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Arlington Park Road to the Million (8/2/04)

Contact: Graham Ross


Gary A. Tanaka's Epalo, one of the prime European-based candidates for the upcoming Grade I Arlington Million Aug. 14, finished second by a nose in his final European tune-up race in Germany Sunday.

Epalo, winner of the Group I Singapore Airlines International Cup May 16, performed admirably Sunday considering his layoff when returned to competition in the listed Globetrotter Trophy at Cologne. The German-bred son of Lando out of a Kris S. mare engaged multiple stakes winner Foreign Affairs throughout the late stages of Sunday's run as the pair finished nine lengths to the good of their nearest rival: a 3-year-old in receipt of 11 pounds from the top two.

Also in Germany on Sunday, two other European-based Arlington Million candidates -- Mrs. John Magnier's Powerscourt and The Great Escape Partnership's Scott's View -- finished second and fourth respectively in the Group I Grosser Dallmayr-Preis Bayerisches Zuchtrennen at Munich. That mile and a quarter turf test is often a barometer for European horses coming to the Million. Intendant, winner of Sunday's Munich test, races for owner-breeder Ferdinand Leve and, like Epalo, is by Lando.

The Arlington Million, centerpiece of the Chicago Thoroughbred racing season, will be run along with the $750,000 Beverly D. and the $400,000 Secretariat Stakes to make up Arlington's one-day International Festival of Racing on the second Saturday in August. Together, the three races are the only Grade I events run in Illinois on an annual basis.

Other European candidates still considered probable for Arlington Million XXII are Godolphin Racing Inc.'s Vespone, Kennett Valley Thoroughbreds V's Gateman, and Michael B. Tabor's Magistretti.

Peter Taplin's British-bred Imperial Dancer, third in the Munich race Sunday, was removed from Arlington Million consideration on Monday.

Two European members of the distaff set remain likely for the Beverly D., often called the Arlington Million's sister race. Crimson Palace, a South African-bred mare purchased some time ago by Godolphin, and Ingeborg von Schubert's Aubonne, a German-bred filly additionally purchased by Gary Tanaka in late July, are both expected to invade Chicago for the Beverly D.

European runners expected for the Secretariat, final leg of Arlington's Mid-America Triple are headed by Moyglare Stud Farm Ltd.'s Simple Exchange, the Irish invader who tallied in Arlington's Grade II American Derby, presented by Jack Daniel's July 24. The American Derby was the second leg of the Triple.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum's Ershaad, from the yard of John Hammond, is another European-based runner slated for the Secretariat since his runner-up performance in the Group III Prix Daphnis at Chantilly last Thursday.

Four European equine charter flights are tentatively scheduled in the coming days to bring the European participants to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.

Slated to make the Atlantic crossing Friday aboard a KLM charter flight is Epalo, due in at Chicago this Friday at 3 p.m.

Arriving later Friday evening, due in at 8 or 9 p.m. is a private Godolphin charter slated to transport Vespone for the Million, Crimson Palace for the Beverly D., and three others for some of the additional International Festival Stakes.

On Sunday, Aug. 8, an Air France charter is scheduled to arrive bringing Aubonne from The Continent for her engagement in the Beverly D.

Finally, on Monday, Aug. 9, a second KLM charter is slated for Chicago and is expected to include Arlington Million candidates Magistretti and Gateman as well as Secretariat runners Hazyview and Mister Monet.

As of Monday, eight North American-based runners are slated to meet the European invaders in the Arlington Million. They include Monty Roberts' Sabiango, Robert B. & Beverly J. Lewis's Senor Swinger, Brushwood Stable's Kicken Kris, Red Oak Stable's Sweet Return, Very Un Stable & Joseph Giola's Quantum Merit, Gustav Schickendanz's Mobil, Skeedattle II's Mr O'Brien, and Team Block's Mystery Giver.

North American-based candidates for the Beverly D. as of Monday included Pin Oak Stable LLC's Bedanken, Willmott Stables Inc.'s Aud, Diamond A Racing Corporation's Noches de Rosa, Gainsborough Farm's Musical Chimes, Ecurie Fabien Ouaki's Commercante, Andrena Van Doren's Shaconage, Santa Cruz Ranch Inc.'s Stay Forever, and Nancy A. Vanier & Lyda Williamson's Beret.

North American-based Secretariat runners still being considered as of Monday included Kenneth L. & Sarah K. Ramsey's Kitten's Joy, Peter G. Angelos's Greek Sun, Shadwell Stables' Mustanfar, C. K. Woods Stable's Timo, David E. Garner's Cool Conductor, Darley Stable's Street Theatre, and Sidney L. Port Trust's Toasted.

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