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Arlington International Festival of Racing Notes (8/17/14)

Contact: Michael Adolphson

In today's notes:


Hardest Core
Hardest Core - Photo courtesy Four Footed Fotos
Andrew Bentley Stable’s Hardest Core has exited the effort of his life in fine form, according to trainer Eddie Graham. The son of Hard Spun left early Sunday morning to head back to his Mid-Atlantic base after beating five Group I or Grade I winners to win the majority of the Arlington Million XXXII purse.

“He cooled out great,” Graham reported. “He ate up and he’s happy. That’s a great thing.

“Arlington seems like a big galloping course,” Graham reflected. “It didn’t stop his momentum and he really liked it out there. He’s a very straight forward horse. He’ll let you know how he’s doing just by how he acts. We all joke and call him the big strong beast.”

The bay gelding had to close his final quarter in about :23.40 for his connections in order to run down favored Grade I Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Magician in the final yards. “When he ran at Delaware Park (in the $50,000 Cape Henlopen Stakes), he ran his last half-mile in :47 flat and he wasn’t even being asked. He just has done everything right. We knew he was training well even if he was going up in class. All he knew (going in) was that he had won three in a row; he didn’t know about the field and he ran his race.”

Being a Breeders’ Cup Challenge Win & You’re In event for the Turf, the Million opens some appealing doors for Hardest Core. “I won’t know what’s next for him until I evaluate him, but we’ll look at the Breeders’ Cup,” Graham said. “It’s a chance of a lifetime and we’ll figure out the best way to maybe get there.”


The Pizza Man
The Pizza Man - Photo courtesy Four Footed Fotos
Midwest Thoroughbreds’ The Pizza Man exited his huge win in the Listed $400,000 American St. Leger in fine order, according to conditioner Roger Brueggemann. The Illinois-bred son of English Channel seized command with about a half-mile to go and won in a home crowd-amplified drive over defending champ Dandino.

“So far, he’s fine,” Brueggemann reported. “Everything came out well. He’s been training really well this year. After a little break at the farm, he was happy and was moving forward.”

After winning the Grade III $150,000 Stars and Stripes five weeks prior as a prep wire to wire, the Illinois-bred champion was able to sit off a stiff pace set by California invader Big Kick before sensing that horse’s fatigue and pouncing with aplomb en route to victory. “We didn’t have a plan of where to be – we just let the race unfold and let him run his race and relax,” Brueggemann explained. “He did the rest.”

Winning such a marathon race over a strong European contingent opens interesting possibilities for the local hero. Obvious spots include the Grade I Northern Dancer at Woodbine over 12 furlongs or the Grade III Kentucky Turf Cup – both in September.

“We’ll just see how things play out,” Brueggemann said. “We’ll find something for him, but we’ll just have to see where we can take him.”


Team Valor International’s Grade I $750,000 Beverly D. winner Euro Charline has exited her victory over her elders in good order, according to the International Racing Bureau. The daughter of Myboycharlie is scheduled to leave the care of Marco Botti and embark on a career in America for trainer Todd Pletcher. Team Valor, which recently started sending horses to other conditioners than its previous private conditioner Rick Mettee, plans to spread its horses to various outfits, including locally based Wayne Catalano. The next goal for the notoriously volatile bay filly is the Grade I Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland in October.

Coolmore’s Grade I Secretariat Stakes winner Adelaide exited his first success at the highest level in good order, according to the International Racing Bureau. The son of Galileo was an exciting winner, carrying Ryan Moore out into the middle of the course while maintaining a victorious edge over Tourist. Owned in part by Australian interests, the sophomore is nominated to various classics Down Under, including the Group I Cox Plate this fall.

- END -

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