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Arlington Park

Arlington Park Barn Notes (8/5/10)

Contact: Graham Ross
graham.ross@arlingtonpark.com

In today's notes:

GIO PONTI GOING FOR TWO IN GRADE I ARLINGTON MILLION AUG. 21

Castleton Lyons’ Gio Ponti, defending champion in the Grade I Arlington Million, will try to become the first horse in history to win back-to-back renewals of the showcase event of the Chicago Thoroughbred racing season to be contested Aug. 21.

In an e-mail sent to Arlington’s racing office, trainer Christophe Clement’s assistant Christophe Lorieul advised, “Gio Ponti will be coming for the Arlington Million as of now.”

Gio Ponti’s connections had been considering both the upcoming Million and the Grade I Pacific Classic at Del Mar Aug. 28 prior to indicating a preference in the e-mail sent Wednesday afternoon to Arlington from Clement’s office.

“(Gio Ponti) worked yesterday (Aug. 4 going five furlongs in 1:03.40 over a Saratoga turf course rated firm) and I was very happy with the way he went,” trainer Christophe Clement said Thursday morning while speaking at Saratoga. “He will have a more aggressive work next week and then we will head to the Arlington Million.”

Officially, no horse in the Million’s 28-year-history has been credited with back-to-back wins in the internationally coveted grass test over Arlington’s world famous turf course.

Mrs. John Magnier’s Powerscourt was first under the wire in the 2004 Million before being disqualified and placed fourth for interference in the stretch. However, in the 2005 Million, that same British-bred trained by Aidan O’Brien proved best by three lengths and that result was allowed to stand.

Dotsam Stable’s John Henry is the only horse to date to be credited with two Arlington Million wins, but they were not in successive seasons. Conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Ron McAnally, John Henry captured the inaugural Million in 1981 and returned to the winner’s circle as a 9-year-old after the 1984 edition.

GRADE I SECRETARIAT STAKES AUG. 21: ‘HOPS’ ON TAP

Estrorace LLC’s Workin for Hops, winner of the 75th renewal of the $100,000 Arlington Classic May 22 and the 96th running of the Grade II American Derby July 17 as the first two legs of Arlington’s Mid-America Triple, remains on track for an attempt to sweep the Triple with a tally in Arlington’s Grade I Secretariat Stakes Aug. 21.

“(Workin for Hops) is doing great,” said conditioner Mike Stidham Wednesday morning during training hours. “He had a work last Saturday (a half-mile in 48 flat) and we thought it was a very nice work. He looked happy and healthy doing it. We’ll probably give him two more works before the Secretariat.”

Should he win the Secretariat, Workin for Hops would become the fourth horse to sweep the Mid-America Triple, joining Powhatan’s Tom Rolfe in 1965, Odgen Phipps’ Buckpasser in 1966 and Robert Schaedle III’s Honor Glide in 1997.

TIZAQUEENA NOW ‘UNLIKELY’ FOR GRADE I BEVERLY D. AUG. 21

Darley Stables’ Tizaqueena, winner of the Grade III Arlington Matron May 29 but most recently fourth beaten a length and a quarter in Monmouth’s Grade III Matchmaker Stakes on Aug. 1, is now unlikely to attempt a run in the Grade I Beverly D. Stakes Aug. 21.

“We probably won’t be running in the Beverly D.,” said trainer Mike Stidham Wednesday in reference to the Arlington Million’s sister race restricted to internationally prominent grass-favoring fillies and mares.

Tizaqueena finished fourth in last summer’s Beverly D., a length and a half behind the victorious Dynaforce, owned by Dr. John Chandler and conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott.

STOTSFOLD DIES SUDDENLY AT NEWMARKET WEDNESDAY MORNING

Peter Harris’s Stotsfold, who finished third a length and a quarter behind Castleton Lyons’ victorious Gio Ponti in the 2009 Arlington Million, died suddenly Wednesday morning at Newmarket of colic-related complications.

In his last start July 2, Stotsfold won the $56,000 Gala Stakes at Sandown and before that captured Sandown’s Grade III Brigadier Gerard Stakes on May 27.

The 7-year-old British-bred gelding was being pointed for the upcoming Arlington Million Aug. 21, but was withdrawn from his final prep in the Group II Sky Bet York Stakes at York July 24 when the colic symptoms first occurred hours before that race.

Owner Harris described Stotsfold’s death as a “devastating blow,” when speaking of the much-traveled stable favorite who was trained by former European star jockey Walter Swinburn.

- END -

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