|Arlington Park Stakes advance
Contact: David Zenner (847) 385-7535
Stakes Advance: The Grade I Arlington Million
BEAT HOLLOW, SARAFAN VIE AGAIN IN 20TH GRADE I ARLINGTON MILLION; GERMAN-BRED PAOLINI TOPS 4 EUROPEANS IN 9-HORSE HIGHLIGHT AUG. 17
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (August 14, 2002) -- An emerging Thoroughbred rivalry of two world-class competitors intensifies in a third act of dramatic denouement this Saturday when Juddmonte Farms Inc.'s Beat Hollow attempts to conquer Gary A. Tanaka's Sarafan in the 20th running of the Grade I Arlington Million at Arlington Park.
However, the Arlington Million, Thoroughbred racing's first contest to offer a seven-figure purse when it debuted in 1981, is also known for attracting grass-favoring challengers worldwide. This year Frau Carde Ostermann-Richter's Paolini, a worthy challenger to the top two American-based choices, will attempt to become the second successive German-bred to wrest the Million mantle from horses competing in more familiar environs.
Four European invaders face five of the best turf stars in the United States in this weekend's Arlington Million XX. The Grade I Beverly D., for the best turf favoring fillies and mares throughout the world; and the Grade I Secretariat, restricted to 3-year-olds worthy of international competition, bracket the Million during Saturday's one-day International Festival of Racing at Chicago's premier Thoroughbred oval.
However, the Arlington Million is also the fifth leg in the World Series Racing Championship (WSRC), a 14-race series contested on four continents. This year, the series will return to Arlington Park October 26 for the Grade I John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf and the Grade I Breeders' Cup Classic as part of the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships. It will be the first time in history that any single racecourse will host three legs of the WSRC in the same year.
Beat Hollow has been assigned 6-5 odds by Arlington Park linemaker Mike Battaglia for Arlington Million XX. He is generally considered to be the top turf horse in training in the United States at the present time. Although a British-bred, the 5-year-old son of Sadler's Wells has campaigned entirely in the United States this year. Out of a Dancing Brave mare, the homebred earned his reputation by winning the Grade I Woodford Reserve on Kentucky Derby Day, May 4, at Churchill Downs and underlined that score with another impressive tally in the Grade I Manhattan Handicap on Belmont Stakes Day, June 8, at Belmont Park.
Beat Hollow is conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel and will be ridden by Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey. Bailey replaces Alex Solis, who was aboard Beat Hollow when he finished second, beaten a length and a quarter by Sarafan in the Grade I Eddie Read Handicap July 28. The Juddmonte-Frankel-Bailey troika teamed up to capture the 2000 Arlington Million with Chester House.
Sarafan has now defeated Beat Hollow twice this year. Prior to his Eddie Read victory, Sarafan bested Beat Hollow by a neck in the Grade II Explosive Bid Handicap March 2 at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans.
Sarafan, 3-1 second choice on the morning line, is trained by Hall of Fame conditioner Neil Drysdale. Drysdale has saddled five Arlington Million starters to date but has yet to reach the winner's circle. Sarafan, an altered son of Lear Fan out of a Caro mare, will be ridden by Corey Nakatani in the Million.
Heading the European-based group of four invaders for the Arlington Million is Paolini. The German-bred is trained by Andreas Wohler and will be ridden by Austrian jockey Andreas Suborics. Together that Teutonic tandem captured the 2001 Arlington Million with the German-bred Silvano, owned by Stiftung Gestut Fahrhof. Paolini's best race this year came May 11 in the Group I Singapore Airlines International Cup, where he was second by two lengths to Godolphin Racing Inc.'s Grandera in that third leg of the WSRC. Grandera is the current leader in the 2002 WSRC. Paolini is 10-1 in the morning line.
Arthur I. Appleton's Forbidden Apple, a Florida-bred son of Pleasant Colony out of a Northfields mare, is 4-1 in the morning line. The homebred 7-year-old was most recently third, beaten only a neck for all of it in the Grade II Bernard Baruch Handicap at Saratoga on July 26. Before that, Forbidden Apple was second, beaten two lengths by Beat Hollow in the Manhattan Handicap June 8. French-born but American-based Christophe Clement is the trainer and Chilean-born but American-based Jose Santos is the jockey.
Gary A. Tanaka's Falcon Flight, trained by Donald Burke II with Arlington's leading rider and defending jockey champion Rene Douglas named to handle the reins, is also 10-1 in the morning line for the Arlington Million. Falcon Flight won the Grade III Arlington Handicap, final local prep for the Arlington Million, in his last start on Million Preview Day, July 27. He also won the Grade III Stars and Stripes Breeders' Cup Turf in 2001 at Arlington. To date, no Arlington Handicap winner or Stars and Stripes winner has ever captured the Arlington Million.
Roldvale Ltd.'s Freefourinternet finished fifth behind Grandera last time in the Group I Prince of Wales's Stakes June 19 during the Royal Ascot meeting. In the Prince of Wales's Stakes, Freeforinternet suffered traffic problems a quarter of a mile from the wire. Previously, the Kentucky-bred son of Tabasco Cat had won the listed Huxley Stakes at Chester. Brian Meehan trains and Irish reinsman Pat Eddery will ride Freefourinternet, listed at 15-1 in the Million morning line.
Perhaps the most interesting European invader for Saturday's signature race is British-bred Ulundi, owned by David Heath. Several of the 11 wins in Ulundi's 27-race career have come over the hurdles, but the son of Rainbow Quest out of a Lyphard mare appears equally accomplished on the flat. In his most recent effort June 21 during the Royal Ascot meeting, Ulundi won the Wolferton Rated Handicap in his first start of the year despite shouldering the top impost of 133 pounds. Paul Webber trains Ulundi and Richard Hughes has been named as the jockey aboard the sometime hurdler who is 20-1 in the morning line.
Another European at 15-1 in the morning line is Peter Willmott's Cheshire, a British-bred horse who is French-campaigned but owned by a Chicagoan. Cheshire won the Group III Grand Prix de Vichy at the Vichy course in his last trip to the post July 24. On June 1, he was sixth at Chantilly, beaten only two and a half lengths for all of it despite a troubled trip and was eighth in the Group III Prix Perth at Saint-Cloud in his final start last year. Trainer John Hammond, who saddled Henri Chaloub's Dear Doctor to win the 1992 Arlington Million, is the conditioner of Cheshire, who will be ridden by Japanese riding sensation Yutaka Take.
Team Block's Mystery Giver, hero of the $90,450 Cardinal Handicap on Prairie State Festival Day, June 22, completes the 2002 Arlington Million field. Mystery Giver suffered from an unfortunate trip in the Arlington Handicap last time and finished fifth, but was only beaten a length and a quarter for all the money. Mystery Giver is the local hope for this year's Arlington Million. He was bred by David and Patricia Block in Illinois, is trained by their son Chris, and will be ridden by Kent Desormeaux. Mystery Giver is listed at 30-1 in Arlington Million XX.
Arlington Park, the Chicago area's premier Thoroughbred racetrack located in Arlington Heights, Ill., is running a 107-day meet in 2002 from Wednesday, June 5 to Sunday, Oct. 27. Arlington Park, which merged with Churchill Downs Incorporated (Nasdaq: CHDN) in September 2000, also operates five off-track, simulcast-wagering facilities -- "Trackside" Arlington Park (Arlington Heights), Quad City Downs (East Moline), Chicago, Rockford and Waukegan. For further information on Arlington Park, visit our website at www.arlingtonpark.com.
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