Arlington International Barn Notes (6/13/13)
Contact: Michael Adolphson
In today's notes:
GENERAL ELECTION ON TARGET FOR AMERICAN DERBY, SECRETARIAT
WinStar Farm’s Grade III $150,000 Arlington Classic winner General Election is on target to take a stab at becoming only the second winner of the Mid-America Triple in its current all-turf configuration. The only other horse to win all three – Grade III Arlington Classic, Grade III American Derby and Grade I Secretariat Stakes – was Honor Glide in 1997. That Bonnie Heath homebred won his first stakes in the Arlington Classic and would go on to win graded stakes through his 7-year-old season – including two Grade Is.
“That’s our next plan,” said trainer Kellyn Gorder. “He’s been training really well. We’re really happy with how he came out of the race.” The trainer has entered the colt this weekend in the Centaur Stakes at Indiana Downs. Whether or not the colt runs in Shelbyville will conceivably have little bearing on his chances of competing in the American Derby, which is still four weeks away.
Gorder is eager to see his charge run once again at Arlington International Racecourse after being thoroughly impressed by the colt’s performance in the Arlington Classic. On May 25, the colt defeated a large and talented field, while widening his advantage over the competition at the finish line. “I think he’ll like the added distance and he really likes that track,” he stated.
In what was his first start on turf, the bay thrived with a strong kick under Joe Rocco, Jr. “I think he’s better on the grass. I really do. I like the way he moved on it. He was more fluid and his kick was stronger,” said Gorder.
General Election is a son of Harlan’s Holiday, a star on the main track, but who has produced many quality grass horses, including multiple Arlington graded turf stakes winner Willcox Inn. His female side is lush with turf influences through his dam Menekineko. By one of the best turf stallions of the last few decades, three-time Group I-winning Kingmambo (a son of two-time Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Miesque), Menekineko is out of the Canadian turf stakes winner Maison Close.
Gorder, a relatively young trainer in his early 40s, was previously the farm trainer for WinStar Farm. “I started training about six years ago on my own. Before that, I worked for WinStar by starting all their young horses on the farm. Then, I went on my own and they started supporting me with some horses. They’ve always given me one or two. I’d say I’ve had a working relationship with WinStar for 10-12 years,” the trainer added.
The talented conditioner became intimately familiar with what quality horseflesh looks like during his tenure at WinStar. “The first good one I developed was Bluegrass Cat,” Gorder said of the Haskell Invitational winner who also finished second in the Kentucky Derby, Belmont Stakes and Travers Stakes.
Gorder continued, “I also worked with such great horses as (Dubai World Cup winner) Well Armed, (Haskell winner) Any Given Saturday, (Breeders’ Cup Classic winner) Drosselmeyer, (Breeders’ Cup Mile winner) Court Vision, and (Kentucky Derby winner) Super Saver. I’m sure I’m forgetting a few, but there were some great ones.”
General Election, an extremely efficient mover with an attractive white blaze like his sire, shows similarities to one of those stars. “He reminds me a little bit of Court Vision. He’s not a super-tall horse, but is so well balanced. He has settled so well as he’s matured and relaxes behind horses so well, now. His kick is very strong, like Court Vision’s was, too,” the trainer added.
Court Vision, a winner of five Grade I turf events, not only won the Breeders’ Cup Mile on the Churchill Downs turf in 2011, but also finished a close fourth behind the iconic racemare Goldikova in that same event in 2009 at Santa Anita Park – the same venue as this year’s Breeders’ Cup World Championships. Though campaign goals are not yet that high for Gorder’s colt, the first big ballot is a quality one.
“Obviously, if he’s good enough we’d love to win the Secretariat,” the trainer aspired. With an impressive win in one of the local primaries and a candidate with forward momentum, Gorder and WinStar have every right to win the popular vote of the Arlington fans come July 13.
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