|Arlington Park Barn Notes 8/13/03
In today's notes:
To borrow from Mark Twain, trainer Laura de Seroux displayed the quiet confidence "of a Christian holding four aces" as she brought Robert Geringer, Michael Klein and Marsha Naify's Dublino back to the barn following an easy half-mile canter Wednesday morning at Arlington Park.
Dublino, a 4-year-old daughter of Lear Fan, will be one of the top choices in Saturday's $700,000 Beverly D., sister race to Saturday's Arlington Million. Along with the $400,000 Secretariat, the three Grade I events highlight the weekend's one-day International Festival of Racing to make up the seasonal showcase of the Chicago Thoroughbred racing season.
"She loved the turf course this morning," said de Seroux as she dismounted from a lead pony following Dublino's first appearance this year over the local oval. "We just took her out to see how it felt. It's a little different than it was last fall (yielding on Breeders' Cup Day) and she likes it better now. In fact, she told me so. She's a very sweet, very affectionate filly with a deer-like action, and we were out there on virgin ground today where we'll be on Saturday."
Dublino comes into the Beverly D. off a second-place effort in Del Mar's Grade I John C. Mabee Handicap July 26, when she was one of three horses to dead heat for the runner-up spot, beaten a half-length by the winner in that West Coast outing.
"Kent (jockey Desormeaux) had to alter course right when he wanted to make his move in that race," said de Seroux. "It probably cost us the race. And in the race before that (Hollywood Park's Grade II Beverly Hills Handicap) when she had an unfamiliar jockey, I think that race was more of a tactical loss.
"Kent really knows this filly," de Seroux said. "One time coming back after an outing I asked him how she felt and he said. 'Just like a deer prancing in the forest.' Afterwards, when I thought about it, I felt his analogy with the deer really described her perfectly."
Dublino is named after a "taverna" on the Greek island of Syros, where the de Serouxs are often the guests of the Christopher Musgrave family of Greek-Irish extraction.
"It's not exactly an Irish pub," de Seroux explained of the establishment with which they all apparently have some pleasant familiarity, "it's more of an Greek-Irish taverna with an Irish name, but we thought it would make a good name for the filly."
For most of the Nineties and into the new millennium, whenever West Coast-based Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella has brought his horses to Arlington for the International Festival of Racing he has stabled at the barn of the veteran Illinois trainer Gene Cilio.
Last fall, when Mandella brought Ralph & Aury Todd's The Tin Man to Arlington Park for the Grade I Breeders' Cup Turf, he asked if Cilio had a stall with a window to accommodate The Tin Man's unusual preference.
Cilio did not at the time, but he had one built by the track carpenter in time for The Tin Man's arrival, and now The Tin Man has returned to occupy that same stall once again prior to Saturday's Grade I Arlington Million.
"He likes his company," said Mandella assistant Crystal Brown, shortly after The Tin Man visited the Arlington track for the first time this year for a gallop at 6:30 a.m. Wednesday following a Tuesday flight to Chicago from the West Coast. "He likes somebody to look at. It relaxes him."
The Tin Man, by 1978 Triple Crown winner Affirmed and out of a Tom Rolfe mare, was bred by his owners in Kentucky, and most recently finished second, beaten a half-length, in the Grade I United Nations Handicap at Monmouth Park July 5, upset by a wire-to-wire winner who was allowed to set his own pace throughout.
"I was very proud of him that day," said Brown, who traveled with the 5-year-old gelding to the New Jersey shore oval. "He dug back to try and catch the winner. He was really trying."
So The Tin Man has courage, a heart and a brain.
"I was thinking the horses to beat were behind me," lamented jockey Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith in post-race quotes after the United Nations, "so I guess I shot myself in the foot."
Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid al Maktoum's Storming Home, considered the strongest of the North American-based competitors in Saturday's Grade I Arlington Million and a possible post time favorite, took his first jog over the Arlington Park oval Wednesday morning following his Tuesday arrival in Chicago on a flight from the West Coast.
"He just jogged today," said Robert Guest Wednesday. Guest is temporarily in charge of the Neil Drysdale-trained horses that are now at Arlington until that Hall of Fame conditioner arrives in Chicago. "The trip was an easy four-hour ride. He'll gallop tomorrow.
"He seems to be doing just fine this year," said Guest. "He's a very intelligent horse. It's almost like he has a degree from Harvard. I saw him (Storming Home) last year in Japan when I went there with Sarafan, and he seems to have improved tremendously this year since Neil has had him."
Mrs. Susan McCarthy's Kaieteur, third in the Group I Coral-Eclipse Stakes at Great Britain's Sandown in his last start July 5, breezed a half-mile in :54 4/5 over Arlington Park's world famous turf course Wednesday morning with the "dogs" up well out from the rail.
The exercise was in advance of Kaieteur's Saturday start in the Grade I Arlington Million, centerpiece event of the Chicago Thoroughbred racing season.
Regular exercise rider Jane Allison, sister-in-law and chief assistant to trainer Brian Meehan, was aboard for the breeze, commenting afterwards that her horse was very happy with the turf course here.
Should Kaieteur win the 2003 Arlington Million, he would become the first son of an Arlington Million winner to repeat his sire's accomplishment. Michael Tabor's Marlin, sire of Kaieteur, won the 1997 Arlington Million as the second Arlington Million winner for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas.
Earlier on Wednesday, shortly after 6 a.m., Godolphin Racing Inc.'s Sulamani, the morning-line favorite for this year's showcase event, had a leisurely gallop around the Arlington oval shortly after first light.
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