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Arlington Park Road to the Million (6/8/05)

Contact: Graham Ross


Mrs. John Magnier's Powerscourt, first under the wire in last season's Grade I Arlington Million before being disqualified, and Gary Tanaka's Epalo, placed third in that same renewal, are headline attractions among the European based contingent nominated to the 2005 edition of Arlington's signature event, while Bushwood Stables' Better Talk Now and Kenneth & Sarah Ramsey's Kitten's Joy, one-two in the Grade I John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf last October, top the list of North American based nominees to this summer's 23rd running.

Arlington Million XXIII will be contested on Aug. 13 at a mile and a quarter over Arlington's world famous turf course, and has attracted 77 of the best turf horses from all over the globe this year. The centerpiece of Chicago's Thoroughbred racing season has also been designated as the fourth leg of the World Racing Championships in 2005.

In last year's Arlington Million, Powerscourt came from far back to take command in mid-stretch and drew clear to be a length and a half in front at the finish, but drifted in during that late surge to initiate trouble for others in the field.

Following a stewards' inquiry, Powerscourt was disqualified and placed fourth. Epalo, hero of last year's Group I Singapore Airlines International Cup and the slight favorite in the 2004 Million, was moved from fourth to third following his troubled trip as the result of Powerscourt's disqualification. Michael Tabor's Magistretti, a longshot last year but a Million nominee again this year, was moved up from third to second in last summer's running.

Better Talk Now, who surprised with a $57.80 win mutuel in last fall's Breeders' Cup Turf at Lone Star Park, and Kitten's Joy, winner of last summer's Grade I Secretariat at Arlington and second as the choice of the fans in the Breeders' Cup Turf, head America's Million nominees, but the first and second-place finishers in two of this spring's major Million preps are also included among 2005's Million nominations list.

Mill House Farm's America Alive captured the Grade I Woodford Reserve Turf Classic by a length and a quarter at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day, May 7, with Michael Jarvis, Gary Margolis & Ken Smole et al.'s Meteor Storm finishing second. Both are nominated to Arlington Million XXIII.

David Garner's Cool Conductor outlasted Mrs. Thomas Walsh & Timber Bay Farm's Artie Schiller by a nose in the Grade II Dixie Stakes at Pimlico on Preakness Day, May 21, and Phipps Stable's Good Reward finished third, two and a quarter lengths further back. All three are Million nominees.

Other leading Arlington Million nominations that have been campaigning in Europe include Godolphin Racing Inc.'s Doyen, winner of Ascot's Group I King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes last year; Murray Rose Bloodstock's Grey Swallow, hero of the Group I Tattersalls Gold Cup at The Curragh May 22; the Niarchos Family's Bago, runner-up in that recent Irish test; and Mrs. David Nagle & Mrs. John Magnier's Yeats, two and a half-lengths the best in the Group I Coronation Cup at Epsom June 3.

Also to be contested on the second Saturday in August as part of Arlington's International Festival of Racing is the 16th running of the Grade I Beverly D., for the world's best grass runners in the filly and mare division, as well as the 28th renewal of the Grade I Secretariat, restricted to 3-year-olds of international caliber. Together, the troika of international events make up the only three Grade I races offered in Illinois on an annual basis.

Featured among the 63 nominees to this year's $750,000 Beverly D., sister race to the Arlington Million, is Michael Bello's Megahertz, winner of Santa Anita's Grade II Santa Barbara Handicap April 17 and the Grade II Santa Ana Handicap March 20. Megahertz is conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel, who has saddled two winners of this feminine grass classic in past runnings.

T N T Stud's Melhor Ainda, another Frankel-trained Beverly D. nominee, is an undefeated 3-year-old filly who captured Belmont's Grade III Sands Point Handicap June 5, while Ingeborg Von Schubert & Gary Tanaka's Aubonne, sixth in last summer's Beverly D., has been nominated once again.

Michael Tabor & Mrs. John Magnier's Virginia Waters, heroine of the Group I English 1000 Guineas at Newmarket May 1, is among the headliners among the European based members of the distaff set nominated to the 2005 Beverly D.

Glencrest Farm LLC's Honey Ryder, winner of the Grade II Orchid and Grade III The Very One handicaps at Gulfstream earlier this season, and Carol & Charles Hammersmith's Miss Terrible, who has captured Santa Anita's Grade III Las Flores and Churchill's Grade III Winnercomm Distaff Turf Mile handicaps this year, are also Beverly D. nominees.

Also, Fox Ridge Farm's Riskaverse, second by a half-length in last summer's Beverly D. renewal, is nominated again this year.

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