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ARLINGTON PARK

Arlington Park Barn Notes (7/27/06)

Contact: Graham Ross
graham.ross@arlingtonpark.com

In today's notes:

SUAVE SITTING READY FOR SATURDAY’S WASHINGTON PARK ‘CAP

Jay Em Ess Stable’s Suave, the graded stakes winner beaten just three lengths in last fall’s Grade I Breeders’ Cup Classic, is back; and he’s smoother than ever, according to trainer Paul McGee.

Based on that estimate, Suave will be able to provide strong competition for defending champion Perfect Drift in Saturday’s Grade II Washington Park Handicap at Arlington.

Perfect Drift, owned by Stonecrest Farm, is the favorite for Saturday’s $300,000 mile and three-sixteenths test – richest race of the season over Arlington’s main track – but Suave won his last start June 16 at Churchill Downs and appears ready for another top effort.

“If anything, he’s doing better since that last race at Churchill than he was doing going into it,” said McGee, speaking by cell phone Thursday while en route to Arlington.

Suave, a 5-year-old son of 1992 Belmont Stakes winner A. P. Indy, was given some time off after two disappointing efforts at Gulfstream last winter – a pair of uncharacteristic outings that remain something of a puzzle.

“I never have been able to put my finger on exactly why he wasn’t on the top of his game down there,” said McGee. “Maybe it was just his hard campaign last fall, but he bounced back very well in that last race, so we hope he’s back as good as he was last year.”

Suave won last summer’s Grade II Saratoga Breeders’ Cup Handicap, was second in Belmont’s Grade I Jockey Club Gold Cup and second by a head in Churchill’s Grade II Clark Handicap at the end of the season.

AIDAN O’BRIEN-TRAINED TRIO LIKELY FOR INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL

Irish-based trainer Aidan O’Brien, who sent Mrs. John Magnier’s Powerscourt to Chicago to win last summer’s Arlington Million, is likely to send highly regarded candidates to all three of Arlington Park’s International Festival of Racing Grade I races on Aug. 12.

Likely for Arlington Million XXIV from the O’Brien yard is Mrs. Magnier’s Ace, an Irish-bred 5-year-old son of Danehill familiar to American racing fans as the runner-up in last fall’s Grade I John Deere Breeders’ Cup Turf at Belmont Park Oct. 29. Previously, at that same suburban New York oval, Ace was a gutsy third, beaten three-quarters of a length for all of it in the Grade I Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational.

In his last trip to the post July 15, Ace was second by a head in the Group III Ladbrokes International Stakes and before that was beaten four and a quarter in the Group I Prince of Wales’s Stakes June 21 during the Royal Ascot meeting.

O’Brien, 36, who has vaulted onto the top tier of internationally renowned conditioners over the last decade, is likely to bring Mrs. Magnier’s 3-year-old filly Queen Cleopatra to Arlington for the Grade I Beverly D., the Arlington Million’s $750,000 sister race that is restricted to fillies and mares. In her last start July 1 at The Curragh, Queen Cleopatra was fifth in the Group I Audi Pretty Polly Stakes, but was a close third in the Group I Prix de Diane Hermes (French) Oaks before that June 11 and also third in the Group I Boylesports Irish 1000 Guineas May 28.

For Arlington’s Grade I Secretariat Stakes on the second Saturday in August, restricted to 3-year-olds of international caliber as final leg of Chicago’s Mid-America Triple, O’Brien is expected to be represented by Ivan Denisovich, owned by Mrs. Magnier in conjunction with Michael Tabor and Irving and Marjorie Cowan. The sophomore son of Danehill was eighth in the Group I Prix Jean Prat at Chantilly July 9 at last asking but third in the Group I St. James Palace Stakes during the Royal Ascot session on June 20.

LIST OF EUROPEAN SECRETARIAT STAKES CANDIDATES GROWS

In addition to Highclere Thoroughbred Racing XXVI’s Primary and Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Irving and Marjorie Cowan’s Ivan Denisovich, three other sophomores still in Europe are now likely to make an Atlantic crossing for Arlington Park’s Grade I Secretariat Stakes on Aug. 12.

Dr. Ronan Lambe’s Royal Intrigue, conditioned by Ireland’s all-time leading trainer Dermot Weld, is an Irish-bred son of Royal Applause who was winner of his last two starts on the Emerald Isle, and is now expected to come for the Secretariat, final leg of Arlington’s Mid-America Triple.

J. Paul Reddam’s Red Rocks, runner-up in the Group I Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamp in his last start July 14, is a Brian Meehan trainee also likely for the Secretariat. Red Rocks, a Galileo colt and also an Irish-bred, was second by a neck in his previous effort in the Group II King Edward VII Stakes June 23 during Royal Ascot.

French-bred El Capitano, owned by Ecurie des Monceaux and a colt who broke his maiden at first asking on July 7 at Deauville by two and a half lengths, is increasingly likely for the Secretariat. El Capitano is a son of the Danzig stallion Anabaa.

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