|Arlington Park Barn Notes 8/10/03
In today's notes:
Godolphin Racing Inc.'s Sulamani, the international equine star and projected favorite in Saturday's Grade I Arlington Million, completed a transatlantic journey at 3 o'clock in the morning Sunday by bedding down in Arlington Park's quarantine barn hours before first light.
"Door to door, the journey from Newmarket to Arlington took about 10 hours," said Tony Howart, head lad for the Godolphin entourage on this journey. "The horse traveled well. There were no problems. Everything went right every step of the way."
Godolphin, which purchased Sulamani following his runner-up finish in the Group I Prix de l'Arc de Triomple last October, is seeking its 100th grade or group I winner with Sulamani in Saturday's Million. In his last start in the Group I King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes at Ascot July 26, he finished second while conceding 12 pounds to the winner.
"That's a lot of weight to give up to any horse, especially a champion," said Howart, speaking of the King George. "However, we felt our horse ran an excellent race. Everything went according to plan, and we think he's in good form coming into this race. He's a special horse with a lot of talent -- a lot of class -- and we think he has even more potential."
As a 3-year-old, Sulamani won the Group I Prix du Jockey-Club (French Derby) at Chantilly last June before finishing second in the Arc, and in March of this year, he captured the Grade I Dubai Sheema Classic at Nad al Sheba.
"Obviously, we've gotten most of his training into him back home," said Howart. "All we have to do now is keep a nice shine on him. We expect Saeed bin Suroor (Godolphin trainer) to be here at the end of the week. He has a lot to do back home right now, with Dubai Destination in a race on Sunday and Moon Ballad set for a start the middle of next week."
The King George served as the third leg in the 2003 World Series of Racing Championship, and the Arlington Million will be the fourth leg in that series, which has now formed a partnership with Rolls Royce Motor Cars Ltd.
Jockey Jose Valdivia Jr., a regular rider on the Southern California circuit known for his talent on the turf, has been named to ride 3rd Turn Stables LLC's Honor in War, winner of the Grade III Arlington Handicap July 26 as the final local prep for the Grade I Arlington Million this Saturday.
"Jose has ridden horses for me in Kentucky and we've had a lot of success together," said Honor in War's trainer Paul McGee, speaking over the phone from Louisville Sunday morning. "More importantly, some of those winners were for Will Wolford, so naturally he was very pleased that we were able to get Valdivia."
Wolford, the primary owner of 3rd Turn Stables LLC, is a former NFL offensive lineman with the Buffalo Bills, Indianapolis Colts and Pittsburgh Steelers who was two years behind McGee at St. Xavier High School in Louisville.
Valdivia, 28, a native of Lima, Peru, will replace David Flores astride Honor in War. Flores has been named to ride projected Arlington Million favorite Sulamani, the European star owned by Godolphin Racing Inc.
Other known Arlington Million riding assignments include Gary Stevens on Storming Home, Pat Day aboard Perfect Drift, Mike Smith astride The Tin Man, Eddie Ahern assigned Beauchamp Pilot, Rene Douglas on Kaieteur, Kent Desormeaux astride Olden Times, Eduardo Pedroza up on Paolini, Michael Kinane on Tripat, and Christophe Soumillon aboard Vangelis.
CresRan LLC's Sue's Good News, length and a quarter victress in Saturday's Grade III Singapore Plate at Arlington Park, returned from her winning effort in good order and was doing well in her Barn 12 home during training hours Sunday morning.
"She cooled out fine after the race and she's doing great this morning," said trainer Steve Hobby of the Singapore Plate winner, who has had a history of tying up earlier this year, including her previous start in the Grade III Delaware Oaks July 19.
More positive news from the CresRan camp came from Carol Ricks, owner of the Oklahoma-based Thoroughbred operation, who told how Sue's Good News got her name.
"A dear friend of mine named Sue Vaughn was diagnosed with cancer last year," said Mrs. Ricks as she stood outside the stall of the victorious Sue's Good News on Sunday. "On the day that were trying to select a name for this filly, Sue called me with her latest test results that revealed her cancer was in remission, so this filly's name popped into my mind immediately.
"At the time, Sue really needed a 'pepper-upper,'" said the owner, "and the name really seemed to help. Now, every time Sue hears the filly's name called during a race, she says she feels like a celebrity, and the best news of all is that her health is still excellent."
Tom Fedro, Darrell & Sadie Brommer's Keeping the Gold, easily second best in Saturday's Grade III Singapore Plate when seven lengths in front of the third-place finisher, came out of her Saturday effort in good order and with the praises of her trainer Chris Block.
"I'm proud as I can be of her," said Block of Keeping the Gold, who captured Arlington's $52,400 Top Corsage Stakes July 19 and won the $86,450 Purple Violet Stakes before that on Prairie State Festival Day, June 21. "She ran like I thought she could when I first started training her, and the distance (nine furlongs) yesterday was not a problem. Steve's filly (winner Sue's Good News) is a super filly and she deserved to win."
Had Block thought about future plans for Keeping the Gold?
"I've always wanted to try her on grass," Block said. "I think we might take a look at the (Grade III) Pucker Up Stakes for her which comes up next month (Sept. 13). We'll try to breeze her on the grass, and if she handles it okay that's what we'll shoot for. If she doesn't like it, we'll back off and try something else."
Beverly D. candidate Walzerkoenigin and John Henry Stakes prospect Chan Chan, both owned by Germany's Gestut Schlenderhan, broke twice from the starting gate during training hours Saturday in a familiarity drill with the bell-ringing American starting gate. Eddie Razo was aboard Walzerkoenigin and Chris Emigh was astride Chan Chan.
John & Kris Richter's Bien Nicole, runner-up in the Grade III Modesty Handicap, final local prep for the Grade I Beverly D., breezed five furlongs in 1:02 Sunday morning at Arlington Park with Chris Emigh aboard.
Jockey Carlos H. Marquez Jr. rode two winners Saturday, winning the sixth on Roman Boruta's Rebel Lil for conditioner Jerry Calvin and the ninth aboard Hussar Racing Stable LLC's Lighthouse Lil for trainer Chris Block.
Groom of the week at Arlington Park this week is Rita Lozano of the Pat Cuccurullo barn.
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