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Arlington Park

Arlington Park Barn Notes (8/7/09)

Contact: Graham Ross

In today's notes:


Several new faces from Europe appeared on the Arlington apron Friday morning during training hours, one day in advance of the Chicago oval’s showcased International Festival of Racing Saturday afternoon.

Frenchman Pascal Bary was there for the first time this season to see his Brazilian-bred Arlington Million challenger Gloria de Campeao put in a steady canter over Arlington’s Polytrack course ahead of fellow French invaders Alnadana and Denomination, in town briefly to contest Saturday’s Beverly D. as the Arlington Million’s sister race.

The 27th running of the Arlington Million, which annually attracts some of the world’s best turf horses, will go to the post late in the afternoon Saturday, preceded by the 20th anniversary edition of the Grade I Beverly D. Stakes for the world’s best grass-favoring fillies and mares and the 33rd running of the Grade I Secretariat Stakes, restricted to 3-year-olds of international turf caliber.

Together, the only three Grade I races contested in Illinois on an annual basis make up Arlington’s one-day International Festival of Racing, and Saturday’s Arlington Million gets added international prestige because the winner will receive an invitation to the Group I Japan Cup when it is run in Tokyo later in the year.

Gloria de Campeao, owned by international sportsman Stefan Friborg, won the Group I Singapore Airlines International Cup at last asking May 17, and was runner-up in the Grade I Dubai World Cup before that on March 28. The 6-year-old horse has been installed as the 5-1 fourth choice in the Arlington Million morning line. The veteran equine bay globetrotter looked in good form, and Pascal Bary seemed happy with what he saw after his horse completed a three-eighths breeze in :39.

“Everything has gone well,” said Bary. “He was in good shape coming up to (Saturday’s Million), and he seems to have taken the travel well. But he’s an experienced traveler anyway.”

Walter Swinburn, victorious at Arlington in the Beverly D. aboard the Criquette Head-trained Hatoof in 1994, was back at Arlington Friday morning in a different role as the trainer of Peter Harris’s Million hope Stotsfold.

Swinburn had Stotsfold’s big race jockey Adam Kirby aboard for his final breeze over Arlington’s Polytrack, completing the final quarter in :24.50, a piece of work that satisfied the trainer.

“The time is unimportant,” said Swinburn. “It’s how he looked when he did it. When he’s well he grabs into his bridle, and that’s what he did today.”

Jockey Kirby, who will turn 21 exactly two weeks after the Million and, like Stotsfold, a British-born athlete, was similarly pleased when confronted at Arlington’s Quarantine Barn shortly after the move.

“He’s very well, and he felt good today,” Kirby said. “He might surprise a few of them.”


Lewis Lakin’s Pure Clan, the 3-1 morning line choice for Saturday’s Beverly D. Stakes as the Arlington Million’s equivalent for equine members of the distaff set, is on the grounds at the Chicago oval although her trainer Bob Holthus is not due in until Saturday morning.

As the heroine of Arlington’s Grade III Modesty Handicap in the final local prep for the Beverly D. exactly four weeks ago, Pure Clan appears ready to meet her American rivals once again but could face serious competition from three European-based fillies as well as one other based in Canada.

“(Pure Clan) has had a couple of good works recently at Churchill,” said Holthus, speaking over the phone from Louisville Friday morning and specifying a five-furlong breeze in 1:01 Aug. 1 under the Twin Spires. “She should be ready against those she ran against in the Modesty, but this looks like a tougher race.

“(California invader) Black Mamba looks like a really good mare, and you never know about the Europeans,” Holthus said. “They look like they really have good records and they’ve always done well when they’ve come here in past years.”

Top Southern California trainer John Sadler, who currently tops the Del Mar standings with nine victories, was on hand Friday morning at Arlington to oversee final preparations for Doubledown Stables’ Black Mamba as well of those of Grade I Secretariat Stakes runner Oil Man, owned by Tommy Town Thoroughbreds and Michael Talla.

“Being from California, we’re hoping for firm turf,” said Sadler in reference to Chicago weather reports that call for a chance of rain Friday and Saturday. “That doesn’t mean they won’t do okay on soft ground, but it’s not what we would choose.

“(Black Mamba) doesn’t have a bad race on her form,” said Sadler. “She’ll run all day, and I think she’ll like the wide sweeping turns here.

“Also, Oil Man will have no problems with the distance of the Secretariat,” Sadler said. “He didn’t get a good trip in the American Derby, but on Saturday we have Garrett Gomez riding him along with Black Mamba. If Oil Man has some good luck, I’m sure he will be right there.”


Irish-bred Black Bear Island, lone European invader for Saturday’s Grade I Secretariat Stakes as the final leg of Arlington’s Mid-America Triple, visited Arlington’s Polytrack course Friday morning with exercise rider Vicky Kite in the irons.

The sophomore son of Sadler’s Wells was recently bought by the California-based partnership of R. D. Hubbard, Robert Masterson and Edward Allred and will remain in this country under conditioner Julio Canani but will have Aidan O’Brien listed as his trainer for the Secretariat.

Mrs. Alec Head’s Denomination, seeking to become the first sophomore filly to win the Grade I Beverly D. Stakes, breezed three-eighths Friday morning in :39.60, while her fellow European-based Beverly D. rival – His Highness the Aga Khan’s Studs’ Alnadana – accomplished the same breeze in :39.40.

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