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Arlington Park

Arlington Million & International Festival of Racing Barn Notes (8/19/10)

Contact: Graham Ross

In today's notes:


Shadwell Stable’s Tazeez and Darley Stud Management’s Debussy, a prominent pair of European invaders for Saturday’s Arlington Million who are both trained by British conditioner John Gosden, cantered once around Arlington’s main track Thursday about 7 am.

Astride Debussy for the relaxed move was Scottish-born exercise rider Sally Mitchelhill, who won a number of races at Arlington in the fall of 2007 as an apprentice jockey. Tazeez followed shortly behind with British-born Barry Savage, also a former jockey, handling the reins.

Trainer Gosden will not arrive in Chicago until Friday evening, but head travelling lad Les Reynolds updated the status of both Million runners later Thursday morning.

“They both travelled extremely well,” said Reynolds. “Debussy has done it (shipped internationally) all before, but it’s a little bit more of a new experience for Tazeez. He was looking around a little bit out there this morning, but Debussy was completely focused. Both horses have been eating and drinking well and have got everything back in them that the journey might have taken away.”

Tazeez, a 6-year-old son of Silver Hawk, probably ran his best race so far this year when he finished third, beaten a length and a quarter for the win, in Great Britain’s Group I Prince of Wales’s Stakes June 16 during the prestigious Royal Ascot meeting.

Debussy finished fourth behind fellow European Million invader Summit Surge in his last start at York in the Group II Sky Bet York Stakes July 24, but was significantly compromised when the rider lost his whip in the late going.

Both Tazeez and Debussy are scheduled to school in the paddock after Friday’s second race, as is defending Arlington Million champion Gio Ponti, owned by Castleton Lyons.


Castleton Lyons’ Gio Ponti, seeking to become the first horse in Arlington Million history to win back-to-back renewals of Chicago Thoroughbred racing’s showcase event, went to the main track early Thursday morning for a routine gallop.

“We just wanted him to stretch his legs a little bit,” said Christophe Lorieul, trainer Christophe Clement’s assistant who accompanied Gio Ponti to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport Wednesday on an uneventful flight from Albany, New York.

“We took him to the track early this morning to try and beat the heat,” said Lorieul, like Clement a French-born but American-based horseman. “He posed for a few photos in the paddock and then we trained him.

“We will gallop at 6 o’clock tomorrow (Friday) morning as well,” said Lorieul. “With him it is very important to try and beat the heat.

“The most important task is to keep Gio Ponti happy and calm in this Chicago heat,” concluded Lorieul. “We are just going to try to keep him happy and together.”

During the last part of his van ride from the airport Wednesday, Gio Ponti was accompanied by an Arlington Heights police escort with sirens blaring and lights flashing. After passing through Arlington’s gates, the Million’s defending champion was greeted by a fanfare played by bugler Jean Laurenz.

Shortly after noon Thursday but well before the day’s races, Gio Ponti schooled in the paddock under the supervision of Lorieul, and will receive another schooling session in the paddock after Friday’s second race.

Later Thursday afternoon, Beverly D. candidates Gypsy’s Warning, owned by Team Valor International and Green Lantern Stable, as well as Treat Gently, owned by Juddmonte Farms, schooled during Thursday’s second race.

Also on Friday, Beverly D. candidate Éclair de Lune, owned by Richard Duchossois, will school after the first race.


European trainer Gerard Butler was on the Arlington Park grounds Thursday morning to sing the praises of his Beverly D. runner Pachattack, owned by Michael Deegan.

The $750,000 Beverly D., known as the Arlington Million’s sister race, will be run Saturday along with the Arlington Million and the $400,000 Secretariat Stakes as the only three Grade I races offered in Illinois on an annual basis.

“So far, things are going very, very well,” said Butler. “She traveled well, and has been very enthusiastic in her training lately. She’s drinking plenty of water and is having no trouble with the feed part of her program.

“She has won her last two starts impressively,” said Butler. “In the first one (listed EBF Hoppings Stakes at Newcastle June 24) she raced in front all the way, but in that last start (listed EBF Chalice Stakes at Newbury Aug. 1) she came from off the pace and dug down deep to get there at the wire.”


Thoroughbred racing fans in town for Saturday’s International Festival of Racing at Arlington Park are reminded that the second annual “Dining with the Dynasty” fundraiser will be held Friday, giving fans the opportunity to spend the afternoon in Arlington’s brand new Longshots Sports Bar with the legendary jockeys who will include Triple Crown winners Ron Turcotte and Jean Cruguet; Hall of Famers such as Laffit Pincay Jr., Pat Day, Earlie Fires, John Rotz, Bill Boland and Randy Romero (inducted last week); as well as other legendary riders such as Mark Guidry, Ray Sibille and top female jockey Patti Cooksey.

Tickets for “Dining with the Dynasty” are still available at $99, with proceeds going to benefit the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF) and the Racetrack Chaplaincy of America (RTCA).

- END -

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