Arlington Park Road to the Million (7/28/10)
Contact: Graham Ross
LADY JANE DIGBY LIKELY TO FACE BOYS IN ARLINGTON MILLION; ALLYBAR, SUMMIT SURGE AMONG OTHER EUROPEANS EXPECTED
Kirsten Rausing’s Lady Jane Digby, a 5-year-old mare who drew clear late for a one-length score against male rivals in last Sunday’s Group I Grosser Dallmayr-Preis Bayerisches-Zuchtrennen at Germany’s Munich Racecourse, is now expected to challenge the boys once again in the Grade I Arlington Million in Chicago on Aug. 21.
As the Bayerisches-Zuchtrennen winner, the British homebred daughter of Oasis Dream gets a “Festival Free Pass” to Arlington Million XXVIII, one of three Grade I races along with the $750,000 Beverly D. and $400,000 Secretariat Stakes that make up Arlington’s International Festival of Racing on the third Saturday in August. Together, those three races are the only Grade I races offered in Illinois on an annual basis.
Trainer Mark Johnston has already indicated that Arlington Million is next up on Lady Jane Digby’s dance card, with a possible second North American start in Canada’s Grade I E. P. Taylor Stakes at Woodbine to follow on Oct. 16.
Should Lady Jane Digby be victorious in the Million, she would join Allen Paulson’s 1986 Arlington Million heroine Estrapade as the only other mare to capture the centerpiece race of the Chicago Thoroughbred racing season.
Before last Sunday’s score in Germany, Lady Jane Digby had finished third in Great Britain’s Group II Lancashire Oaks at Haydock July 3 and was sixth in the Group III Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown May 27.
However, several other European-based horses have recently been added to the list of those slated to make the Atlantic crossing for the Arlington Million, run at a mile and a quarter over Arlington’s world famous turf course.
Godolphin’s Allybar, an Irish-bred colt who finished third beaten a head for the win behind Gloria de Campeao in the Grade I Emirates Air Dubai World Cup March 27 at Meydan in the United Arab Emirates, was beaten 2 3/4-lengths in last Saturday’s Group II Sky Bet York Stakes at Great Britain’s York racecourse. Trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni is expected to ship Allybar to the United States for the Arlington Million.
Also slated for the Million at this time is William Bellew’s Summit Surge, best by a length and a quarter in last Saturday’s Group II affair over the Knavesmire at York. Previously, the 6-year-old Irish-bred gelding finished second behind 2007 Arlington Million contestant Pressing in Italy’s Group II Carlo Vittadini last May 30 in Milan. Trained by Luca Cumani, Summit Surge won Ireland’s Group III Amethyst Stakes at Leopardstown in May of 2009.
Khalid Abdullah’s British-bred Famous Name, best by two and a half lengths in Ireland’s Group III Meld Stakes at Leopardstown July 22 and best by a nose in this year’s Amethyst Stakes May 9, is now undefeated in three starts this year and trainer Dermot Weld is considering the Arlington Million for his next start.
British-based trainer John Gosden, conditioner of H. R. H. Princess Haya of Jordan’s Irish-bred Debussy as well as Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s Kentucky-bred Tazeez, is considering the Arlington Million for both of those horses and has completed their necessary blood work prior to their European departure. Debussy was fourth in last weekend’s Sky Bet York Stakes after the rider lost his whip in the stretch, and Tazeez weakened late to finish third in the 12-furlong Group II Princess of Wales’s Stakes at Newmarket July 8 in his last start.
Peter Harris’s British-bred Stotsfold, third in last year’s Arlington Million, was sidelined by an attack of colic right before last Saturday’s York Stakes and is now out of this year’s renewal, as is Stiftung Gestut Fahrhoff’s German-bred Querari, who ran poorly in last Sunday’s Bayerisches-Zuctrennen after winning Italy’s Group I Presidente della Repubblica May 16.
European-based possibilities for Arlington’s 1 3/16-miles Beverly D. Stakes as the Arlington Million’s sister race now include Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum’s Marie de Medici, a daughter of Medicean who was sixth in Sandown’s listed Coral Distaff Stakes July 3 but winner of the listed Stanjames Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket May 2; as well as Alan D. Spence’s Irish-bred Bikini Babe, a daughter of Montjeu who was sixth in the listed EBF Lyric Stakes in her last start July 23 but second in Meydan’s $250,000 UAE Oaks Feb. 25. Both 3-year-old fillies are trained by Mark Johnston and are expected to run at Goodwood this week.
European-based sophomores now being considered for the 10-furlong Secretariat Stakes are Joseph Allen’s Vertiformer, a sophomore son of Dynaformer trained by Jean-Claude Rouget who won the listed Prix de Dives Stakes at Deauville July 7; Gestut Ittlinger’s German-bred 3-year-old colt Neatico, trained by Peter Schiergen, who finished 10th in the Group I Deutsches Derby at Hamburg July 18 but was the winner of the Group III Herzog von Ratibor Rennen last November; as well as M. B. Hawtin’s Irish-bred Wigmore Hall, a 3-year-old High Chaparral gelding trained by Michael Bell who won the $226,000 John Smith’s Cup July 10.
The Secretariat Stakes is the final leg of Arlington’s Mid-America Triple. Estrorace LLC’s Workin for Hops completed the first two legs of the Triple with wins in the 75th renewal of the Arlington Classic May 22 and the Grade II American Derby on July 17.
Arlington Park – the Chicago area’s premier Thoroughbred racetrack located in Arlington Heights, Ill. – will run a 91-day meet in 2010 from Thursday, April 29 through Sunday, Sept. 26. Arlington Park, whose parent company is Churchill Downs Incorporated (Nasdaq: CHDN), also operates 11 off-track, simulcast-wagering facilities: Trackside Arlington Park (Arlington Heights), Trackside Chicago, Trackside Quad City Downs (East Moline), Trackside Waukegan, Shooters Bar & Grill at Don Carter Lanes featuring Trackside Rockford, Fat Sam’s Bar & Grill featuring Trackside OTB in Lockport, Lucky’s featuring Trackside OTB in South Elgin, Nicolino’s featuring Trackside OTB in McHenry, Tad’s Sports Bar & Grill featuring Trackside OTB in South Beloit, Salerno-Pincente Ristorante featuring Trackside OTB in Hodgkins and Sundance Saloon featuring Trackside OTB in Waukegan. Information on Arlington Park can be found online at www.arlingtonpark.com.