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|Arlington Park Barn Notes – PM edition (8/9/07)
Contact: Graham Ross
In today's notes:
Arlington Million XXV’s lone French-bred representative on Saturday will be the five-year-old Doctor Dino, a horse who made his last start in Singapore, has a Spaniard as an owner, is conditioned by an Englishman who has trained in France for most of his career, and will be ridden by an Irish jockey.
Also, although foaled in France, Doctor Dino is by the British-bred sire Muhtathir and is out of the Irish-bred mare Logica. That’s one example of why Arlington Park refers to its showcase racing day this Saturday as the International Festival of Racing.
Doctor Dino stretched his legs over the Arlington grounds Thursday morning during training hours under the watchful eye of Spanish owner Javier Martinez Salmean and English-born but French-based trainer Richard Gibson.
“We always like to target big international races,” said Gibson, speaking from Arlington Park’s apron. “This will only be our horse’s third start of the year, but we were very pleased with his first start in France early in the spring, and we also thought he ran very well in Singapore.”
Doctor Dino’s first start of the season came in France’s Group I Prix Ganay at Longchamp April 29, and the chestnut ran third, less than three lengths behind the winning Dylan Thomas, hero of last year’s Group I Irish Derby and most recently this year’s Group I King George and Queen Elizabeth Stakes July 29.
“We consider Dylan Thomas to be one of the best horses in Europe right now,” said Gibson, “and we thought we ran very well against him.”
Doctor Dino traveled halfway around the world for a second seasonal start in the Group I Singapore Airlines International Cup May 27, where he finished third, a nose shy of second and a length and a quarter behind the winning Japanese-bred Shadow Gate – generally considered to be the best horse in the Orient at the present time.
“I think we could have done even better in Singapore if we’d had a better draw,” said Gibson of Doctor Dino’s disadvantageous post position that day.
“What we like to concentrate on is our horse’s physique,” said Gibson when asked about Doctor Dino’s training regimen, “and right now he’s the picture of health. He’s got the same body he had in Singapore. He hasn’t lost a pound. I always like to say if he wasn’t a race horse, he’d be a model. He’s a really good-looking guy and he turns heads wherever he goes.
“He’s trained well in France, he traveled well, and he didn’t need a prep race to come here,” concluded Gibson. “We’ve given him quite a unique type of exercise by training him left-handed on the inside track at Chantilly. He runs well fresh, and I’m not at all concerned about what type of ground he gets Saturday. We have him spruced up and in just the shape we want.”
Doctor Dino is named for two people, including owner-of-record Salmean, who is, indeed, a physician specializing in gynecology. The “Dino” part of the moniker refers to co-owner Dino Nanni.
The international flavor of Arlington’s guests this week is also likely to be evident during the International Festival of Racing Breakfast Friday morning from 8 - 9:30 a.m. on the Arlington Park apron.
Chicago racing fans can watch numerous international invading equines go through their last training routines prior to their engagements in Saturday’s Grade I troika – the 25th running of the Arlington Million, the 17th renewal of the $750,000 Beverly D. and the 31st running of the $400,000 Secretariat.
Arlington Park announcer John G. Dooley and Arlington television hostesses Liane Davis and Lauren Massarella will interview various racing personalities during the program.
Four of Arlington Park’s most popular jockeys took time out from their busy Arlington Million week schedules to visit Chicago’s Children’s Memorial Hospital Tuesday afternoon.
Veteran Illinois-based reinsman Randy Meier, on the cusp of the 4,000-career win milestone, was joined by Irish-born jockey James Graham and Illinois-based riders Shane Laviolette and Tim Thornton for the visit.
While dressed in jockey silks, the riders toured the hospital’s Brown Family Life Center, distributed gifts to the children ranging from blankets to T-Shirts, as well as key chains, pens and Arlington Park gift bags.
Meier and Laviolette also co-hosted the youngsters’ popular game of “Hospital Bingo,” bringing smiles to faces of many.
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