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Contact: Graham Ross
MID-AMERICA TRIPLE AT ARLINGTON PARK ATTRACTS 174 NOMINATIONS; MASTER DAVID, ROCK HARD TEN, KITTEN'S JOY TOP AMERICAN RUNNERS
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (June 11, 2004) -- Kitten's Joy and Prince Arch, leading members of the 3-year-old crop already proven in stakes competition over grass courses in the United States, share top billing with Triple Crown veterans Master David and Rock Hard Ten to highlight a group of 174 foals of 2001 nominated to this season's Mid-America Triple at Arlington Park.
Highly regarded European-based sophomores such as Irish-breds Relaxed Gesture and Grey Swallow, as well as the British-bred Think Tank, are also prominent on 2004's Mid-America Triple nominations list.
The Mid-America Triple -- a series of three grass races for sophomores of world-class caliber -- will all be contested at Chicago's premier Thoroughbred oval throughout the summer season. It begins with the Grade II Arlington Classic, presented by Woodford Reserve, at a mile and an eighth on July 3 and continues with the Grade II American Derby, presented by Jack Daniel's, at a mile and three-sixteenths July 24.
The final leg of the Mid-America Triple, the Grade I Secretariat at a mile and a quarter on Aug. 14, is part of Arlington's International Festival of Racing, and is contested along with the Grade I Arlington Million and the Grade I Beverly D. on that same afternoon. Those three classics are the only three Grade I races offered in Illinois on an annual basis.
Kenneth L. & Sarah K. Ramsey's Kitten's Joy, taken off the Triple Crown trail early last winter because of his proven ability on turf, remains undefeated on that surface. In his last trip to the post April 30 he captured the Grade III Crown Royal American Turf at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Oaks Day. Before that he won Gulfstream's Grade III Palm Beach Stakes Feb. 21 and Calder's Grade III Tropical Park Derby on New Year's Day.
Raymond H. Cottrell Sr.'s Prince Arch, second to Kitten's Joy but best of the others in those last two races in Kentucky and Florida, appears to be his closest competitor over the lawn at the present time.
Master David, the Wood Memorial runner-up owned by Georgica Stable, Stephen Mack and Star Crown Stable, broke his maiden on the turf in England as 2-year-old. Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel has scheduled the colt for a return to grass competition following disappointing outings in both the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes.
Mercedes Stables LLC & Madeleine A. Paulson's Rock Hard Ten, runner-up in the Preakness and fifth in the Belmont, has never raced on turf but is by the noted grass sire Kris S.
Among the most proven of the European-based Mid-America Triple nominees is Mrs. Rochelle Quinn's Grey Swallow, trained by Dermot Weld, Ireland's all-time leading conditioner. Weld has saddled two American Derby winners - Pine Dance in 2000 and Evolving Tactics last summer. Grey Swallow, a colt by Daylami, was victorious in the first three starts of his career, all on grass, and was most recently third in the Group I Boylesports Irish 2000 Guineas run at The Curragh on The Emerald Isle May 22.
Another Irish-bred trained by Weld who is somewhat familiar to American racing fans is Moyglare Stud Farm's Relaxed Gesture, who was briefly considered for a start in this year's Belmont Stakes. The ubiquitous Irishman won the 1990 Belmont with Go And Go. After coming to America to finish eighth in the Grade I Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita last fall, Relaxed Gesture returned to Ireland to finish second in the Group II Derristown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown in his first start this year on May 9.
Sidney L. Port Trust's Think Tank, newly-owned by that native Chicagoan and now trained by Laura de Seroux, is unstarted as a 3-year-old but won two straight in Great Britain before finishing third in the NSPC Shergar Cup Juvenile at Ascot in his last start in August of last year.
French-bred Terroplane, owned by David Bienstock, Neil Papiano & Charles Winner, is another Mid-America Triple nominee, was sent to Hall of Fame trainer Neil Drysdale late last year, and won his last start at Hollywood Park May 5.
Ralls & Foster LLC's Up Anchor, winner of Arlington's Awad Handicap June 5, is another Mid-America Triple nominee.
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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