Arlington Park Stakes Advance: Secretariat Stakes (G1)
Contact: Brian W. Spencer
FORCE THE PASS SEEKS TO JOIN ELITE COMPANY IN GRADE I SECRETARIAT STAKES
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (August 12, 2015) – Force the Pass could join Triple Crown winner and five-time Grade I winner American Pharoah on Saturday as just the second three-year-old male to earn multiple Grade I wins this year.
Trained by Alan Goldberg for Richard Santulli, Force the Pass won the Belmont Derby last out, and has been installed as the 2-1 morning-line favorite in the $450,000 Secretariat Stakes as part of the International Festival of Racing featuring the Arlington Million presented by LiftMaster Saturday at Arlington International Race Course.
“He does everything right,” Goldberg said. “Right now he’s doing the same as he’s always done. He’s a good work horse and excellent on the racetrack.”
Force the Pass was 9-1 when he won the Penn Mile two back and 10-1 in the Belmont Derby. The son of Speightstown has won four of six starts lifetime, never been worse than second, and has earned more than $1 million.
“I thought he was a little high-priced [in the 1 1/4-mile Belmont Derby],” Goldberg said. “You’re always worried [if they can get the distance], but he has a big, nice, long stride and has the mind for it.”
Joel Rosario rode Force the Pass to victory in both the Penn Mile and Belmont Derby and has the return call from post two in the Secretariat. Rosario has never won an International Festival race but was second in the 2011 Beverly D aboard Dubawi Heights and second in the 2014 Secretariat aboard Tourist.
The international competition for Force the Pass is multiple group stakes winner Highland Reel, Group III winner War Dispatch, and the undefeated Derby Italiano winner Goldstream.
Aidan O’Brien, a three-time winner of this race, trains Highland Reel for Derrick Smith, Susan Magnier, and Michael Tabor. The Galileo colt has the distinction of cutting back in distance for the Secretariat following a win in the Group III Neptune Investment Management Gordon Stakes at 1 1/2 miles on July 29 at Goodwood. Seamie Heffernan rides from post six.
War Dispatch was bred in Kentucky by his owner, Joseph Allen, but to date has only raced in France, winning the Group III Prix de Guiche three starts back before consecutive placings in the Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby) and Prix Eugene Adam. Ioritz Mendizabal rides for trainer Jean-Claude Rouget from post seven.
The Italian Derby has led to International Festival glory before, as 2013 Arlington Million winner (by disqualification) Real Solution was the 2012 Derby Italiano favorite. Goldstream comes to Arlington perfect in five starts for Jamie Lovett’s Australian Bloodstock. Brenton Avdulla rides from post three for trainer Andreas Wohler.
Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey campaigned aforementioned Million winner Real Solution, and the Kentucky-based breeder-owners are represented here by Granny’s Kitten, who won the first two starts of his career before third- and eighth-place finishes behind Force the Pass in the Penn Mile and Belmont Derby, respectively. Irad Ortiz rode Granny’s Kitten in the Penn Mile and returns here for trainer Mike Maker from post five.
“He was sick after the race, so it is obvious that he wasn’t 100 percent,” Ramsey said of Granny’s Kitten’s Belmont Derby. “He’s a better horse than that, and we are giving him a chance to show it.”
Granny’s Kitten’s sire, champion Kitten’s Joy, won the 2004 Secretariat Stakes for the Ramseys.
Kenny Troutt’s WinStar Farm’s Bill Mott-trained Closing Bell and Godolphin Racing’s Eoin Harty-trained Crittenden complete the field for the 39th edition of the Secretariat, which kicks off a $100,000 guaranteed Festival Pick 3, and is part of both the $150,000 guaranteed TwinSpires.com Pick 4 that begins one race earlier with the Grade III American St. Leger and the $100,000 guaranteed Pick 5 that begins two races prior with the Grade III Pucker Up Stakes. The $750,000 Grade I Beverly D. and $1 million Grade I Arlington Million conclude all three guaranteed pool wagers.
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.