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Arlington Park Barn Notes (8/9/05)

Contact: Graham Ross

In today's notes:


Arlington Million candidates Touch of Land, owned by Gary Tanaka, and Alost, who races in the silks of Dominique Bayet, got their introductions to Arlington Park's main course during morning training hours Tuesday.

The 23rd Arlington Million, centerpiece of the Chicago Thoroughbred racing season, will be run Saturday at Arlington Park as one of three Grade I races that afternoon at the Northwest Chicago oval. Also contested Saturday will be the Million's sister race -- the 15th renewal of the $750,000 Beverly D. -- as well as the 29th running of the $400,000 Secretariat, restricted to 3-year-olds but increasingly a significant preamble for Arlington Millions of future summers.

Touch of Land won the Group III Grand Prix de Vichy-Auvergne over France's Vichy course in his last start July 20, and before that was fourth in the Group I Prince of Wales's Stakes June 15 during Great Britain's Royal Ascot-at-York meeting.

Alost made his first Atlantic crossing this year to finish fourth, beaten a length for the win, in Belmont's Grade I Manhattan Handicap on Belmont Stakes Day, June 11, before returning to the Continent. Previously he had finished third in France's Group III Prix d'Hedouville at Longchamp on May 9.

The two French-bred Arlington Million contestants both cantered once around Arlington Park's main track at 8:30 a.m.

Two hours earlier, Beverly D. candidate Sundrop, heroine of Great Britain's Group III Princess Elizabeth Stakes at Epsom June 3, made her second trip to the main track at Arlington. The Japanese-bred daughter of Sunday Silence was backed up to the half-mile pole and then galloped once around.

Abdullah al Khalifa's Tarfah, a second Beverly D. contestant from Europe, trotted around Arlington's training track Tuesday morning after clearing quarantine. Tarfah won Newmarket's Group III VC Bet Dahlia Stakes May 1.


Advance wagering on all of Saturday's three Grade I races at Arlington Park -- the Arlington Million, $750,000 Beverly D. and $400,000 Secretariat Stakes -- will be offered beginning at 7 a.m. Friday at Trackside Arlington Park, as well as all other Illinois OTB outlets that will be open at that time.

As an added bonus, those guests arriving for the special international "Breakfast at Arlington" program Friday morning will be able to wager on the trio of Festival races at selected self-service terminals in the Arlington stands.

The "Breakfast at Arlington" program will run from 7:30-9:30 Friday morning, while the gates will open for Friday's regular racing program at 11:15 a.m.


Arriving at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport early Monday afternoon and safely ensconced at Arlington's International Barn shortly thereafter was a trio of Irish-based contestants for Saturday's International Festival of Racing at Arlington Park.

Heading that troika trained by Ireland's legendary conditioner Aidan O'Brien was Powerscourt, first under the wire in last summer's Arlington Million, only to be disqualified and placed fourth. Powerscourt was most recently the runner-up in the Group II Scottish Derby at Ayr July 18 in a tune-up outing for Saturday's Arlington Million XXIII.

Also on board that KLM charter was Michael Tabor & Mrs. John Magnier's Mona Lisa, an expected participant in Saturday's $750,000 Beverly D. Stakes, who finished third in Ireland's Group I Irish Oaks July 17; as well as Mrs. John Magnier's Grand Central, an Irish-bred sophomore who will challenge the top American-based grass-favoring 3-year-olds in Saturday's $400,000 Secretariat Stakes.

The Arlington Million, Beverly D. and Secretariat are Illinois' only three Grade I races conducted on an annual basis.


Southern California-based participants for Saturday's International Festival of Racing at Arlington Park arrived on the Arlington grounds early Tuesday afternoon.

On the equine flight manifest were Grade I Arlington Million candidates Sweet Return, owned by Red Oak Stable and most recently winner of Del Mar's Grade I Eddie Read Handicap July 24; Triple B Farms' Whilly, most recently hero of Hollywood's Grade I American Handicap July 3; and Tom Baxter's Fourty Niners Son, runner-up when beaten a length and a half behind Sweet Return last time.

On board the California flight in advance of the Grade I Beverly D. Stakes, sister race to the Arlington Million, was early Beverly D. favorite Megahertz, the 6-year-old mare owned by Michael Bello and trained by Hall of Fame conditioner Bobby Frankel. Megahertz is undefeated in three starts this year, all in Grade II company on the West Coast.

The other Beverly D. candidate on that flight manifest was Llers Corporation's Halo Ola, beaten two lengths for all of it despite a five-wide trip in Del Mar's Grade I John C. Mabee Handicap July 23 in her last trip to the post.


From Dale Romans, trainer of Arlington Million favorite Kitten's Joy:

"(Kitten's Joy) is training better this year than he did last year. If he runs the way we expect him to (in the Arlington Million), we'll send him on to France in a week or so for the 'Arc.' (Group I Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe Lucien Barriere, Oct. 2)."

From Graham Motion, trainer of Arlington Million possibility Better Talk Now, who is more likely for Saratoga's Grade I Sword Dancer Invitational Handicap:

"We're 90 percent sure we'll run (Better Talk Now) in the Sword Dancer. Shipping (to Arlington) is not that easy, but one reason for considering the Million is that there will be a legitimate pace in the race, so we'll leave that slim door (running in the Million) open, but it has pretty much been decided we'll go in the Sword Dancer."

From Doug O'Neill, trainer of West Coast Arlington Million contestant Whilly:

"Because of his running style (up close to the pace), he stays out of trouble. One of Whilly's main assets is he gets good position early, but we know he's not going to get a soft pace in the Million, but every time we lead him over, he gives 110 percent."

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