|Arlington Park Stakes advance
Contact: David Zenner (847) 385-7535
Stakes Advance: The Grade I Secretariat Stakes
WIDE OPEN SECRETARIAT STAKES ATTRACTS DOZEN SOPHOMORE TURFERS
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (August 13, 2003) -- Moyglare Stud Farm Ltd.'s Evolving Tactics, J. J. Pletcher & Barry Simon's Lismore Knight, and Mrs. John Magnier & Michael Tabor's France head a well-matched group of 12 sophomore grass specialists from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean assembled for Saturday's 27th renewal of the $400,000 Secretariat Stakes at Arlington Park.
The Grade I Secretariat, a mile and a quarter race, is for 3-year-old turf stars of world-class caliber and is part of the one-day International Festival of Racing that also features the 21st running of the Grade I Arlington Million and the Grade I $700,000 Beverly D. for fillies and mares. The Secretariat serves as the third leg of Arlington's Mid-America Triple that began with the Grade II Arlington Classic, presented by Woodford Reserve, on June 29 and continued with the Grade II American Derby, presented by Jack Daniel's, on July 20.
Evolving Tactics, a European-based son of Machiavellian trained by champion Irish trainer Dermot Weld, shipped from The Emerald Isle to win the American Derby by a neck in his United States debut three weeks ago. He was sent back to Ireland following the American Derby to continue his preparations for Saturday's race and returned to Arlington Park on Monday. As was the case for the American Derby, Irish reinsman Patrick Smullen will be in the irons.
Lismore Knight, winner of the Arlington Classic, did not participate in the American Derby, opting instead to run in the Grade III Kent Breeders' Cup Handicap at Delaware Park the same day. The son of Woodman finished third as the 6-5 favorite under John Velazquez in that mile and an eighth turf race. Rene Douglas, who successfully piloted Lismore Knight in the Arlington Classic, gets a return call aboard the Todd Pletcher trainee.
France, an English-bred son of Desert Prince, may be the most accomplished of the race's strong European contingent. Winner of the Group III EBF Tetrarch Stakes in April at The Curragh in April, France finished second in the Group I Irish Two Thousand Guineas a month later, a race in which Evolving Tactics ran ninth. Last time out, the Aidan O'Brien pupil was third in the Group II Goffs International Stakes at The Curragh. Michael Kinane, France's regular rider, will make the trip from Ireland for the mount Saturday.
In addition to Evolving Tactics and France, Gary A. Tanaka's King's Drama and Christopher Ransom's Joe Bear are European-based runners. Like Evolving Tactics, King's Drama made a previous American foray, running a troubled third in the $500,000 Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs on July 12, and was sent back to France before shipping to Arlington Tuesday evening. Recent Hall of Fame inductee Mike Smith has been named to ride the Robert Collet-trained King's Drama.
Joe Bear, a son of Peintre Celebre, faces his toughest task to date in the Secretariat but comes to Chicago in good form having captured the Racing Post Handicap at Goodwood and the Joe Jennings Bookmakers Rated Handicap at Newmarket in his last two starts. Trainer Philip Mitchell has tapped Southern California-based jockey David Flores to ride Joe Bear.
The remainder of the field is American based and includes Taub, Papiano & Noctis Stable's Californian (Gary Stevens); Sondra D. Bender's Foufa's Warrior (Ramon Dominguez); Everest Stables Inc.'s Gato Gato Gato (Chris Emigh); Naify, Sugarman, Vistas LLC et al.'s Just Wonder (Kent Desormeaux); Brushwood Stable's Kicken Kris (Javier Castellano); Brett Rice's Native Hawk (Paul Nolan); and Edmund A. Gann's Bis Repetitas (Jose Valdivia Jr.).
Of these, Foufa's Warrior and Just Wonder come in off graded stakes victories. The former, a Lawrence Murray-trained son of Jade Hunter, rallied from well of the pace to win the Grade III Kent at Delaware Park last month. The latter, from the California-based stable of Laura de Seroux, employed similar tactics to capture the Grade III Cinema Breeders' Cup Handicap at Hollywood Park in June.
Californian and Gato Gato Gato ran two-four in the American Derby. Kicken Kris was second in the Virginia Derby while Native Hawk finished second in the $40,000 John Bullit Stakes at Canterbury Park. Bis Repetitas finished second to Just Wonder in the Cinema.
Arlington Park -- host to the record-breaking 2002 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships and the Chicago area's premier Thoroughbred racetrack located in Arlington Heights, Ill. -- runs a 104-day meet in 2003 through Saturday, Sept. 27. Arlington Park, whose parent company is Churchill Downs Incorporated (Nasdaq: CHDN), also operates seven off-track, simulcast-wagering facilities: Trackside Arlington Park (Arlington Heights), Trackside Quad City Downs (East Moline), Trackside Chicago, Trackside Rockford, Trackside McHenry, Trackside Waukegan and Longshots featuring Trackside OTB in South Elgin. Information on Arlington Park can be found online at www.arlingtonpark.com.
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