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|Arlington Park Barn Notes (8/7/08)
Contact: Graham Ross
In today's notes:
Kamel Chehboub’s Spirit One, the French-bred and French-campaigned European invader for Saturday’s Grade I Arlington Million, cantered once around Arlington’s Polytrack course Thursday morning before a more serious second circle that concluded with a strong half-mile breeze in :49.
Owner Chehboub and trainer Philippe Demercastel were on hand to watch the move in advance of the showcase race of the Chicago Thoroughbred racing season that was accomplished under exercise rider Emmanuel Diard.
Spirit One most recently finished second by three-quarters in Longchamp’s Group III La Coupe Stakes June 14, but accounted for the Group III Prix Exbury at Saint-Cloud in March and gave world renowned Duke of Marmalade a challenge in the Group I Prix Ganay in April.
“We didn’t make this trip for nothing,” said the trainer immediately following the move while speaking through translator Francois Dupuis. “The horse looks very happy, so we’re very happy. The two European horses are very strong, but we like our horse as well.”
Demercastel is at Arlington for the second time in his career. His first trip came 26 years ago while an assistant to Andre Fabre when that French conditioner brought Al Nasr to the 1982 Arlington Million. Chehboub is a dried-fruit importer and a native of Tunisia.
Midnight Cry Stable’s Einstein – considered America’s strongest hope for a victory in Saturday’s Grade I Arlington Million – visited Arlington Park’s Polytrack course Thursday morning with trainer Helen Pitts astride.
The Brazilian-bred son of 1985 Kentucky Derby winner Spend a Buck was first galloped with a pony, turned back and went to the gate, was backed out of the gate after standing briefly, and then galloped strongly around the oval without the pony.
Einstein’s impressive runs this season include a victory in the Grade I Woodford Reserve Turf Classic on Kentucky Derby Day May 3 and an earlier score in South Florida’s Grade I Gulfstream Park Turf Classic last winter.
Other Arlington Million updates Thursday morning included a short gallop by early Million favorite and Group I Queen Elizabeth II winner Archipenko, a once-around gallop by Gary Tanaka’s Grade III Golden Gate Turf winner Sudan, and a long gallop by S J Stables’ Grade I Canadian International hero Cloudy’s Knight.
Mr. and Mrs. Bertram Firestone’s Winchester, one of two European-based invaders for Saturday’s Grade I Secretariat Stakes, was introduced to Arlington’s world famous turf course Thursday morning and galloped one and a half times around under exercise rider Jeff Byrne.
In his last trip to the post June 29 at The Curragh, Winchester finished seventh in the Group I Irish Derby. However, he hails from the barn of Ireland’s all-time leading trainer Dermot Weld, who has saddled three winners of Arlington’s Grade II American Derby.
Other pre-Secretariat gallops were accomplished by Sand and Cee Stables’ $152,000 Toronto Cup winner Secret Getaway under trainer Mike Stidham’s chief assistant Hilary Pridham, and Richard Ravin’s $150,000 Arlington Classic contestant Strait of Mewsina, trained by Larry Rivelli.
The Rothschild Family’s Cicerole and the Marquesa de Moratalla’s Toque de Queda, a pair of French-based 4-year-old fillies invading for Saturday’s Grade I Beverly D. Stakes, each visited Arlington’s training track Thursday morning for brief exercise after clearing quarantine following a Tuesday flight from Paris.
Cicerole, trained by Jean Claude Rouget, has finished first or second in her last six starts, while Toque de Queda, conditioned by Mikel Delzangles, was most recently fourth in France’s Group III Prix Messidor at Maisons-Laffitte July 19.
Other Beverly D. Thursday updates included a gallop by Frank Calabrese’s Eclipse Award winner Dreaming of Anna with trainer Wayne Catalano in the irons, a once-around gallop by Robert Scarborough’s two-time Belmont Park Grade II winner Mauralakana, a once-around gallop by Runnymede Farm’s multiple graded stakes-placed Meribel with trainer Helen Pitts in the saddle, as well as a turf course gallop by Iron County Farm’s Grade III Modesty Handicap third-place runner Ciao.
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