|Arlington Park release
Contact: Graham Ross
(847) 385-7500 ext. 7319
TWO 'PERFECT' SCORES TOP RECENT WINS AMONG MILLION'S NOMINEES
Canada's Perfect Soul and America's Perfect Drift, both with designs on the 21st running of the Grade I Arlington Million August 16, continued to solidify their gathering momentum with mid-June graded stakes scores on separate paths to the centerpiece event of the Chicago Thoroughbred racing season.
European-based Dubai Destination and California transplant Storming Home, also Arlington Million nominees, are coming off recent wins half a world apart to add another appetizing garnish to the upcoming Million now less than eight weeks away.
The Arlington Million, along with the $700,000 Beverly D. and the $400,000 Secretariat Stakes, will all be contested during Arlington Park's one-day International Festival of Racing on the third Saturday in August. Together, the three races are the only Grade I events offered in Illinois on an annual basis.
Charles E. Fipke's Perfect Soul unleashed a strong late closing kick to win the Grade II King Edward Breeders' Cup Handicap at Woodbine by two and a half lengths July 15. That race was at a mile and an eighth on the turf while the upcoming Million is at a mile and a quarter over Arlington's world famous grass course, and Canadian trainer Roger Attfield was asked if the Million would be coming up on Perfect Soul's schedule.
"Definitely," said Attfield, who has won Canada's Sovereign Award as outstanding trainer a record five times. "I'm not still not quite sure what (Perfect Soul)'s best distance is, but I suspect it's probably a mile and an eighth to a mile and a quarter. I'm pointing him toward the (Grade II) Chinese Cultural Center Stakes (at Woodbine July 20) for his next start, and hopefully that will have him hitting his best stride in time for the Million."
Before capturing the King Edward, Perfect Soul had finished second, beaten a half-length in the Grade II Citgo Dixie Handicap at Pimlico on Preakness Day, May 17, over soft going, but had won by five and a half in his previous effort over a firm course at Keeneland April 13. The 5-year-old son of Sadler's Wells out of Fipke's Secretariat mare Ball Chairman is an Irish-bred who made his career debut as a 4-year-old and came to Arlington last fall to finish eighth in the Grade I John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf on a day the course was rated yielding.
"He was kind of a bad actor when I first got him," Attfield said. "It took him some time to get him going the right way mentally and to get enough maturity to go to the races."
Attfield is no stranger to the Arlington Million, having finished second with Kinghaven Farm's With Approval in 1990, sixth with that outfit's Izvestia in 1991 and 13th with Kinghaven's Carotene in 1988 when the event was run at Woodbine. With Approval and Izvestia are two of the five Canadian Triple Crown winners, three of which were trained by the 63-year-old Toronto resident.
Stonecrest Farm's Perfect Drift, trained by Murray Johnson, scored his first Grade I victory when he captured the $856,500 Stephen Foster Handicap by a nose at Churchill Downs on June 14 over the main course. The gelding, third in the Kentucky Derby at the Twin Spires oval last year, won a one-mile allowance race on the grass at Keeneland April 11 and was then fourth in the Grade I Woodford Reserve on the grass at Churchill on Kentucky Derby Day, May 3. He was 12th in the Grade I Breeders' Cup Classic on the main track at Arlington last October.
Perfect Drift is currently resting on a farm outside Louisville, but Johnson is making plans to send the altered son of Dynaformer to the Grade I Hollywood Gold Cup on the main track July 13, and then on to the Arlington Million over the local lawn.
Godolphin Racing Inc.'s Dubai Destination, a European-based Arlington Million nominee, won the Group I Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot June 17. The Kingmambo colt beat Rock of Gibraltar two years ago in the Group II Champagne Stakes at Doncaster. Rock of Gibraltar, owned by Sir Alex Ferguson & Mrs. John Magnier, finished second in the Grade I NetJets Breeders' Cup Mile at Arlington last October.
Arlington Million nominee Storming Home, a British-bred owned by Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid al Maktoum, won the Grade I Charles Whittingham Handicap at a mile and a quarter over the Hollywood Park turf course June 14, keeping his American record perfect at two wins from two starts. The entire son of Machiavellian won the $400,000 Jim Murray Handicap on May 10 at the same Southern California oval
Now conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Neil Drysdale, Storming Home captured the Group I Champion Stakes at Newmarket last October, and may make his next start in the Grade I United Nations Handicap at Monmouth Park July 5.
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