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|Arlington Park Road to the Million (6/30/04)
Contact: Graham Ross
BEVERLY D., MID-AMERICA TRIPLE UPDATE; MILLION PREPS THIS WEEKEND
After circling rivals approaching the stretch, Juddmonte Farms' Light Jig drove to a one-length tally in Sunday's Grade II Beverly Hills Handicap at Hollywood Park, placing herself among the leaders of 76 fillies and mares nominated to this summer's edition of the $750,000 Beverly D. at Arlington Park.
To be run Aug. 14 as one of three Grade I races comprising Arlington's one-day International Festival of Racing, the 15th running of the Beverly D. is for grass favoring members of the distaff set, and joins the Arlington Million and the $400,000 Secretariat to make up the showcase afternoon of Thoroughbred racing in Chicago.
"She won very nicely," said Juddmonte Farms president Dr. John Chandler, when congratulated on Light Jig's impressive score. "I'll have to sit down with Bobby (Hall of Fame trainer Frankel and Light Jig's conditioner) before we decide what our plans are for her, but my wife and I have both enjoyed racing at Arlington for many years. In fact, as far back as 1976 we brought a filly named Nicosia to Arlington and won both the Sheridan Stakes and the Matron with her."
As a member of the Juddmonte team, of course, Chandler has also enjoyed success at Arlington in more recent seasons, winning last summer's Beverly D. with Heat Haze, the 2002 Arlington Million with Beat Hollow, the 2002 Secretariat with Chiselling, and the 2000 Arlington Million with Chester House.
The Beverly Hills 'Cap has often been a harbinger of Beverly D. success in recent seasons, and finishing third in Sunday's 10-furlong run at Hollywood was Diamond A Racing Corporation's Noches de Rosa, winner of Hollywood's Grade I Gamely Breeders' Cup Handicap May 31. She is a Chilean-bred who is also nominated to the Beverly D.
Major preps for this summer's Arlington Million come this weekend in three different time zones. They include the Grade III Stars and Stripes Breeders' Cup Turf on Sunday at Arlington Park, the Grade I United Nations Handicap at Monmouth Park one day earlier, and Great Britain's Group I Coral-Eclipse at Sandown, also on Saturday.
Among the Stars and Stripes headliners is expected to be Liberty Road Stable, Port Trust and San Gabriel Investment's Ballingarry, the Irish-bred defending champion in the mile and a half event. Heading Monmouth's U. N. Handicap is Michael Jarvis, Gary Margolis and Ken Smole et al's Meteor Storm, the Grade I Manhattan Handicap winner who is using that race on the Jersey Shore as his final prep for the Arlington Million.
On Saturday at Arlington, the Grade II Arlington Classic, presented by Woodford Reserve, serves as the first leg of Chicago's Mid-America Triple, which concludes with the Grade I Secretariat on Arlington Million Day.
Among those considered likely for the Arlington Classic are Sidney L. Port Trust's Toasted, a Laura de Seroux trainee who shipped from the West Coast along with the de Seroux-conditioned Ballingarry. Also headed for the Classic is Victor Achar's Caiman, the Arlington-based Angel Medina trainee who ran in the Grade I Belmont Stakes June 5.
Concerning European updates on the Mid-America Triple front, no longer being considered for the Arlington Classic is the filly Mystical Girl, owned by T T Bloodstocks and trained by Mark Johnston.
However, Ireland's master conditioner Dermot Weld has advised Arlington officials that Moyglare Stud Farm Ltd.'s Simple Exchange is being prepared for an engagement in Arlington's Grade II American Derby, presented by Jack Daniel's, on July 24.
Another Irish-bred, Mrs. Rochelle Quinn's Grey Swallow and a Mid-America Triple (as well as Arlington Million) nominee, won Sunday's Group I Irish Derby.
H. H. Aga Khan's Azamour, another Mid-America Triple nominee, won the Group I St. James's Palace Stakes during the opening day of the Royal Ascot meeting.
Other European International Festival of Racing updates include a half-length tally by the Niarchos Family's Bago in the Group I Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris Sunday at Longchamp. Bago, France's top-rated 2-year-old last year, is undefeated in six career starts, and is an Arlington Million (but not a Mid-America Triple) nominee.
Several American-based Mid-America Triple nominees still possible for the Secretariat, as well as the American Derby, ran in last Saturday's Grade III Kent Breeders' Cup Stakes at Delaware Park.
C. K. Woods Stable's Timo captured that nine-furlong event, finishing a nose in front of Arthur I. Appleton's Icy Atlantic. Both are Mid-America Triple nominees.
Previously, Timo won Grade III Transylvania Stakes at Keeneland, while Icy Atlantic captured the Grade III Jersey Derby at Monmouth Park.
At Hollywood Park last Saturday, Peter G. Angelos's Greek Sun bested odds-on favorite Laura's Lucky Boy, owned by Mercedes Stables LLC, by two lengths in the Grade III Cinema Breeders' Cup Handicap. Both those are also Mid-America Triple nominees.
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