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Arlington Park

Arlington Park Road to the Million (7/4/07)

Contact: Graham Ross


The Tin Man, Ralph and Aury Todd’s defending Grade I Arlington Million champion, continues undaunted toward his date with destiny in the 2007 Arlington Million Aug. 11.

The 9-year-old gelding is seeking to become the first horse in history to win Chicago’s showcase Thoroughbred race two years in a row, and he took another giant step down his own road to the upcoming Million next month with another excellent performance June 30 in Hollywood’s Grade II American Invitational Handicap.

“We just came up about six inches short,” said an undiscouraged Ralph Todd of The Tin Man’s runner-up finish by a head to the Brazilian import Out of Control, owned by T N T Stud.

“But we were very pleased with his race,” said Todd over the phone from California on Monday, “and the most important thing was that he came out of it good. How much can you ask for? You don’t want to get too greedy.”

So the silver anniversary edition of the Arlington Million on the second Saturday in August remains on the schedule for The Tin Man?

“My family and I greatly enjoyed our trip to Arlington last summer,” said Todd. “We were treated magnificently by everyone at Arlington throughout our visit, and we would greatly enjoy becoming the first back-to-back winner of the Arlington Million – and so would Mr. Mandella. ” Todd was referring to The Tin Man’s Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella.

However, half a continent and an Atlantic Ocean crossing away, other connections continue to solidify plans for an Arlington Million assault.

Stiftung Gestut Fahrhof’s Quijano, this year’s Arlington Million prospect from the same farm that took down winning honors in the 2001 Arlington Million with Silvano, is increasingly considered a serious Arlington Million invader.

Quijano dramatically entered the world’s Thoroughbred racing stage with a pair of eye-catching victories last winter during Dubai’s International Racing Carnival meeting. He was eventually defeated by Hong Kong’s Horse of the Year Vengence of Rain in the Grade I Dubai Sheema Classic on World Cup Day March 31.

Conditioned by German trainer Peter Schiergen, who brought Gestut Park Wiedingen’s Soldier Hollow to Chicago to finish third behind The Tin Man in last year’s Million, Quijano is slated to run next in the Group III Grand Prix de Vichy July 18. That French event has been used successfully as an Arlington Million prep the last two years by Gary Tanaka’s Touch of Land, and assuming Quijano’s Vichy outing goes well, the 5-year-old German gelding will be pointed to Chicago’s showcase race.

Also, Schiergen is reportedly considering bringing a 3-year-old French-bred filly named Touch My Soul, owned by Gestut Brummerhof, to accompany Quijano on their proposed journey – with the Grade I Beverly D. as her assignment.

Three Grade I events will again make up Arlington Park’s 2007 one-day International Festival of Racing on August 11: the Arlington Million, run at a mile and a quarter over Arlington’s world famous turf course; the 18th running of the $750,000 Beverly D., for the world’s best grass favoring fillies and mares; and the 30th renewal of the $400,000 Secretariat, restricted to 3-year-olds of international caliber over turf.

No sophomore filly has ever won the Beverly D., considered the Arlington Million’s sister race, but Touch My Soul won Germany’s Group III Hamburger Stuten-Preis June 30 under Andreas Suborics, who rode Silvano to his Million victory in 2001.

However, even with that recent German victory, if Touch My Soul arrives for the Beverly D., the 3-year-old daughter of Tiger Hill will have to step up, because on July 1, this summer’s Beverly D. picked up its early favorite.

Stronach Stables’ Citronnade, conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel, cruised to a facile two and a half-length victory in Hollywood’s Grade II Beverly Hills Handicap July 1 in her final prep for the Beverly D. It was the 4-year-old daughter of 1999 Belmont Stakes winner Lemon Drop Kid’s fifth win in a row, and she remains undefeated in four starts this season after earlier wins that include Santa Anita’s Grade II Santa Ana Handicap March 25 and Hollywood’s Grade I Gamely Stakes May 28.

“We like to give her a little time (between races) because she runs well when she’s fresh,” said Frankel’s assistant Humberto Ascanio following the Beverly Hills. “I had no doubt she could handle the distance (mile and a quarter as opposed to the Beverly D.’s mile and three-sixteenths); she’s just a really nice filly. She is going to get some time off and then we are going to ship her to Arlington Park for the Beverly D.”

Another European invader being mentioned as Beverly D.-bound is the South African-bred Irridescence, owned by Team Valor, who won Hong Kong’s Group I Audemar’s Piquet Queen Elizabeth II Cup last year, was third in Dubai’s Grade II Haafhd Jebel Hatta March 1 and then 10th in the Grade I Dubai Duty Free at last asking March 31.

European sophomore runners being considered for the Grade I Secretariat include a pair of scheduled early arrivals from Ireland who plan first to be tested in the Grade II American Derby, presented by Jack Daniel’s July 21 as part of Million Preview Day.

Those possible American Derby Irish invaders are Joseph Joyce’s He’s A Decoy, trained by David Wachman, and Joseph Keeling’s Blackberry Boy, conditioned by Dermot Weld. Weld has saddled three American Derby winners in past seasons.

However, Wachman is serious enough about He’s A Decoy’s American Derby participation that he is considering sending two Irish-bred travel companions, also owned by Joyce, for assignments in the Grade III Arlington Handicap July 21 as the final local prep for Arlington Million XXV.

Finally, in a late Arlington Million development at Canada’s Woodbine Race Course on July 2, Arlington Million nominee Sky Conqueror, owned by William Sorokolit and hero of Churchill’s Grade I Woodford Reserve Turf Classic on Kentucky Derby Day May 5, finished second by a nose to Gary Tanaka’s Eccentric in the Grade I King Edward Stakes.

Tanaka, a longtime supporter of Arlington’s International Festival of Racing, has until July 25 to make Eccentric a late Arlington Million nomination. The 6-year-old Roger Attfield trainee won Woodbine’s Grade III Connaught Cup Stakes at previous asking on May 27.

Arlington Park – the Chicago area’s premier Thoroughbred racetrack located in Arlington Heights, Ill. – will run a 94-day meet in 2007 from Friday, May 4 through Sunday, Sept. 16. Arlington Park, whose parent company is Churchill Downs Incorporated (Nasdaq: CHDN), also operates nine off-track, simulcast-wagering facilities: Trackside Arlington Park (Arlington Heights), Trackside Chicago, Trackside Quad City Downs (East Moline), Trackside Rockford, Trackside Waukegan, Fat Sam’s Bar & Grill featuring Trackside OTB in Lockport, Lucky’s featuring Trackside OTB in South Elgin, Nicolino’s featuring Trackside OTB in McHenry and The Inferno featuring Trackside OTB in South Beloit. Information on Arlington Park can be found online at

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