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Horse slaughter in Illinois
|Arlington Park Stakes Advance: The Grade I Arlington Million
Contact: Graham Ross
ENGLISH CHANNEL, CACIQUE, NOW MEET AT ARLINGTON; EUROPE’S ACE, ‘PHOENIX’ CHALLENGE IN ‘MILLION XXIV’
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (August 9, 2006) – James Scatuorchio’s English Channel and Juddmonte Farms Inc.’s Cacique, never more than a half-length apart in three previous meetings, renew their rivalry for a fourth time but will be challenged by a strong European-based contingent headed by Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Mrs. Harry McCalmont’s Ace and Winterbeck Manor Stud’s Phoenix Reach in Saturday’s 24th running of the Grade I Arlington Million.
English Channel won the Grade I United Nations Stakes at Monmouth July 8, Cacique won the Grade I Manhattan Handicap at Belmont June 10, Ace was runner-up in the Grade I John Deere Breeders’ Cup Turf at Belmont Park last October, and Phoenix Reach has won three Group I or Grade I races three different years, but that quartet must face seven other worthy challengers in Saturday’s Arlington Million XXIV.
Among them – Bushwood Racing Partners’ Better Talk Now – who won the 2004 John Deere Breeders’ Cup Turf at Lone Star Park, last summer’s United Nations, and was fourth in last summer’s Arlington Million.
A West Coast-based entrant for Saturday’s renewal – Aury and Ralph Todd’s The Tin Man – an 8-year-old who won the Grade II American Invitational Handicap at Hollywood Park July 2 after first winning that race four years earlier. The Tin Man ran sixth in the 2003 Arlington Million.
Other worthy European-based Million contestants – Gestut Park Wiedingen’s Soldier Hollow and Gary Tanaka’s Touch of Land – the former a winner of the Group I Premio Roma in Italy last November and the latter the hero of the Group III Grand Prix de Vichy in France at last asking July 19. Touch of Land is a veteran of two previous Arlington Millions, finishing fifth last year despite a troubled trip.
Completing the field for Saturday’s centerpiece race of the Chicago Thoroughbred racing season are Wertheimer and Frère’s Go Deputy, winner of Belmont Park’s Grade II Bowling Green Handicap at last asking July 15; Flying Zee Stable’s Cosmonaut, victor in the Grade III Arlington Handicap July 22 in the final major local prep for the Million; and James Messineo’s Major Rhythm, who captured Arlington’s Grade III Stars and Stripes Breeders’ Cup Turf July 2.
Riding assignments for Saturday’s Arlington Million are as follows: English Channel, John Velazquez; Cacique, Edgar Prado; Phoenix Reach, Martin Dwyer; Ace, to be announced; Better Talk Now, Ramon Dominguez; The Tin Man, Victor Espinoza; Touch of Land, Christophe Lemaire; Soldier Hollow, Rene Douglas; Go Deputy, Velazquez with a second call; Cosmonaut, Julien Leparoux; and Major Rhythm, Earlie Fires.
Saturday’s Arlington Million, run at a mile and a quarter over the Northwest Chicago oval’s world famous turf course, is one of three Grade I races that make up Arlington’s one-day International Festival of Racing this weekend. Together they are the only three Grade I races offered in Illinois on an annual basis. Also scheduled Saturday afternoon is Arlington’s $750,000 Beverly D., sister race to the Arlington Million run at a mile and three-sixteenths but restricted to the world’s best grass running fillies and mares; and the $400,000 Secretariat Stakes, restricted to 3-year-olds of international caliber over the lawn. As the final leg of Arlington’s Mid-America Triple, the Secretariat has often served as a preview of Arlington Millions of future seasons.
The Arlington Million and Beverly D. Stakes are part of the “Road to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships – Powered by Dodge” television series airing on ABC (3:00-5:00 p.m. CT). The Arlington Million is one of the major John Deere Turf Division races for horses being pointed to the $3 million John Deere Breeders’ Cup Turf and the Beverly D. Stakes is one of the top Emirates Airline Filly & Mare Turf Division races for female grass runners being pointed to the $2 million Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Churchill Downs on Saturday, November 4. Two of the favorites in the Arlington Million, Cacique and Better Talk Now, are ranked fourth and ninth, respectively, in the latest Turf Division standings of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships Poll. Likely Beverly D. starters – Honey Ryder, Film Maker and Gorella – are ranked second, fourth and sixth, respectively, in the latest Filly & Mare Turf Division standings.
Arlington Park – the Chicago area’s premier Thoroughbred racetrack located in Arlington Heights, Ill. – will run a 95-day meet in 2006 from Friday, May 5 through Tuesday, Sept. 12. Arlington Park, whose parent company is Churchill Downs Incorporated (Nasdaq: CHDN), also operates eight off-track, simulcast-wagering facilities: Trackside Arlington Park (Arlington Heights), Trackside Quad City Downs (East Moline), Trackside Chicago, Trackside McHenry, Trackside Rockford, Trackside South Beloit, Trackside Waukegan and Lucky’s featuring Trackside OTB in South Elgin. Information on Arlington Park can be found online at www.arlingtonpark.com.
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