Arlington International Festival of Racing Notes (8/7/15)
Contact: Michael Adolphson
In today's notes:
MILLION-BOUND LEGENDARY ‘BLOSSOMING’
Walter Swinburn’s Legendary is flourishing as he approaches the biggest race of his career in next Saturday’s Grade I $1,000,000 Arlington Million. Off by design since finishing a game third – beaten less than three lengths – in the Grade I $1,000,000 Manhattan at Belmont on Jun. 6, the son of Exceed and Excel has been training forwardly at his Fair Hill base in Maryland for conditioner Niall Saville. On Aug. 3, the bay 6-year-old worked a flashy six furlongs in 1:12.40 and is expected to have one more work on Sunday, Aug. 9, as a final prep for the 1 1/4-miles contest.
“It doesn’t worry me not having a prep race,” Saville said. “We always knew where we going to train to the Million. The plan was to have those three races and then if he ran as well as we hoped he would in the Manhattan, we would run him in the Million.
“I don’t worry about running him fresh,” Saville continued. “I think I have him right and everything is going pretty well. As long as he works well on Sunday, we will be there.”
Three weeks prior to his Manhattan effort, in which he was the only forwardly placed horse to finish well, the English-bred gelding was fifth after a horrible start left him 12th of 13 early in the Grade II $300,000 Dixie Stakes at Pimlico. Said effort followed a fourth-place finish in the Grade I $300,000 Maker’s 46 Mile at Keeneland to kick off his campaign on Apr. 10 at a trip shorter than his optimal.
“He also got a little sick after the Manhattan, which made it easier to pass on races like the (Grade III $100,000) Arlington Handicap or (Grade I $500,000) United Nations,” Saville explained. “He does everything very easily and he’s a simple horse to train. We have a system with him and it works well. His (Aug. 3 work) was in company and he just knocked off fractions and galloped out well.
“He’s starting to blossom again and coming into his cycle,” Saville continued. “He really looks the picture and I’m glad to get (jockey Sheldon Russell) back on him. He has a great rapport with (Legendary) and knows the (Arlington) track.”
Hall of Fame rider Edgar Prado rode Legendary in his past two races after regular rider Russell was injured in late spring. Under Russell, who was a top rider at the 2014 Arlington meet, Legendary won the $100,000 Japan Racing Stakes at Laurel and Grade III $200,000 Knickerbocker Stakes at Belmont in succession in the fall of 2014 – the latter over Grade I-winning fellow Million prospect Up With the Birds.
STEPHANIE’S KITTEN CLAWING FOR LUCK IN BEVERLY D.
When Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey’s beloved homebred Breeders’ Cup champion Stephanie’s Kitten starts on Aug. 15 at Arlington International Racecourse in the Grade I $700,000 Beverly D., the mare who helped put Ramsey Farm’s flagship stallion Kitten’s Joy on the map will likely be seeing the Chicagoland oval for the final time. After starting her career at Arlington in the summer of 2011, the future multiple Grade I winner would go on to win the Grade II $1,000,000 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf that fall while under the tutelage of Wayne Catalano.
Now under the care of conditioner Chad Brown, the bay filly with the signature blaze down her face and kind disposition returns for one final curtain call in the signature summer race for turf fillies and mares. A victory in the Beverly D. would be part of a two-part act of retribution for the late-running and consequently often unlucky bay mare. In both the Bevelry D. and the Grade I $2,000,000 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf in 2014, Stephanie’s Kitten was unlucky and arguably the best horse in each race.
In the Beverly D., Stephanie’s Kitten was stuck behind a phalanx of fillies while trying to unleash her closing rally in the stretch. Never quite breaking free, she still managed to close quickest of all to finish second to Team Valor International’s Euro Charline. Two starts later – with a flashy stalk-and-pounce victory in the Grade I $600,000 Flower Bowl Invitational sandwiched between – she was prey to the glacial fractions set by ultimate victress Datatthespa in the Breeders’ Cup, but still closed resolutely from eighth of 11 to finish second by 1 1/4 lengths.
Owner Ken Ramsey has made it known that his plan for Stephanie’s Kitten is vengeance through victory in each race before retiring the popular mare and selling her at auction, much to his family’s chagrin.
“My family didn’t want me to sell her last year, which is why we put such a high reserve ($4 million) on her,” Ramsey said. “She’s named after my granddaughter Stephanie and she’s very important to the family. But, she will be sold at Fasig-Tipton this year and what we get for her is what we get for her.
“I am in the business of racing horses and winning races, despite having a stallion like Kitten’s Joy, who is a franchise,” Ramsey continued. “I don’t like to retire any horse prematurely, which is why we have horses like Big Blue Kitten, Hyper, Bobby’s Kitten and International Star come back after time off.”
Ramsey is eager to see his top turf mare perform after what he believes was a deceptively good performance, albeit disappointing result, just three weeks ago in the Grade I $500,000 Diana Stakes at Saratoga.
“She’s on schedule we’ll bring her by herself (without a rabbit),” Ramsey said. “The last time she ran it was like two separate races. She was about 17 lengths back at the top of the stretch and made up about 15 lengths to lose by two lengths at the wire. I don’t know why (jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr.) had her so far back.
“She’s doing very well right now and we’re expecting a big race,” Ramsey continued. “We will have her closer to the pace this time, that’s for sure, and Irad will have the ride. I’m hoping it sets up better for her, because she definitely will be better this time. She’s been a bad luck filly and four or five races in her career she could have won because of that. If we would have had a rabbit in the Breeders’ Cup, we would have won the race. We ran a bigger ‘rag number’ than the winner and the winner just galloped around there and she couldn’t catch her.”
Better luck and a better trip in the Beverly D. could put an exclamation point on a career that has seen the Arlington fan favorite race over its famed oval three times, resulting in a debut third, a maiden-breaking victory next out and the aforementioned Beverly D. runner-up finish. In 22 career starts, the filly who has become the standard for Grade I turf fillies in America has nine victories, including three at the Grade I level. A victory in the Beverly D. would hoist her earnings to more than $3,000,000.
THE CORSICAN REMOVED FROM MILLION CONSIDERATION
Mrs. Fitriani Hay’s The Corsican will not make the trip across the Atlantic from his European base for the Million, according to the International Racing Bureau. The improving son of Galileo who exits a sharp second on July 31 in the Group III $156,000 Glorious Stakes at Goodwood and was fourth in the Group I $822,000 Prince of Wales’s Stakes a race prior did not exit his effort in the former in a fashion pleasing to trainer David Simcock.
The removal of the England-based son of Galileo from the marquee race leaves five Europeans still planning to pre-enter the race. PJL’s Belgian Bill and Godolphin Racing’s Maverick Wave from England, Papillon Stables’ Bookrunner from France, Klaus Allofs and Gestut Fahrhof’s Wake Forest from Germany and Damian Lavelle’s Elleval from Ireland.
SHINING COPPER IN, PUMPKIN RUMBLE OUT OF MILLION
Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey’s Shining Copper will join Chad Brown-trained stablemates Slumber and Big Blue Kitten in the entry box for the Grade I $1,000,000 Arlington Million, according to racing officials. The chestnut son of Aragorn was claimed two starts back for $62,500 by the Ramseys out of a Churchill Downs one-mile turf event.
One race later, Shining Copper was fourth beaten only two lengths by Big Blue Kitten in the Grade I $500,000 United Nations while acting as a rabbit. Now in the care of Brown, Shining Copper spent a great deal of his career with Steve Asmussen before racing just once for Mike Maker last out.
Removed from consideration for the Million is Al and Bill Ulwelling’s Pumpkin Rumble, from the barn of Canterbury Park-based Gary Scherer. A winner last out with an impressive charge in the $100,000 Mystic Lake Mile at that racecourse, the son of English Channel would have been making his Grade I debut.
WEDDING VOW LIKELY TO REPRESENT COOLMORE IN BEVERLY D.
Trainer Aidan O’Brien, who had three fillies under consideration for the Grade I $700,000 Beverly D., will now reportedly bring just one in the form of Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith and Mrs. John Magnier’s Wedding Vow. By Galileo out of a three-quarter sister to European Horse of the Year Dylan Thomas, the 3-year-old filly will look to become only the second sophomore in history to take the Beverly D. – following Team Valor International’s Euro Charline in 2014.
In seven career starts, the consistent bay charge has hit the board in five events, including a second-place finish last out in the Group I $937,000 Nassau Stakes at Goodwood on Aug. 1 against older mares. One race prior to that effort, she was a winner in the Group II Kilboy Estate Stakes at The Curragh – the same race James Wigan’s Dank won en route to her Beverly D. victory in 2013.
Colm O’Donaghue is slated to ride the Irish-bred in what will be her third start in four weeks.
DIVISIDERO, MONEY MULTIPLIER OUT OF SECRETARIAT
Gunpowder Farms’ Divisidero, who was expected to vie for favoritism in the Grade I $450,000 Secretariat Stakes at Arlington International Racecourse on Aug. 15, has been removed from consideration by trainer Buff Bradley after an unsatisfactory week. The son of Kitten’s Joy has won two stakes this year and was exiting a late-charging seventh in the Grade I $1,250,000 Belmont Derby Invitational as the 5-2 second choice.
Also now unlikely to make the trip to Chicago for the Secretariat is Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence’s Chad Brown trainee Money Multiplier. A rapidly improving type, the son of Lookin At Lucky was second last out in the Grade III $200,000 Kent Stakes at Delaware Park.
THE PIZZA MAN TO CROSS-ENTER IN MILLION AND AMERICAN ST. LEGER
According to the Arlington International Racecourse racing office, Midwest Thoroughbreds’ The Pizza Man is to cross-enter in both the Grade I $1,000,000 Arlington Million and Grade III $350,000 American St. Leger. The Roger Brueggemann trainee is more likely to run in the Million, Midwest principal Richard Papiese stated shortly after the son of English Channel won the Grade III $100,000 Stars and Stripes on July 11 at the Chicagoland oval.
Last year, the Illinois-bred fan favorite was a hugely popular winner when taking the American St. Leger over Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock’s defending champion Dandino. In either race, regular rider Florent Geroux is slated to be in the irons.
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