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Arlington Park

Arlington Park Barn Notes (8/5/09)

Contact: Graham Ross
graham.ross@arlingtonpark.com

In today's notes:

FESTIVAL’S EUROPEAN INVADERS STRETCH THEIR LEGS WEDNESDAY

Irish-bred Cima de Triomphe, third choice at 9-2 in the morning line for Saturday’s Grade I Arlington Million but favored among the three European invaders, completed a seven-furlong canter over Arlington’s world famous turf course Wednesday morning in advance of his first American start in the showcase race of the Chicago Thoroughbred racing season.

Owned by Teruya Yoshida, Cima de Triomphe ran fourth in the Group I Coral-Eclipse Stakes at Great Britain’s Sandown Park at last asking July 4, but won the Group III Brigadier Gerard Stakes at that same oval May 28. Internationally renowned trainer Luca Cumani, born in Italy 60 years ago, saddled Tolomeo to be the first European-based horse to win the Arlington Million 26 years ago, and is also the conditioner of Cima de Triomphe.

Charlie Henson, Cumani’s head traveling lad, accompanied Cima de Triomphe on his Atlantic crossing last weekend and will supervise the handsome gray colt’s activities until Cumani’s arrival Friday evening.

“He’s a happy camper,” said Henson as he watched Cima de Triomphe bucking his way around the course during the canter under French-Madagascan exercise rider Michel Rakotoarigoa. “We’re very pleased with him and how he’s doing. He traveled well and he’s had no problems since we got here. Right now, the plan is to just keep cantering him the rest of the week but we will assess that situation day by day.”

Although fourth in the Coral-Eclipse, Cima de Triomphe’s conquerors that day included in respective order: Sea The Stars, Europe’s top sophomore; Rip Van Winkle, most recently winner of Goodwood’s Group I Sussex Stakes; and Conduit, hero of last year’ Breeders’ Cup Turf and this year’s Group I King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot. French-born jockey Christophe Lemaire, aboard Cima de Triomphe in his last three starts, will be in the irons once again Saturday.

Stefan Friborg’s Gloria de Campeao, another European invader and fourth choice at 5-1 in the Arlington Million morning line, stretched his legs on the training track at 6:30 Wednesday morning. That Brazilian-bred won the Group I Singapore Airlines International Cup in his last start May 17 and was runner-up in the Grade I Dubai World Cup last March 28.

Peter Harris’s Stotsfold, the third European Arlington Million runner, cantered over Arlington’s Polytrack course early Wednesday morning.

Mrs. Alec Head’s Denomination, one of three European-based fillies invading Chicago for Saturday’s Grade I Beverly D. Stakes as the Arlington Million’s sister race, stretched her legs over Arlington Park’s training track early Wednesday morning.

Conditioned by Criquette Head-Maarek, Denomination was the winner of France’s Group III Prix Vanteaux April 26 and was most recently third by a neck in the Group III Prix Chloe July 5.

Head-Maarek, daughter of the owner, saddled Maktoum Al Maktoum’s Hatoof to win the 1994 Beverly D.

SECRETARIAT STAKES RUNNER QUITE A HANDFUL WELL-NAMED

Jean and Ted Barlas and Michael Porcaro’s Quite a Handful, runner-up in the $211,000 Oliver Stakes at last asking July 7, has been installed at 20-1 in the morning line for Saturday’s Grade I Secretariat Stakes, but no matter how he runs – he’s already lived up to his name.

Arlington-based trainer Andy Hansen and the owners picked him out of a catalogue in a 2-year-olds in training sale at OBS in June of 2008, went by the barn to take a look at him, then looked at each other and said, “Wow!” Then they went back and looked at the tapes of his breeze recorded for the sale.

“He had gone three-eighths in :36 or :35 or something like that,” Hansen recalled Wednesday morning, “but they didn’t beat up on him at all. That’s what impressed me. He was doing it easy. He just looked the part of a good horse.”

Hansen, 46, a native of Omaha, Nebraska, has had plenty of time to learn to assess horseflesh. The former jockey originally came to Chicago as a gallop boy for the late revered trainer Gene Cilio, but went out on his own after Cilio’s death in 2003.

Asked how Quite a Handful (a chestnut son of Mutakddim out of Silent King) got his name, Hansen answered quickly: “Because that’s just what he is.

“When they brought him out of his stall at the sale, at first he had handlers on both sides of him,” Hansen said. “Then when I had them jog him back and forth outside the barn so I could see what kind of action he had, I really couldn’t tell because he kept turning around to try and bite the kid who was leading him. I liked that (spirit) about him, and so did Ted Barlas.

“I owe a lot to Ted (Barlas),” said Hansen of his longtime owner. “He’s a Chicago native who is in the insurance business and has been a supporter of my career since I went out on my own in 2003. Mike (Porcaro) is in the publishing business and is just starting up a new magazine here in town. He lives right here near the racetrack. I’m very happy they are the owners of this horse. He’s by far the best horse I’ve ever had since I started training on my own.”

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