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Arlington Park

Arlington Park Barn Notes (8/9/08)

Contact: Graham Ross
graham.ross@arlingtonpark.com

In today's notes:

THREE RIDERS WITH CHANCE TO SWEEP ILLINOIS’ THREE GRADE I STAKES

Eight years ago, retired Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey put his personal stamp on the International Festival of Racing at Arlington Park when he became the first and only jockey in history to win the Grade I Arlington Million and the Grade I Beverly D. in the same year.

Since then, of course, the ultimate afternoon for a jockey during the one-day International Festival of Racing at Arlington Park would be to sweep the Million, the Beverly D. and the Grade I Secretariat Stakes on the second Saturday in August. Together, they are the only three Grade I events offered in Illinois on an annual basis and there are four jockeys with a chance to accomplish that sweep in 2008.

Rene Douglas, the only jockey in Chicago Thoroughbred racing history to win four straight jockey championships at Arlington Park, was Arlington’s leading rider last year and is far in front this season. The Panamian will ride Chrysalis Stables’ Silverfoot in the Arlington Million, G. Watts Humphrey Jr.’s Communique in the Beverly D. and Mr. and Mrs. Bertram Firestone’s Winchester in the Secretariat.

Silverfoot won Arlington’s Grade III Stars and Stripes Handicap July 4; Communique won Arlington’s Grade III Modesty Handicap July 12; and Winchester – although seventh in the Group I Irish Derby at last asking June 29 – hails from the barn of Ireland’s all-time leading trainer Dermot Weld.

Despite his local dominance, Douglas has never won the Million but has been close several times with lightly regarded contestants.

Robby Albarado – Arlington’s 1996 jockey champion – has the mount on Midnight Cry Stable’s Einstein in the Million, Runnymede Farm’s Meribel in the Beverly D. and Joseph Novogratz’ Snoose Goose in the Secretariat.

The 34-year-old native of Lafayette, Louisiana, won the 2007 Million aboard Kingfield Farms’ Canadian homebred Jambalaya and could become the first jockey in Arlington Million history to win the grass test two years in a row.

Einstein won the Grade I Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day May 3, and South Florida’s Grade I Gulfstream Park Turf last winter. The Brazilian-bred is considered the choice among the American-based Million runners.

Irish jockey champion Johnny Murtagh is listed in the saddle for Derrick Smith, Michael Tabor and Mrs. John Magnier’s Mount Nelson in the Arlington Million, the Marquesa de Moratella’s Toque de Queda in the Beverly D. and IEAH Stable and Michael Tabor’s Plan in the Secretariat Stakes.

Mount Nelson, who won Great Britain’s Group I Coral-Eclipse July 5 in his last start, becomes the first winner of that Ascot classic to challenge in the centerpiece race of the Chicago racing season.

Murtagh rode in his first Million last summer aboard Javier Martinez Salmean’s Doctor Dino and finished third.

FOUR TRAINERS WITH TWO STARTERS IN SATURDAY’S FESTIVAL 3

Although no trainer will saddle horses in all three of the International Festival of Racing’s Grade I troika, Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien, who already has 17 Group I wins to his credit this season, gets the chance to add two more Grade I races to that list.

O’Brien is represented by Derrick Smith, Michael Tabor and Mrs. John Magnier’s Mount Nelson in Arlington Million XXVI, and IEAH Stable and Michael Tabor’s Plan in the Secretariat Stakes, restricted to 3-year-olds of international grass caliber.

Conditioner Wayne Catalano, Arlington’s perennial trainer champion of recent seasons, will saddle Frank Calabrese’s Dreaming of Anna in Saturday’s Beverly D. Stakes as the Arlington Million’s sister race and Calabrese’s Prime Realestate in the Secretariat.

Trainer Frank Kirby, twice Arlington’s leading conditioner (30 years apart in 1974 and again in 2004), will saddle Chrysalis Stables’ Silverfoot in the Arlington Million and Iron Country Farms’ Ciao in the Beverly D.

Conditioner Rusty Arnold, based in Lexington but enjoying the best Arlington Park season of his career, is represented Saturday by Fab Oak Stable, Bobby Hurley and John Goldthorpe’s Stream Cat in the Million and G. Watts Humphrey Jr.’s Communique in the Beverly D. Stream Cat finished in a dead-heat for fourth in last summer’s Arlington Million.

Trainer Helen Pitts, based in Louisville, will saddle Midnight Cry Stable’s Einstein in the Arlington Million as the American-based choice in Chicago’s centerpiece event, and Runnymede Farm’s Meribel in the Beverly D.

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