|Arlington Park Barn Notes
In today's notes:
Frau Carde Ostermann-Richter's Paolini, considered the strongest of four European-based contestants for the 20th running of the Grade I Arlington Million Saturday, was introduced to Arlington Park Tuesday at 7:40 a.m. as the latest foreign Festival candidate to clear quarantine in time for morning training hours.
In addition to the Arlington Million, Saturday's one-day International Festival of Racing at Arlington includes the Grade I Beverly D., for turf-favoring fillies and mares throughout the world, and the Grade I Secretariat, restricted to 3-year-olds of international caliber.
German-bred Paolini, trained by Andreas Wohler, had Austrian jockey Andreas Suborics aboard for his Tuesday canter. That Teutonic tandem captured last summer's Arlington Million with the German-bred Silvano, owned by Stiftung Gestut Fahrhof. Together the two are seeking to become the first trainer and first jockey to record back-to-back winners in the centerpiece event of the Chicago Thoroughbred racing season.
Prior to his go around the main course, Paolini did a trot around the training track behind the International Barn on Arlington's backstretch. Suborics then guided the chestnut to the main oval in front of the stands for his good strong canter.
The athletic Austrian jockey, who once considered football (American soccer) as a career, was impressed with how the horse handled his exercise as well as his new surroundings.
"He felt like a lion out there," Suborics said, shortly after his dismount.
Paolini is a 5-year-old son of the German sire Lando who was bred by his owner. In his most recent outing June 19 in the Group I Prince of Wales Stakes during the Royal Ascot meeting, he lost all chance when the victim of a rough trip and finished eighth beaten almost 17 lengths by Godolphin's Grandera. But European experts consider the race a "throw-out."
Previously, in the Group I Singapore Airlines International Cup at the Singapore Turf Club May 11, Paolini was a good second to Grandera, beaten only two lengths by the current leader in the 2002 World Series Racing Championship. The Singapore Cup was the third leg of this year's series, and the Arlington Million is the fifth leg.
The World Series Racing Championship (WSRC) is 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 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.
Last year, in the Grade I Canadian International at Woodbine Race Course, part of the 2001 WSRC, Paolini finished second, beaten only a half-length for all of it.
Suborics, who speaks excellent English, has ridden all over the world aboard both Paolini and the now-retired Silvano. He broke his maiden April 4, 1988 aboard a horse named Donjan, and won his first Group I astride A Magicman in the Prix de la Foret. In addition to his win last year in the Grade I Million, Suborics captured a pair of Group I wins astride Tiger Hill in the Grosser Preis von Baden and the Bayerisches Zuctrennen in 1998.
The first European-based Million candidate on the track Tuesday was Roldvale Ltd.'s Freefourinternet, whose 10 career starts to date have come in Great Britain although the colt is a 4-year-old Kentucky-bred. He finished fifth to Grandera in the Prince of Wales in June but won the listed Huxley Stakes at Chester one month earlier.
Freefourinternet, by 1994 Preakness and Belmont Stakes winner Tabasco Cat, went to the main track at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday, and cantered a lap with Jane Allison astride. She is an assistant as well as the sister-in-law to Freefourinternet's trainer Brian Meehan.
David Heath's Ulundi, the unusual Throughbred who splits his talents between flat and hurdle racing, went to the main track Tuesday, also for a canter, at approximately 6:45 a.m. In his last start, Ulundi won the Wolferton Rated Handicap June 21 during the Royal Ascot meeting while shouldering the top impost of 133 pounds.
Aldridge Racing Ltd.'s Golden Silca, a British-bred and British-raced mare who came to America for Saturday's $700,000 Beverly D.; and Michael Doyle's Love Regardless, a sophomore campaigner on the Continent who has designs on Saturday's $400,000 Secretariat, were also out for canters on Arlington's main track Tuesday after clearing quarantine.
Peter Willmott's Cheshire, the last European invader to arrive on the local grounds and a candidate for the Arlington Million, was still awaiting clearance on his blood work Tuesday morning but was due to clear quarantine in time for Wednesday exercise.
Irish-bred Jazz Beat, owned by Moyglare Stud, came to the United States for the first time less than a month ago to run in Arlington Park's Grade II American Derby July 21. However, the colt went back to Ireland following his runner-up finish in that test and has now returned to Chicago to contest the Grade I Secretariat on Saturday.
The American Derby, second leg of Arlington Park's Mid-America Triple restricted to 3-year-olds, followed the Grade II Arlington Classic by three weeks. The Secretariat is the final leg of that series.
"We had it easy this time," said Irish exercise rider Jeffrey Byrne Tuesday morning when talking about the latest Atlantic crossing. "We flew from Shannon to France and from France directly to Chicago."
In their previous journey to America together, Jazz Beat and Byrne boxed across the Irish Sea on one ferry and boxed across the English Channel on another before their Paris-to-Chicago journey by air.
"We've only had a saddle on him three times while he went home," said Byrne Tuesday morning. "We took him out this morning and we'll give him a jog tomorrow over the high ground. It won't be anything serious. We'll keep it slow so the clockers can't catch me."
Veteran jockey Earlie Fires, inducted into the National Museum and Racing Hall of Fame at Saratoga one year ago, has been on a hot streak over the last two weeks at Arlington Park, just days before he will ride in International Festival of Racing at Arlington Park Saturday.
Fires, 55, born in Rivervale, Arkansas, but a longtime Chicagoland resident, is Arlington's all-time winningest rider. Despite the relatively late stage of his career, Fires has been riding at a 22.22 win percentage over the last two weeks, second highest in the local colony during the period and even ahead of the win percentage of leading rider Rene Douglas.
Fires is set to ride James M. Messineo's Major Rhythm in Saturday's Grade I Secretariat Stakes, third leg of Arlington's Mid-America Triple.
James M. Messineo's Major Rhythm worked a half mile in :48 1/5 and galloped out five-eighths in 1:01 4/5 Monday in preparation for Saturday's Grade I Secretariat.
Team Block's Mystery Giver breezed a half in :47 2/5 Monday in preparation for Saturday's Grade I Arlington Million.
ESPN Radio 1000 hosts a live remote at Arlington Park on Saturday from 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
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