup in Singapore as the second leg of the 2004 World Series Racing Championship. The Arlington Million is the fourth leg of that Series. The Andreas Schutz trainee will be ridden by Andrasch Starke Saturday.
Others among North American-based Arlington Million starters are Bloodstock Management Services Inc. & Cheveley Park Stud Ltd.'s Vangelis, Jose Valdivia Jr. aboard; Robert B. & Beverly J. Lewis's Senor Swinger, Brice Blanc in the irons; Team Block's Mystery Giver, Rene Douglas up; Gustav Schickendanz's Mobil, Jono Jones astride; and Belmont Stable & Old Friends Inc.'s Hatif, Mike Smith in the irons.
Other European based Arlington Million starters are Godolphin Racing Inc.'s Vespone, Frankie Dettori slated for the saddle; and Michael B. Tabor's Magistretti, Edgar Prado listed for the tack.
Arlington Park -- the Chicago area's premier Thoroughbred racetrack located in Arlington Heights, Ill. -- is running a 96-day meet in 2004 from Friday, May 14 through Sunday, Sept. 19. Arlington Park, whose parent company is Churchill Downs Incorporated (Nasdaq: CHDN), also operates eight off-track, simulcast-wagering facilities: Trackside Arlington Park (Arlington Heights), Trackside Quad City Downs (East Moline), Trackside Chicago, Trackside McHenry, Trackside Rockford, Trackside South Beloit, Trackside Waukegan and Longshots featuring Trackside OTB in South Elgin. Information on Arlington Park can be found online at www.arlingtonpark.com.
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