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ARLINGTON PARK

Arlington Park Road to the Million (7/28/04)

Contact: Graham Ross
graham.ross@arlingtonpark.com

'MILLION PREVIEW DAY' SHARES SPOTLIGHT WITH WORLDWIDE UPDATES

The starting fields for the 22nd running of the Arlington Million, the 15th running of the Beverly D. and the 27th renewal of the Secretariat -- now only two and a half weeks away on Aug. 14 at Arlington Park -- are rapidly becoming more defined as the result of weekend updates from four different time zones around the globe.

In Chicago last Saturday, Arlington hosted its fourth "Million Preview Day," allowing racing fans in The Windy City their local preview of Illinois' only three annual Grade I races: the Arlington Million, the $750,000 Beverly D., and the $400,000 Secretariat. Together those three races will make up Arlington's one-day International Festival of Racing on the upcoming second Saturday in August.

In Europe, the connections of seven runners are mulling transatlantic flights that would bring them to Chicago for Arlington Million XXII, while at least two European female contestants are likely for the Beverly D. with three European sophomores for the Secretariat.

Last Sunday afternoon in California, the second and third-place finishers in a traditional West Coast Arlington Million prep remain as original Million nominees this year, while last Saturday, the winner of a Grade I stepping stone to the Beverly D. is an original nomination to that "sister race" to the Million.

Also, last Sunday in Canada, the runner-up in a graded stakes at Woodbine had been tabbed as a late nomination to the Million just days before that excellent performance.

Beginning with last Saturday's Million Preview Day and the Grade III Arlington Handicap, the first two finishers are both under consideration for the Arlington Million. In Arlington's Grade III Modesty Handicap on the same day, the first three under the wire are likely to return in the Beverly D., while in last Saturday's Grade II American Derby, the top three could come back in the Secretariat.

Robert B. & Beverly J. Lewis's Senor Swinger and Team Block's Mystery Giver, the one-two finishers in the Arlington 'Cap, both come from stables that are looking at the Arlington Million.

"We'll give him about a week, let him chill out at Churchill and see how he's doing," said trainer Bob Baffert's traveling assistant Mick Jenner shortly after Senor Swinger's winning run Saturday. "Assuming he continues to do well, he could come back to Chicago in a couple of weeks to get ready for the next one."

"We're going to consider it," said trainer Chris Block of Arlington 'Cap runner-up Mystery Giver when asked about the Million. "Right now, we're not saying 'yes' and we're not saying 'no,' but we're certainly going to take a look at it."

Pin Oak Stable's LLC's Bedanken, Willmott Stables Inc.'s Aud and Andrena Van Doren's Shaconage, the first three finishers in the Modesty, would all appear probable for a return in the Beverly D.

"She came back good," said Bruce Bull, an assistant to trainer Donnie K. Von Hemel when speaking about Bedanken. "She's at the top of her game and should be ready for the big race now."

"We'll take a hard look at it (the Beverly D.)," said trainer Tony Reinstedler of Modesty runner-up Aud. "She ran a good race and she came back fine."

Shaconage, third in the Modesty, is also a likely Beverly D. starter.

"If nothing happens, she'll be back," said trainer Mitch Shirota. "So far, so good."

Moyglare Stud Farm Ltd.'s Simple Exchange, the Irish invader who captured Saturday's Grade II American Derby, presented by Jack Daniel's, appears right on course to return in the Grade I Secretariat Aug. 14 at Arlington Park.

"His shins are cool, he's eating good, and he's drinking good," said Jeff Byrne, trainer Dermot Weld's assistant on Sunday morning. "In fact, he looks better every day since he got here. The horse will stay here to get ready for the Secretariat, but the boss is already back home, and I'm returning to Ireland tonight. I should be back shortly before the Secretariat."

David E. Garner's Cool Conductor, runner-up in the American Derby, also appears likely for a return in the Secretariat.

"They tell me he's fine," said Ken McCarthy, trainer Bill Mott's assistant, speaking over the phone from Louisville, Kentucky. "He (Cool Conductor) stayed overnight and I didn't, but he's due back here in Kentucky today. I would guess we'll try (in the Secretariat) if he continues to do well."

Sidney L. Port's Toasted, third in the American Derby, may or may not return.

"I don't know," said trainer Laura de Seroux. "He ran well and he's fine. We'll see."

Meanwhile, the European invaders for all three stakes that make up Arlington's International Festival of Racing are coming into focus.

German-bred Epalo, owned by Gary Tanaka and the winner of the Group I Singapore Airlines International Cup May 16 as the second leg of the 2004 World Series Racing Championship, remains one of the prime European-based runners with definite designs on the Arlington Million. Trainer Andreas Schutz indicated some time ago that he would bypass last Saturday's Group I King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes at Ascot as the third leg of this year's World Series in favor of the Arlington Million, fourth leg of the Series.

Irish-bred Vespone now appears the most likely Godolphin Arlington Million representative. The 4-year-old colt disappointed when fifth in his most recent start June 5 in the Group III Vodafone Diomed Stakes but stumbled at the start in that Epsom outing. Previously he was second in the Group I Presidente Della Republica in Rome May 16, and also the runner-up in the Group I Prix Ganay at Longchamp May 2.

British-bred Gateman, owned by Kennet Valley Thoroughbreds V, finished second by a length in the Group II Daily Record Scottish Derby at Ayr July 19. Trained by Mark Johnston, the 7-year-old gelding was beaten only a head when the runner-up in the Group III Michael Page International Stakes at Ascot July 10 in his previous effort.

Another British-bred European runner trained by Mark Johnston with definite designs on the Million is Scott's View, owned by The Great Escape Partnership. Scott's View was a close third in the Group I Audemars Piquet Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Sha Tin Racecourse in Hong Kong April 25. That mile and a quarter race served as the first leg of the 2004 World Series Racing Championship. Most recently 5-year-old gelding was fifth behind his stable mate in the Scottish Derby.

Mrs. John Magnier's Powerscourt, fifth in the Group I Coral-Eclipse at Sandown July 3, is increasingly mentioned as an Arlington Million probable starter. Trained by Aidan O'Brien, the British-bred son of Sadler's Wells was second by a length in the Group I Prince of Wales's Stakes during the Royal Ascot meeting June 16.

Michael Tabor's Magistretti, a European-based Kentucky-bred who was fourth in the Group II Princess of Wales's July 7 and again fourth in a listed stakes at Newbury July 17, is being considered among the European possibilities for the Million, as is British-bred Imperial Dancer, owned by Mrs. Peter Taplin. That 6-year old was seventh at last asking in the Coral-Eclipse but boasts back-to-back group stakes scores late last fall.

Likely to head the European candidates for the Beverly D. is Godolphin's Crimson Palace, a South African-bred mare who has not lost a race when facing members of her own sex during the last two years of her career overseas.

Ingeborg Von Shubert's Aubonne, a German-bred filly conditioned by Eric Libaud, is also being considered for the Beverly D. She has been campaigned in France and won a Group III outing at Longchamp in mid-June when racing against male rivals.

European candidates for the Secretariat, in addition to American Derby winner Simple Exhange, include the British-bred Hazyview, most recently fourth in the Group II Prix Eugene Adam at Maisons-Laffitte July 14, and Irish-bred Mister Monet, a facile four-length winner in an allowance company in England July 15.

California-based nominees for the Arlington Million who added to their resumes at Del Mar last Sunday are Prestonwood Farm LLC's Bayamo, second by three-quarters of a length in the Grade I Eddie Read Handicap and Red Oak Stable's Sweet Return, third by that same margin behind Bayamo.

Irish-bred Bayamo won the Grade II American Handicap July 4 at Hollywood Park and was second in Hollywood's Grade I Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap June 12.

Sweet Return had previously finished fifth in Hollywood's Grade I Shoemaker Breeders' Cup Mile May 31 and was second in the Grade I Woodford Reserve Turf Classic May 1 at Churchill Downs.

At Del Mar last Saturday, Beverly D. nominee Musical Chimes, owned by Maktoum Al Maktoum, won the Grade I John C. Mabee Handicap by a length and a quarter while Beverly D. late nominee Moscow Burning, owned by Michael Nentwig & Dallas Van Kempen, held second with a courageous performance.

Last Sunday in Canada, Gustav Schickendanz' Mobil, a late Arlington Million nominee, was beaten a neck in Woodbine's Grade II Chinese Cultural Centre Stakes while giving the winner six pounds. However, the son of Langfuhr was easily second best, finishing two and a quarter lengths in front of Sam-Son Farm's Strut the Stage, runner up in the Secretariat three years ago.

"We're thinking about it," said trainer Michael Keogh, when asked if the Arlington Million was on agenda for Mobil. "He ran a very good race on Sunday."

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