The largest group of European equine invaders in the last
seven years remains on schedule for an Atlantic crossing in time for the
upcoming Grade I Arlington Million now two and a half weeks away on Aug. 21.
That list is headed by Kirsten Rausing’s Lady Jane Digby, a
5-year-old mare who defeated male rivals in Germany’s Group I
Bayerisches-Zuchtrennen July 25 and would join Allen Paulson’s 1986 Arlington
Million winner Estrapade as only the second mare to win the Million if she were
successful later this month.
Other European-based Million runners considered probable at
this time for the showcase race of the Chicago Thoroughbred racing season are
William Bellew’s Summit Surge, best by a length and a quarter over the
Knavesmire at York in Great Britain’s Group II Sky Bet York Stakes July 24;
Godolphin’s Allybar, who finished third by less than three in that same
test but was third beaten only two noses in last winter’s Group I Dubai World
Cup at Meydan in the United Arab Emirates; HRH Princess Haya of Jordan’s
Debussy, fourth in the Sky Bet York a head behind Allybar; Shadwell Stable’s
Tazeez, third in Great Britain’s Group II Princess of Wales’s Stakes at
Newmarket July 8 and third in the Group I Prince of Wales’s Stakes before
that on June 16 during the prestigious Royal Ascot meeting; and Juddmonte
Farms’ Famous Name, two and a half-length hero of Ireland’s Group III Meld
Stakes at Leopardstown in his last start July 22.
A seventh European-based runner, Alan Spence’s Jukebox
Jury, fourth in Germany’s Group I Grosser Preis von LOTTO July 17 but only
beaten a length for all of it, remains possible but not probable for the
Million at this time. The Irish-bred son of Montjeu finished second
beaten a half-length in Woodbine’s Grade I Canadian International last October.
Easily heading the list of North American-based
possibilities for the Arlington Million is Castleton Lyons’ Gio Ponti,
defending champion from the 2009 Million and in a position to become the first
horse in history to win back-to-back renewals of the Chicago classic. However, trainer
Christophe Clement remains undecided between another Million run or an attempt
at Del Mar’s Grade I Pacific Classic the following Saturday on Aug. 28.
Also on the fence between a start in the Million or the
Pacific Classic is trainer James Cassidy, whose 4-year-old gelding The Usual Q.
T., owned by Don Van Racing, Michael Nentwig, George Saadeh and Jeffrey Byer,
captured Del Mar’s Grade I Eddie Read Stakes on July 24, ran fourth in the
United Arab Emirates Group I Dubai Duty Free last March 27 at Meydan, and won
the Grade I Hollywood Derby last November.
North American-based runners considered probable for
Arlington Million XXVIII at this time include Robert Courtney’s Rahystrada,
hero of the Grade III Arlington Handicap July 17 as the designed local prep for
the Million as well as Jonathan Sheppard’s Just as Well and Shadwell Stable’s
Tajaaweed, second and third respectively in that same test.
Other possible starters for the upcoming Arlington Million
include Thomas McCarthy’s General Quarters, winner of Churchill’s Grade I
Woodford Reserve Turf Classic on Kentucky Derby Day May 1; W. C. Racing’s,
Westside Rentals.com and Neil Haymes’s Enriched, third in Del Mar’s Grade II
San Diego Handicap July 31 and third behind The Usual Q. T. in the Eddie Read
one week earlier; Jean and Ted Barlas and Michael Porcaro’s’s Quite a
Handful, a winner in optional claiming company at Indiana Downs’ July 12 and
fifth in Arlington’s $100,000 Illinois Owners Stakes May 15; and Mr. and Mrs.
Bertram Firestone’s Winchester, third in Monmouth’s Grade I United Nations
Stakes July 3 and winner of Belmont’s Grade I Manhattan Handicap on Belmont
Stakes Day June 5 and Arlington’s Grade I Secretariat Stakes in 2008.
Also contested as part of Arlington’s one-day International
Festival of Racing on Arlington Million Day is the Grade I Beverly D. Stakes,
which annually attracts some of the world’s best turf-favoring fillies and
mares, and the Grade I Secretariat Stakes, restricted to 3-year-olds of
international turf caliber.
Together, the Million, $750,000 Beverly D. and the $400,000
Secretariat are the only three Grade I races offered in Illinois on an annual basis.
Expected as the star attraction for the 20th renewal of the
Beverly D. as the Arlington Millions’ sister race is William de Burgh’s Tuscan
Evening, undefeated in six starts this year – all in graded stakes – including Arlington’s Grade III
Modesty Handicap July 17 as the designed local prep for the Beverly D.
Richard Duchossois’ Éclair de Lune, Nelson McMakin’s Hot
Cha Cha and Augustin Stable’s Rainbow View, second, third and fourth
respectively in the Modesty are all expected back for the Beverly D.
Helen Alexander and Helen Groves’ Acoma, fourth in Churchill’s
Grade III Locust Grove Handicap at last asking July 3 but only beaten a neck
for all the money; George Saufley, J. J. Pletcher and Graydon and William
Patterson’s Phola, sixth in Saratoga’s Grade I Diana Stakes July 31 but second
in Belmont’s Grade I Just a Game Stakes June 5; Juddmonte Farms’ Treat Gently,
winner of Delaware’s Grade III Robert G. Dick Memorial on July 17 and Belmont’s
Grade II Sheepshead Bay May 22; and Michael Tabor’s Turning Top, winner of
Hollywood Park’s Grade III Beverly Hills Handicap June 26; are also North
American-based expected Beverly D. runners.
Two European-based 4-year-old fillies expected to contest
the Beverly D. at this time are the Kentucky-bred Pachattack, owned by M. V.
Deegan, trained by Gerard Butler and a winner of her last two starts in listed
stakes company in Great Britain; and the British-bred Biased, a French-raced
maiden daughter of Haafhd owned by Marquesa de Mortalla and trained by Mikel
Donegal Racing Stable’s Paddy O’Prado, winner of Colonial’s
Grade II Virginia Derby at last asking July 17 and the Grade II Colonial Cup
before that June 19, remains the long range favorite for those expected to
start in the Secretariat Stakes as the final leg of Arlington’s Mid-America Triple.
However, capable of providing stiff competition for Paddy
O’Prado is Estrorace LLC’s Workin for Hops, who won the 75th renewal of the
$100,000 Arlington Classic May 22 and the Grade II American Derby July 17 as
the first two legs of the local Triple. Should he win the Secretariat,
Workin for Hops would become the first horse to sweep the Triple since Robert
Schaedle III’s Honor Glide accomplished the feat in 1997.
Wertheimer and Frère’s Interactif, runner-up in the
Virginia Derby, and Lothenbach Stables’ Mister Marti Gras, second in the
American Derby are other prominent sophomores being pointed for the
Secretariat, as are WinStar Farm’s Doubles Partner, fourth in the Colonial Cup
but winner of Churchill’s Grade II American Turf Stakes on Kentucky Oaks Day
April 30; Mr. and Mrs. A. C. Asbury’s Gleam of Hope, fourth under the wire but
placed third in the American Derby and winner of Churchill’s Grade III
Jefferson Cup June 12; Craig Family Trust’s Twirling Candy, winner of Del Mar’s
$112,000 Oceanside Stakes July 21; Darley Stable’s Hockley, sixth in that same
test; and Richard Bassett and Longitude Farm’s Alcomatch, runner-up in
Woodbine’s $112,000 Wando Stakes May 8.
European-based sophomores expected for the Secretariat at
this time are Godolphin’s Buzzword, winner of the Group I Deutsches Derby at
Hamburg July 18; Martin Hawtin’s Wigmore Hall, winner of the $226,000 51st John
Smith’s Cup at York July 10; Gestut Ittlingen’s Neatico, 10th in that Deutsches
Derby; and Mrs. Anne Coughlan’s Palm Ridge, who broke his maiden in Ireland at
Cork on Aug. 1.