|Arlington Park release
Contact: Graham Ross
(847) 385-7500 ext. 7319
Kaieteur and Rakti aiming for Arlington Million
Two European-based colts -- both coming off stakes-placed efforts in Great Britain when facing Group I competition -- are now being pointed for the 21st running of the Grade I Arlington Million, to be contested in less than six weeks at Arlington Park August 16.
Mrs. Susan McCarthy's Kaieteur, third in the Group I Coral-Eclipse July 5 at Sandown, and Gary A. Tanaka's Rakti, second in the Group I Prince of Wales's Stakes June 18 at Royal Ascot, are set to make their next trip to the post the showcase event of the Chicago Thoroughbred racing season
The Arlington Million, contested at a mile and a quarter over Arlington's world famous turf course, is the centerpiece of Arlington's one-day International Festival of Racing. Also included in the International Festival are the $700,000 Beverly D., contested at a mile and three-sixteenth on the grass for the best fillies and mares worldwide, and the $400,000 Secretariat, restricted to turf-favoring 3-year-olds of international caliber. Together, the three races are the only Grade I events contested in Illinois on an annual basis.
Kaieteur, who ran his best race of 2003 in the Coral-Eclipse, showed a return to the form of last year that saw him win the Group I Grosser Preis-Bayerisches Zuchtrennen in Germany.
"He was awesome in Munich last year and that was a two-turn left-handed track," trainer Brian Meehan told Racing Post. "I have always felt he was best going left handed, so the Arlington Million is an obvious race for him, especially looking at his pedigree."
Kaieteur is a 4-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Marlin, who won the 1997 Arlington Million during his own 4-year-old season. Prior to the Coral-Eclipse, Kaieteur had finished sixth in the Prince of Wales's Stakes.
Despite being overlooked in the wagering, Rakti was the runner-up behind the highly regarded Nayef in the Prince of Wales's, much to the delight of his trainer Michael Jarvis.
"He is a very fast horse and we have done a lot of work with him at home," Jarvis said immediately after that outing. "He has run a great race."
Less than two weeks later, Jarvis, who is attempting to space Rakti's races this season, explained his reasoning for pointing to the Arlington Million.
"The prize money is good," said Jarvis. "He (Rakti) is a horse with plenty of speed who goes on fast ground and the race is over a mile and a quarter which is his best trip, and his owner (Tanaka) is not averse to traveling his horses."
Tanaka's silks -- emerald green with gold trim on a white sash -- finished second in last year's Arlington Million with Sarafan and fourth with Caitano two years ago. They were also featured in the winner's circle aboard Golden Apples after last year's Beverly D.
More recently, on July 5, at Chicago's premier Thoroughbred oval, Frances J. O'Toole's Dr. Brendler, named for a Chicagoan, finished second by a half-length to Port Trust, Naify and San Gabriel Investments' Ballingarry, owned primarily by Chicagoan Sidney L. Port, in the Grade III Stars and Stripes Breeders' Cup Turf.
Although the Stars and Stripes winner is being pointed for the Grade I Sword Dancer Invitational Handicap at Saratoga August 9, the runner-up remains an Arlington Million possibility.
"He (Dr. Brendler) just got back here a couple of hours ago," said trainer Graham Motion July 7, when speaking over the phone from his Fair Hill headquarters in Maryland. "He came out of the race super, but I haven't had a chance to talk to the owner, and his status remains up in the air. I think I'll nominate him to everything that is coming up.
"The (Grade III) Arlington Handicap (July 26) and the Sword Dancer are both possibilities," Motion said. "The Arlington Handicap is only three weeks away, but it seems the more I run this horse, the better he does. Last year, his form tailed off toward the end of the year, and I'm wondering if I babied him too much.
"I'd love to run in the Arlington Million," the British-born Motion said when asked if it remained on the table coming three weeks after the Arlington Handicap. "It's always been a dream of mine."
Although Dr. Brendler is not nominated to the Arlington Million at the present time, late nominations close July 23.
The Grade I United Nations Handicap, another traditional Arlington Million prep, was run July 5 at Monmouth Park. Antsu Stable's Balto Star, the 37-1 United Nations winner, is not an Arlington Million nominee at the present time, but runner-up The Tin Man, owned by Ralph E. & Aury Todd and trained by Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella, was an original Arlington Million nominee.
Juddmonte Farms Requete, fourth in the United Nations, and Edmund A. Gann & Flaxman Holdings Ltd.'s Denon, fifth in the U.N. as the choice in the wagering, are both Arlington Million nominees trained by Hall of Fame conditioner Bobby Frankel, who has saddled two of the last three Arlington Million winners.
"Neither one had a fair shot," said Frankel when asked about that duo's performance at Monmouth. "It was a bad trip. I don't know yet what I'm going to do with them, but I'll probably run one in the Million and one in the Sword Dancer."
- END -