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|Arlington Park Road to the Million (8/1/07)
Contact: Graham Ross
EUROPE’S ‘DOCTOR’, DANAK, PRESSING, ‘GIFT’ EYE ARLINGTON MILLION; DALVINA, IRRIDESCENCE CROSSING ATLANTIC TO LIGHT UP BEVERLY D.
Who are you going to call, if you’re European-based and looking to challenge North American candidates like defending Arlington Million champion The Tin Man and emerging younger headliners such as After Market, in the silver anniversary edition of Chicago’s Grade I Arlington Million Aug. 11?
The French are calling the ‘Doctor’ – Doctor Dino, that is – a globetrotting 5-year-old owned by Javier Martinez Salmean and trained by Richard Gibson.
And as of midweek, three Irish-breds are to be summoned to compete in this summer’s Arlington Million XXV. Not only by the Emerald Isle-campaigned Danak, owned by H. H. Aga Khan and trained by John Oxx; but also Gary Tanaka’s Pressing, conditioned by Michael Jarvis and campaigned in England and Italy; and most recently the ubiquitous Stage Gift, owned by Godolphin Racing, trained by Saeed bin Suroor, and a veteran of turf wars in the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom as well as La Belle France.
Doctor Dino, a French-bred son of Muhtathir, was third, beaten a length and a quarter by the favored Japanese star Shadow Gate, when last sent to the post in the Group I Singapore Airlines International Cup May 27. Before that the good “Doctor” was third to last year’s Irish Derby winner Dylan Thomas in the Group I Prix Ganay at Longchamp April 29.
Danak, who has raced exclusively on his home turf until now, was fourth behind Notnowcato and Dylan Thomas when last sent to the post May 27 in the Group I Tattersalls Gold Cup at The Curragh. However, Notnowcato has since gone on to win the Group I Coral-Eclipse July 7 at Sandown, and Dylan Thomas returned to top form when capturing the Group I King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes at Ascot on July 28.
Before the Tattersalls Gold Cup, Danak won Ireland’s Group III Amethyst Stakes at Leopardstown May 13.
Pressing was fifth in his last start June 20, but that came against Europe’s best in Royal Ascot’s Group I Prince of Wales’s Stakes. Winning the Prince of Wales’s was the favored Manduro, who had captured Longchamp’s Group I Prix d’Ispahan at previous asking May 20. Finishing second in that Royal Ascot race was Dylan Thomas with Notnowcato third.
Prior to Royal Ascot, Pressing finished second by a half-length in Italy’s Group I Presidente della Repubblica May 13 and had won the Group III Premio Ambrosiano before that on April 22 at San Siro.
Stage Gift won Great Britain’s Group II Sky Bet York Stakes by a length and a quarter in his last start on July 28, and before that captured the Group III La Coupe Stakes by three-quarters on June 14. The son of Cadeaux Genereux concluded his sophomore campaign last fall with a tally in the Group III Unicorn Asset Management Darley Stakes at Newmarket.
Within the next few days, Doctor Dino, Danak, Pressing and Stage Gift are scheduled to cross the Atlantic to challenge America’s best grass horses - including last year’s Million winner The Tin Man, owned by Ralph and Aury Todd. The Tin Man was also victorious in Santa Anita’s Grade I Clement L. Hirsch last fall and Hollywood’s Grade I Shoemaker Mile this spring since taking Chicago’s centerpiece a year ago.
Also headed to Arlington Park from the West Coast – and currently shouldering the long-range Million favorite’s mantle while representing the United States – is Pam and Martin Wygod’s After Market, easily dominant in his most recent start July 22 when taking Del Mar’s Grade I Eddie Read Handicap by a length and a half while drawing off with authority.
Before taking the Eddie Read, After Market won Hollywood’s Grade I Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap June 9 and had captured the Grade III Inglewood Handicap there on April 28.
Other expected Arlington Million participants from North America at this time are Flying Zee Stable’s Cosmonaut, winner of the Grade III Arlington Handicap July 21; William Sorokolit Sr.’s Sky Conqueror, winner of Woodbine’s Grade II Northern Dancer Stakes July 22 and Churchill’s Grade I Woodford Reserve Turf Classic on Kentucky Derby Day May 5; and Kingfield Farms’ Jambalaya, third to Sky Conqueror in the Northern Dancer but winner of Gulfstream’s Grade II Pan American Handicap last winter.
Also presently Arlington Million-bound are Aaron and Marie Jones’ Sunriver, winner of Belmont’s Grade II Bowling Green Handicap July 15 and two-for-two since being switched to grass; Fab Oak Stable, Robert Hurley and John Goldthorpe’s Stream Cat, third in Arlington’s Grade III Stars and Stripes Turf July 4 and narrowly defeated in Keeneland’s Grade III Ben Ali Stakes April 26; Philip Newton’s Rob Roy, third behind After Market in the Eddie Read and fifth in last fall’s Grade I Breeders’ Cup Mile; and Peter Vegso’s Silver Tree, hero of Delaware Park’s $200,000 Caesar Rodney Stakes July 15 and fourth in Pimlico’s Grade II Dixie Stakes on Preakness Day May 19.
However, as in recent seasons, Arlington Million XXV will be one of three Grade I races to make up Arlington’s one-day International Festival of Racing Aug. 11. Also scheduled that day is its feminine equivalent, the $750,000 Beverly D. – for the world’s best grass-running fillies and mares – as well as the $400,000 Secretariat Stakes, restricted to turf-favoring 3-year-olds of international caliber.
Heading the list of globally campaigned imports scheduled for the Beverly D. is the South African-bred Irridescence, now owned by Team Valor but still trained by South African conditioner Michael de Kock.
Irridescence was most recently second by a length in Great Britain’s Group I Falmouth Stakes July 11 at Newmarket and boasts a win in Hong Kong’s Group I Queen Elizabeth II Cup in the spring of 2006.
Also expected from overseas for the Beverly D. is the British-bred Dalvina, owned by St. Albans Bloodstock. In her last start June 21 during the Royal Ascot meeting, Dalvina rebounded to finish third in the Group II Ribblesdale Stakes after previously disappointing in the Group I Epsom Oaks June 1.
Heading the American-based Beverly D. candidates is Stronach Stable’s Citronnade, winner of Hollywood’s Grade II Beverly Hills Handicap in her last start July 1 and heroine of Hollywood’s Grade I Gamely before that on May 28.
Extremely dangerous among upcoming Beverly D. prospects is Glencrest Farm LLC’s Honey Ryder, who split former Arlington Million contestants English Channel and Better Talk Now when racing against males last time in Monmouth’s Grade I United Nations Stakes July 1. When matched against her own sex at previous asking May 26, Honey Ryder won Belmont’s Grade II Sheepshead Bay Handicap.
Arlington’s July 21 Grade III Modesty Handicap winner Jennie R., owned by Michael and Elaine Bojarski, Sam Belpedio, William Lloyd and Cherrywood Racing II, is also expected for the Beverly D., as is Martin Schwartz’s Lady of Venice, winner of Hollywood’s Grade II CashCall Mile July 6 and Lone Star’s Grade III Ouija Board Handicap May 28.
Among those expected from Europe for the Secretariat Stakes are Michael Tabor, Mrs. John Magnier and The Niarchos Family’s Admiralofthefleet, fifth when facing older horses in the Coral-Eclipse last time but winner of the Group II Royal Lodge Stakes at Ascot as a 2-year-old last fall; and German-bred Axxos, owned by Gestut Ittlingen, second in France’s Group I Grand Prix de Paris July 14 and winner of Germany’s Group II Oppenheim Union Rennen before that on June 10.
Other Europeans sophomores presently being pointed for the Secretariat are French-bred Shamdinan, owned by Triple B Farms and third in the Group I French Derby June 3; and Irish-bred Fleeting Shadow, owned by Dr. Ronan Lambe and fifth in France’s Group I Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere last fall as a juvenile.
However, when making their Atlantic crossing for the Secretariat, which also serves as the final leg of Arlington Park’s Mid-America Triple, those European sophomores are expected to meet Edward Evans’ Pleasant Strike, winner of the Grade III Arlington Classic as the first leg of the Triple June 23; and Adele Dilschneider and Claiborne Farm’s Lattice, hero of the Grade II American Derby as the Triple’s middle leg July 21.
Also due in to Chicago for the Secretariat are Kindred Thoroughbreds LLC’s Going Ballistic, second to Lattice in the American Derby; Peachtree Stable’s Red Giant, upset winner of Colonial Downs’ Grade II Virginia Derby July 21; Herman Heinlein’s Soldier’s Dancer, third in the Virginia Derby; and Everest Stables Inc.’s Mostacolli Mort, first under the wire in his last start at Hollywood on the grass July 1 but subsequently disqualified and placed fourth.
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 www.arlingtonpark.com.
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