|Arlington Park release
Contact: Graham Ross
(847) 385-7500 ext. 7319
EUROPEAN-BASED ARLINGTON MILLION NOMINEES ENJOY ACTIVE WEEK
Despite a troubled trip, Irish-bred Khalkevi, a nominee to the 2002 Arlington Million owned by H. H. Aga Khan, was up with a dramatic late rally to prevail by a head in the Group I Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamp on Sunday.
Khalkevi, a sophomore son of Kahyasi, almost went down after stumbling with about five-eighths of a mile remaining in the Grand Prix de Paris, but recovered to best the favored Shaanmer by a head in the mile and a quarter test contested at the historic French oval.
"He will now take some rest," said Alain de Royer Dupre, the conditioner of Khalkevi, "but he's (nominated to the) Arlington Million. He is the kind of colt who could do well in the States, as he seems to enjoy fast ground and pace."
Earlier in the week, Sir Alex Ferguson's Rock of Gibraltar, another Arlington Million nominee and another Irish foal of 1999, captured the Group I St. James's Palace Stakes at England's Royal Ascot meeting on Tuesday.
Rock of Gibraltar won his latest English effort by a length and three-quarters. Earlier this spring he took down winning honors in the Group I Sagitta 2000 Guineas Stakes at Newmarket May 4 and then captured the Group I Entenmann's Irish 2000 Guineas at The Curragh May 25. The son of Danehill was the first horse to complete that English-Irish Guineas double in a decade.
As the traditional signature race of the Arlington Park season, Arlington Million XX, for 3-year-olds and upward, will be contested August 17 over Arlington's world famous turf course at a mile and a quarter.
The Arlington Million is also the fifth leg of 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 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.
However, on Arlington Million Day, Chicago's premier Thoroughbred oval also hosts the International Festival of Racing as a one-day event. The International Festival includes the Grade I Beverly D., for the best filly and mares turf specialists worldwide, and the Grade I Secretariat Stakes, restricted to 3-year-olds of that level.
Last Saturday, American-based nominees to Arlington's $700,000 Beverly D. finished first, second and third in the Grade III Locust Grove Handicap, a nine-furlong grass test at Churchill Downs.
Green Hills Farm Inc.'s Voodoo Dancer, the odds-on choice of the fans in Louisville, justified her favoritism with a length and a quarter tally. The French-bred Blue Moon, owned by B. Wayne Hughes, rallied to gain the place but could not stay with the winner. Bentley Smith Revocable Trust's Solvig, fifth in last year's Beverly D., lacked the needed late response against the top two in the Locust Grove but was clearly best of the others.
On the West Coast, Janis R. Whitham's Affluent, another distaffer nominated to the Beverly D., was clearly second best in the Grade I Vanity Handicap at Hollywood Park last Saturday. That filly and mare test was also contested at a mile and an eighth.
In addition to being part of the International Festival of Racing, the Grade I Secretariat is the third and final event of the Mid-America Triple. The first race in that series, the Grade II Arlington Classic, will be contested over the turf course here at a mile and a sixteenth this Saturday, and will be followed by the Grade II American Derby July 21.
Arlington Park, the Chicago area's premier Thoroughbred racetrack located in Arlington Heights, Ill., will run 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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