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Arlington Park Barn Notes (7/30/06)

Contact: Graham Ross

In today's notes:


The only three Grade I races contested in Illinois on an annual basis will come to fruition once again Aug. 12 when Arlington Park celebrates its International Festival of Racing: showcase event of the Chicago Thoroughbred racing season.

However, this summer there is trio of internationally prominent trainers who are in a position to enjoy an historically unprecedented Midwestern afternoon should their prospective starters remain on schedule for Arlington Million XXIV, the 16th renewal of the $750,000 Beverly D. and the 30th anniversary edition of the $400,000 Secretariat Stakes.

When the latest lists of horses considered possible for the Million, Beverly D. and Secretariat was published this weekend, Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel, internationally prominent Irish-based Aidan O’Brien, and the increasingly prominent British-born but American-based Graham Motion had representatives for all three of Arlington’s top-tiered races.

Frankel is listed for the Million with Juddmonte Farms Inc.’s Cacique, for the Beverly D. with T N T Stud’s Melhor Ainda, and for the Secretariat with Gary Tanaka’s Proudinsky.

Cacique was second by a half-length in his last start in Monmouth’s Grade I United Nations July 8, Melhor Ainda won Belmont’s $68,000 Capades Stakes July 14, and Proudinsky was most recently fifth in the Grade II Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs July 15.

Melhor Ainda, incidentally, was beaten a neck when third in last year’s Beverly D., while Proudinsky is also familiar to Chicago fans for being second by a nose in the Grade III Arlington Classic July 1.

O’Brien is currently slated for the upcoming Million with Mrs. John Magnier’s Ace, for the Beverly D. with Mrs. Magnier’s Queen Cleopatra, and for the Secretariat with Ivan Denisovich, who she owns in partnership with Michael Tabor and Irving and Marjorie Cowan.

Ace was second by a head in the Group III Ladbrokes International Stakes July 15 at The Curragh and beaten four and a quarter in the Group I Prince of Wales’s Stakes before that during this summer’s Royal Ascot meeting.

Queen Cleopatra was fifth in Ireland’s Group I Audi Pretty Polly Stakes at The Curragh July 1, but was only beaten a length and a half when third in the Group I Prix de Diane Hermes (French Oaks) at Chantilly June 11.

Ivan Denisovich 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.

Motion has Bushwood Racing Partners’ Better Talk Now listed for the Million, Courtlandt Farms’ Film Maker for the Beverly D. and David Soifer’s Amigoni for the Secretariat.

Better Talk Now was fifth in the United Nations but won Pimlico’s Grade II Dixie Stakes on Preakness Day this spring.

Film Maker captured the Grade III All Along Breeders’ Cup at Colonial Downs June 24 and Calder’s Grade II La Prevoyante Handicap in her previous start Dec. 17.

Amigoni was third in Arlington’s Grade II American Derby in his last trip to the post July 22 and was first under the wire but disqualified and placed second previously at Colonial Downs July 2.

Better Talk Now, of course, is remembered locally for finishing fourth in last year’s Arlington Million, but won the 2005 United Nations in his start before that as well as Lone Star’s Grade I Breeders’ Cup Turf and Saratoga’s Grade I Sword Dancer Invitational in 2004.

Frankel has won the Arlington Million twice, the Beverly D. twice and the Secretariat once during previous International Festivals, while O’Brien captured last summer’s Arlington Million with Powerscourt.


Chicago Blackhawk Hall of Famer Denis Savard, currently an assistant coach for the City of Broad Shoulder’s NHL franchise, is also a Thoroughbred owner, and his racing silks similar to those of the Blackhawks were represented Arlington Park’s winner’s circle once again on Saturday.

Savard’s Drivingmaxandmitzi recorded his third straight win at Arlington in Saturday’s third race, with Panamanian-born jockey Rene Douglas aboard for the length and a half tally.

Drivingmaxandmitzi won his previous Arlington start by three lengths on America’s Birthday with Irish-born James Graham aboard, while his first win of the current Chicago session came June 4 with Louisiana native Eddie Martin Jr. in the irons.

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