|Arlington Park release
Contact: Graham Ross
(847) 385-7500 ext. 7319
EUROPEANS EMERGE FOR ARLINGTON MILLION; LOCALS SOLIDIFY STATUS
A tentative grouping of seven European stakes-placed campaigners has surfaced within the last week as probable for the 21st running of Arlington Million on Aug. 16. An additional three are considered possible at this time to make the Atlantic crossing in time for the Grade I centerpiece event of the Chicago Thoroughbred racing season, now less than three weeks away.
Heading the list of the most recent European contestants whose connections have shown interest in the 2003 Arlington Million is H R H Prince A A Faisal's Olden Times, fourth in the Group I Coral-Eclipse at Sandown July 5, and also fourth in the Group I Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot June 18. Olden Times, trained by John Dunlop, has been sold to stand at Plantation Stud following his racing career, which also includes a win in the Group III Earl of Sefton and a third-place effort in the Group I Lockinge Stakes.
Mrs. Susan McCarthy's Kaieteur, the third-place finisher in the Coral-Eclipse, was named a probability for the Million several weeks ago. Trained by Brian Meehan, who brought Freefourinternet from overseas to finish eighth in last year's Arlington Million, Kaieteur won Germany's Group I Bayerisches Zuchtrennen last year.
Mrs. Carde Ostermann-Richter's Paolini, an unlucky sixth in last year's Arlington Million, subsequently ran second in the Group I Hong Kong Cup and was also second to Ipi Tombe in the Grade I Dubai Duty Free March 29 this year. Paolini is trained by Andreas Wohler, who saddled Stiftung Gestut Fahrhof's Silvano to win the Million two years ago. In last year's event, Paolini was trapped behind horses throughout most of the stretch run.
Another European runner being looked at for the Million is 6 C Racing Ltd.'s Vangelis, victor in the Group III Grand Prix de Vichy July 23 at that French racecourse. Vangelis was previously second under the wire in the Group III Prix du Chemin de Fer du Nord at Chantilly June 8 before being subsequently disqualified.
Other European-campaigned runners being considered for the Arlington Million include Gary A. Tanaka's Touch of Land, second in the Group II Prix d'Harcourt and fourth in the Group I French Derby; Erik Penser's Beauchamp Pilot, winner of the listed Cambridgeshire Handicap in course record time while carrying 131 pounds; and R and EH Investments Ltd.'s Bourgainville, second in the Group III Gordon Richards Stakes at Sandown.
Possible European invaders for the Million are Godolphin Racing Inc.'s Sights On Gold, most recently second in the Group II Daily Record Scottish Derby at Ayr July 21; Kennett Valley Thoroughbreds V's Gateman, most recently fourth in the Group I Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot June 17 but winner of the Group III Diomed Stakes before that; and Mr. & Mrs. Laurence Jaffe's Eventuail, fourth in the Grade I Dubai Duty Free but winner of South Africa's Group I Summer Cup at Turffontein.
As the European Arlington Million candidates were beginning to sort themselves out overseas, here in Chicago for the second straight Saturday the winner of Arlington's featured graded stakes test stamped himself as a primary candidate for the upcoming showcase event.
On July 26, 3rd Turn Racing Stable LLC's Honor in War overcame the disadvantage of an outside post to capture the Grade III Arlington Handicap by a neck. The Arlington Handicap, run at a mile and a quarter over Arlington's world famous turf course, is the final local prep for the Arlington Million. Earlier this spring, on Kentucky Derby Day, Honor in War captured the Grade I Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs, another significant Million prep, won last year by Juddmonte Farms' Beat Hollow, the eventual 2002 Million winner.
On July 19, Stonecrest Farm's Perfect Drift, another premier Million candidate equally adept on turf or dirt, was a facile winner of Arlington's Grade II Washington Park Handicap at a mile and three-sixteenths over the main course.
On July 27 at Del Mar, Prestonwood Farm LLC's Special Ring tallied by five lengths in the Grade I Eddie Read Handicap, usually a significant Million prep for West Coast-based runners, but his connections have said a trip to Chicago is not in their immediate future.
However, on July 26 in Del Mar's Grade I John C. Mabee Handicap, Gary A. Tanaka's Golden Apples, the defending champion in Arlington's Grade I Beverly D., finished in a triple dead-heat for second, beaten a half-length by Michael Bello's Megahertz.
The $700,000 Beverly D. will run along with the $400,000 Secretariat on Arlington Million Day as part of the International Festival of Racing. Both of those races have also always attracted some of the best turf horses in the world. Together the three events are the only Grade I races offered in Illinois on an annual basis. The Secretariat, restricted to 3-year-olds, serves as the final leg of Arlington's Mid-America Triple, while the Beverly D., restricted to fillies and mares, is considered to be the sister race to the Arlington Million.
Golden Apples was making her first start of the year in Saturday's Mabee 'Cap, and plans call for her now to try to become the first two-time Beverly D. champion. Megahertz, however, is expected to remain on the West Coast, as is her stablemate Tates Creek, owned by Juddmonte Farms Inc. and another of those involved in the dead-heat for second in the Mabee. Geringer, Klein & Naify et al.'s Dublino the other runner-up in the Mabee, is still a Beverly D. possibility.
Run a little more than three hours before the Mabee on the East Coast in upstate New York was Saratoga's Grade I Diana Handicap, which proved to be a significant Beverly D. prep.
Green Hills Farm's Voodoo Dancer was allowed to settle early in the Diana, commenced a rally while well off the rail entering the lane and was up to be best by a neck in a courageous drive. The Christophe Clement trainee, who earlier won Hollywood's Grade II Beverly Hills Handicap, is expected to contest the upcoming 14th running of the Beverly D.
On July 26 in Chicago, Arlington hosted the Grade III Modesty Handicap as the final local prep for the Beverly D. Arthur B. Hancock III's Owsley, the top weight and favorite, was no disappointment to the fans when she rallied outside the leaders in the stretch to be best by a length at the wire. The Randy Schulhofer trainee remains under consideration for a return trip to Chicago for the Beverly D.
Among the European-campaigned fillies and mares who have been nominated to the Beverly D. at the second entry stage last week are Ecurie Vallin's Almond Mousse, who ran against males and finished third behind Vangelis in the Grand Prix de Vichy; Gestut Schlenderhan's Walzerkoenigin, who won the Group II Premio Emilio Turati in Italy in her first start this year and then finished third in the Group II Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket; and Mrs. C. Barbe's Garlinote, fifth in the Group I French One Thousand Guineas and second in the Group III Prix Chloe.
Team Valor, WinStar Farm & Sunmark Partners' Ipi Tombe, a Zimbabwe-bred who captured the Grade III Locust Grove Handicap at Churchill Downs in her last start June 28 and is the winner of 12 of 14 in her international career, including some against males, remains eligible to both the Arlington Million and the Beverly D.
- END -