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|Arlington Park Barn Notes (8/8/05)
Contact: Graham Ross
In today's notes:
The Japanese-bred filly Sundrop, set to sport the same royal blue silks of Godolphin Racing in Saturday's Grade I Beverly D. Stakes that were worn in the winner's circle following last summer's renewal, was given her introduction to Arlington Park during training hours Monday morning shortly after clearing quarantine.
The $750,000 Beverly D., sister race to Saturday's Grade I Arlington Million, is one of three Grade I races -- along with Saturday's $400,000 Secretariat Stakes for 3-year-olds -- that make up Arlington's International Festival of Racing, showcase event of Chicago's Thoroughbred racing season.
"She traveled good, and ate and drank well since she got here," said Godolphin head lad Tony Howarth, who accompanied Sundrop on her KLM equine charter from Europe that arrived last weekend. "This heat you're having here in Chicago shouldn't bother her. Obviously, she has not come across it in the last three or four months in Great Britain, but she's handled it in the past when she's been in Dubai and it's never bothered her."
Sundrop's best performance this season came in the Group III Princess Elizabeth Stakes at Epsom June 3. Carrying 132 pounds, she came from the rear despite a moderate pace, took command at the quarter-pole and drew clear for a two-length tally.
"She's quite adaptable to carrying weight," said Howarth. "Last year, she finished second by a half-length in the (Group I) 1000 Guineas when she was carrying 126 pounds."
Last summer's Beverly D. was won by the South African-bred Crimson Palace for Godolphin Racing, and Howarth was asked to compare the two members of the distaff set.
"They're two different types," Howarth said. "Crimson Palace was more robust and strong, while Sundrop is a more slight type of filly. They have a different style of racing, but both of them have shown some classic form in their races.
"This morning, we just jogged Sundrop back to the three-eighths pole and let her run down the straight," Howarth said. "Tomorrow, we'll probably canter her a mile and a quarter."
French-bred Touch of Land, one of three European invaders for Saturday's Grade I Arlington Million, made a brief trip to Arlington Park's training track Monday morning after clearing quarantine.
Touch of Land, owned by international sportsman Gary Tanaka, arrived late Saturday at Arlington after flying from Europe to O'Hare International Airport aboard an Air France equine charter. A son of the German sire Lando, Touch of Land won France's Group III Grand Prix de Vichy in his last trip to the post July 20, and before that was fourth in the Group I Prince of Wales's Stakes June 15 on the opening program of the prestigious Royal Ascot-at-York meeting.
The Arlington Million will be observing its 22nd renewal on Saturday as the centerpiece event of the Chicago Thoroughbred racing season. Along with the Grade I Beverly D. for fillies and mares and the Grade I Secretariat Stakes for 3-year-olds of international caliber on turf, the three races make up Arlington's one-day International Festival of Racing this weekend.
Team Block's Fort Prado, length and quarter winner of Saturday's Sea O'Erin Breeders' Cup Mile Handicap, came out of the race without problems but without a definitive future schedule.
"I really don't know what's out there yet," said trainer Chris Block. "Obviously, the Carey over at Hawthorne (Grade III Robert F. Carey Memorial Handicap Sept. 24 at a mile on turf) is something we'll take a look at, but I don't know yet if we want to fit something in before that or not."
Incidentally, Fort Prado, who won Arlington's Black Tie Affair Handicap June 25 and the Mister Gus Stakes here May 30 before Saturday's Sea O'Erin score, established season-high fastest times for the meeting in all three of his Arlington races.
Claiborne Farm's Remind, the odds-on choice in the Sea O'Erin that finished third beaten five and a quarter lengths, also came out of the race in good order.
"He's all right," said Keith Allen, a former jockey who saddled Remind Saturday as an assistant to Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. "He'll live to fight another day. He didn't run a whole lot but he did manage to eek out a third-place out of the race. If you don't put him into the race early, he tends to lose interest, and things just didn't work out for us that way this time."
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