Arlington Park Stakes Advance: American St. Leger
Contact: Brian W. Spencer
ELEVEN TO TEST GRADE III AMERICAN ST. LEGER’S MARATHON TRIP
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (August 12, 2015) – A solid field of eleven passed the entry box for Saturday’s Grade III $350,000 American St. Leger, to be run at 1 11/16 miles over Arlington’s world-famous turf course as part of Saturday’s International Festival of Racing featuring the Arlington Million presented by LiftMaster. The St. Leger will be the first leg of the $150,000 guaranteed Twinspires.com Late Pick 4 that concludes with three Grade I events: the Secretariat Stakes, the Beverly D. and the Arlington Million.
The top three finishers from the Grade III $100,000 Stars and Stripes on July 11 were entered in the St. Leger, led by Midwest Thoroughbreds’ Roger Brueggemann-trained The Pizza Man, although that Illinois-bred is more likely to start in Saturday’s Arlington Million than to break from post six with Florent Geroux in the St. Leger as the 3-1 morning-line favorite. Should his connections elect to run The Pizza Man in the St. Leger, he will be seeking a repeat in the event, having won the 2014 edition.
Stars and Stripes runner-up Roman Approval has found a home at marathon distances in recent starts for trainer Mike Maker and showed the strength of a 1 3/8-miles score against Belmont Park allowance company in June when returning in the Stars and Stripes and nearly wiring the field before yielding to The Pizza Man in the final strides. Owned by Three Diamonds Farms, the son of Roman Ruler is likely to show his early pace from post two with Joel Rosario aboard.
Mom Celine’s Argentine-bred Calvados was a tough-luck third in the Stars and Stripes when tracking the pace before lacking room in deep stretch. Once angled out, the Ignacio Correas-trained son of Snipewalk was taking ground away from the top pair nearing the wire and will seek redemption with a clean trip in the St. Leger. Jose Lezcano gets the return call from post nine.
Adding strength to the American contingent are Big Chief Racing’s Crucero and Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey’s Hyper. The former exits a 23-1 upset win in the Grade III San Juan Capistrano at 1 3/4 miles on the Santa Anita grass in June for trainer Keith Desormeaux and will be paired again with Kent Desormeaux from post four. The latter races from the barn of Chad Brown and has proven competitive against graded stakes competition at marathon distances. Hyper will be ridden for the first time by Irad Ortiz, Jr. from post seven.
The small but capable European assault is led by Team Valor International’s Panama Hat. A 4-year-old son of Medicean, the Andy Oliver trainee will look for his second win in a row after capturing the Lenebane Stakes at Roscommon in Ireland. The long-winded runner will look to prove his abilities against graded stakes company after falling short in a pair of Group III events in Ireland earlier this year. Chris Hayes will retain the mount from the rail.
Lucky Speed (Andrasch Starke, post three), Az Ridge (Geovanni Franco, post five), Xtra Luck (Brian Hernandez, Jr., post eight), Alpha Kitalpha(E. T. Baird, post 10), and Highball (Jose Valdivia, Jr., post 11) complete the American St. Leger field.
Arlington International Racecourse – the Chicago area’s premier Thoroughbred racetrack located in Arlington Heights, Ill. – will run a 77-day meet in 2015 from Friday, May 1 through Saturday, Sept. 26. Arlington International Racecourse, whose parent company is Churchill Downs Incorporated (Nasdaq: CHDN), also operates ten off-track, simulcast-wagering facilities in Arlington Heights, Aurora, Chicago, Waukegan, Villa Park, Rockford, South Elgin, Hodgkins, McHenry and Orland Hills. Arlington International Racecourse is a proud member of America’s Best Racing. Information on Arlington International Racecourse and Trackside OTB can be found online at www.arlingtonpark.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/arlingtonpark and www.facebook.com/tracksideotb, and on Twitter at @Arlington_Park for the latest happenings, @arlingtonracing for the latest racing news and @tracksideotb for all things pertaining to off-track wagering.