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Arlington Park Barn Notes (9/8/05)

Contact: Graham Ross

In today's notes:


Chicago's many Thoroughbred racing fans who are unable to travel to New York for this year's Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships at Belmont Park Oct. 29 will be able to celebrate racing's upcoming big day at Arlington Park.

The Million Room at Arlington Park will be open for the exciting simulcast championship action coming from Belmont, and applications for reservations are now available in the Daily Racing Guide.

Each ticket includes admission, program, continental breakfast and a lunch menu featuring Panini style sandwiches and Applewood smoked beef brisket with a bourbon barbecue glaze.

Million Room television tables (including reserved seat, admission, program and TV table) are currently available for $42, and the Million Room Platform, which includes a reserved seat, admission, program and TV view is available for $40.


A field of 10 runners -- headed by top contenders Azamour and Motivator -- has been named to contest Saturday's Group I Baileys Irish Champion Stakes at a mile and a quarter over Ireland's Leopardstown Racecourse on Saturday.

The Irish Champion serves as the sixth leg of 2005's World Racing Championship, with the Grade I Arlington Million, won by Mrs. John Magnier's Powerscourt, contested as the fourth leg of this year's series last month.

The fifth leg, the Group I Grosser Volkswagen Preis at 12 furlongs over Germany's Iffezheim Racecourse, was won by its defending champion Warrsan last Saturday.

Azamour, defending hero of the Irish Champion from last summer, is expected to be the odds-on choice in this year's renewal but could face stiff competition from the brilliant 3-year-old Motivator, winner of the Group I Epsom Derby in June.

Earlier in the week, it was assumed that Motivator would not run due to a predicted hard turf course, but now, with a strong probability of rain in the immediate forecast, that sophomore is once again an expected contestant.

The changing scenario concerning Motivator is reminiscent of Better Talk Now's eventual participation in this summer's Million, where the Bushwood Stable color bearer finished fourth. Earlier Arlington Million week, it was assumed that Better Talk Now, hero of last fall's Grade I John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf, would run in Saratoga's Grade I Sword Dancer Invitational, but midweek rains in Chicago caused his connections' late change in plans.

Like Better Talk Now and Motivator, Powerscout was expected to make his first post-Million run in either the Irish Championship or Belmont's Man o' War this weekend, but this year's Million champion pulled a muscle during a workout last week and has been declared from both races this Saturday.

Kevin Darley has been named as a late replacement for jockey Frankie Dettori aboard The Royal Ascot Racing Club's Motivator, while Christophe Soumillon has been named to handle the reins on Azamour, owned by H H Aga Khan.

Others named to the Irish Champion include Mrs. John Magnier's Ace, Murry Rose Bloodstock's Grey Swallow, J. C. Smith's Norse Dancer, The Royal Ascot Racing Club's Temple Place, Mrs. Neville Callaghan's Alexander Goldrun, H H Aga Khan's Hazarista, Mrs. John Magnier's Oratorio, and Michael Tabor's Mona Lisa.


With a riding double on Wednesday's program, veteran jockey Chris Emigh continues to distance himself from others challenging for the runner-up spot this summer and is now 10 wins in front of his nearest pursuer.

Emigh, who won Wednesday's sixth race aboard Lamont Nienast LLC's Clever Comique for trainer Percy Scherbenske, came right back to the winner's circle in the seventh event astride Edmund & Sharon Hudon's Prominence for conditioner Grant Hofmans.

Hofmans now has saddled nine horses here this season, and won with six of them.

Emigh begins Thursday's races with 77 winners, while his nearest pursuer James Graham has 67. Jesse Campbell holds down fourth position with 63, and Eusebio Razo Jr. follows closely on Campbell's heels with 62.

- END -



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