|Arlington Park release
Contact: Graham Ross
(847) 385-7500 ext. 7319
MILLION NOMINEE WINS IRISH DERBY; BEVERLY D. FIELD FORMING
Michael Tabor's High Chaparral, one of 15 European-based Arlington Million nominees trained by Aidan O'Brien, cruised to a four-length victory in Sunday's Group I Budweiser Irish Derby at The Curragh to complete that sophomore's English-Irish Derby double.
Arlington Million nominee Ballingarry, owned by Mrs. John Magnier, finished third in the Irish Derby as O'Brien-conditioned horses swept the first three positions in the mile and a half classic on The Emerald Isle.
Late last week, O'Brien indicated that Sir Alex Ferguson's Rock of Gibraltar, hero of the Group I Sagitta 2000 Guineas, the Group I Irish 2000 Guineas and the Group I St. James's Palace Stakes recently, was likely to make his next start in the Group I Sussex Stakes July 31.
Rock of Gibraltar is also nominated to the 20th running of the Grade I Arlington Million, which will be contested at Arlington Park August 17 as part of the International Festival of Racing at Chicago's premier Thoroughbred oval.
Completing the one-day International Festival that afternoon will be the Grade I Beverly D., the sister race to the Million that is restricted to fillies and mares, and the Grade I Secretariat, third and final leg of Arlington's Mid-America Triple for 3-year-olds. Both those races had significant American preps contested over the weekend.
A pair of Beverly D. nominees -- Allen E. Paulson Living Trust's Astra and Gary A. Tanaka's Peu a Peu -- finished first and second respectively in the Grade I Beverly Hills Handicap at Hollywood Park Saturday. Traditionally a precursor to the $700,000 Beverly D., run on the grass at a mile and three-sixteenths, the $250,000 Beverly Hills is contested at a mile and a quarter over turf. Astra made or forced the pace throughout in Saturday's test and held on gamely to tally by a neck. Peu a Peu, a German-bred conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel, was unhurried early but challenged when set down for the drive to miss catching Astra by a neck at the wire.
El Faruk Stable's Crazy Ensign, a Beverly D. nominee bred in the Argentine, finished third in Saturday's Beverly Hills, five lengths behind Peu a Peu.
Astra, a 6-year-old daughter of Theatrical out of a Seattle Slew mare, won the Beverly Hills last year but disappointed as the odds-on choice in the Beverly D. when compromised by the yielding turf course locally. Earlier this spring, she tallied in the Grade II Santa Ana Handicap at Santa Anita and the Grade I Gamely Breeders' Cup Handicap at Hollywood.
Peu a Peu captured the Grade III Yerba Buena Breeders' Cup at Bay Meadows May 18 in her North American debut and seasonal bow. A multiple stakes winner in Germany, she had been away from the races since October 7, when she finished seventh in the $171,990 Prix de l'Opera Casino at Longchamp.
Also on Saturday, Claiborne Farm's Watch, another Beverly D. nominee, finished third beaten five lengths in the $100,000 Dr. James Penny Memorial Handicap on the Philadelphia Park turf after racing wide.
Beverly D. nominee Lady of the Future, owned by Max Pearson, launched a bold bid when set down for the drive to score by three-quarters of a length in the $100,000 New Castle Handicap at Delaware Park June 24 when going nine furlongs over that Mid-Atlantic lawn.
Locally, on the road to the 2002 Secretariat, Winstar Farm LLC's Mr. Mellon closed with a rush to capture the Grade II Arlington Classic by a neck. The Classic is the first leg of the Mid-America Triple. Although trainer Elliott Walden said Mr. Mellon was unlikely for the middle leg, the Grade II American Derby July 21, the Kentucky horseman indicated in post-race comments that the Secretariat was a distinct possibility for Mr. Mellon.
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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