Suddenly, the connections of a host of
European-based horses are making tentative plans to ship across the Atlantic
for Arlington Park’s
upcoming International Festival of Racing to be run on Saturday, Aug. 13.
Arlington’s one-day International
Festival is comprised of the only three Grade I races run in Illinois – the
Arlington Million over Arlington’s world famous turf course, the $750,000
Beverly D. for some of the world’s best grass-favoring fillies and mares, and
the $400,000 Secretariat Stakes, restricted to 3-year-olds of international
Irish-bred Cape Blanco, the 4-year-old
owned by the partnership of Fitri Hay, Derrick Smith, Susan Magnier and Michael
Tabor and trained by Aidan O’Brien, who defeated Castleton Lyons’ Gio Ponti in
Belmont’s Grade I Man o’War Stakes July 9, is expected to come to Chicago for
Arlington Million XXIX and match strides with Gio Ponti once again.
Gio Ponti, trained by French-born
Christophe Clement, finished second in last year’s Million, but won the 2009
edition and could become only the second horse in history – along with Dotsam
Stable’s legendary John Henry – to win the Grade I Arlington Million twice.
However, other European-based horses
whose connections are making inquiries about transatlantic shipping for
Chicago’s showcase race include Mark Hawtin’s Irish-bred Wigmore Hall,
runner-up in last summer’s Grade I Secretariat Stakes, and Shadwell Stable’s
Tazeez, third in last summer’s Arlington Million.
Coincidentally, both Wigmore Hall and
Tazeez were somewhat compromised by their respective starts during Arlington’s
2010 International Festival. Wigmore Hall’s most recent trip to the post
came in the Group I Singapore Airlines International Cup in Singapore May 22
but the upcoming Million has always been the goal established by his trainer
Tazeez, on the other hand,
conditioned by last year’s Arlington Million-winning trainer John Gosden, is
expected to go to the post in the Great Britain’s
Group I Sky Bet York Stakes on the Knavesmire at York
Two other prospective European shippers
for the Million – H. R. Mould’s British-bred Ransom Note, trained by Barry
Hills and fifth in the prestigious Group I Queen Anne Stakes during the Royal
Ascot meeting June 14, and Gary Tanaka’s British-bred Forte Dei Marmi,
conditioned by Luca Cumani and winner of the $156,000 Dubai Duty Free Stakes
last September at Newbury – are also expected to run in the Sky Bet York Stakes
British-bred Sri Putra, owned by H. R.
H. Sultan Ahmad Shah and trained by Roger Varian, who was third in the Group I
Coral-Eclipse at Sandown July 1 and third in the Group I Prince of Wales’s
Stakes during the Royal Ascot meeting June 15, is also under consideration for
Arlington Million XXIX, as is the French-bred Zack Hall, owned by Mathieu
Offenstadt and trained by Mikel Delzangles, who was fourth in France’s Group I
Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud at Saint-Cloud in his last start June 26.
European-based fillies and mares whose
connections are making shipping inquiries in advance of the Beverly D. Stakes
as the Arlington Million’s sister race over the local lawn are headed by the
South African-bred River Jetez, owned by Mr. and Mrs. C. A. Amm and Marsh
Shirtleff and trained by Michael de Kock.
In her last start July 8 at Newmarket
in Great Britain’s Group I Falmouth Stakes at one mile, the 8-year-old mare
finished fifth, beaten 3 1/2-lengths for the win, but the race was too short
for her favored longer run, there was no strong pace in the race, and she had
not run since May 22 when she finished second (beaten a half-length) in the
Group I Singapore Airlines International Cup in Singapore.
Other strong members of the
European-based distaff set being considered for the 21st renewal of the Beverly
D. are three sophomore fillies – the Irish-bred Barefoot Lady, owned by Mrs.
Normal Steel and trained by Richard Fahey, who was third in the Group I
Coronation Stakes June 17 during the Royal Ascot meeting; the British-bred
Joviality, owned by H. R. H. Princess Haya of Jordan and trained by John
Gosden, who finished fourth in Great Britain’s Group I Falmouth Stakes at
Newmarket July 8; and the German-bred Danedream, owned by Gestut Burg-Eberstein
and conditioned by Peter Schiergen, who won Italy’s Group II Italian Oaks in
Milan May 29 and was most recently fifth in France’s Group II Abu Dhabi Prix de
Malleret at Saint-Cloud June 26.
Two European-based 4-year-old fillies
being considered for the Beverly D. are the Irish-bred Field Day, owned by
Ballymacoll Stud and trained by Brian Meehan, who was sixth in Royal Ascot’s
Group II Windsor Forest Stakes June 15; as well as the Irish-bred Contradanse,
owned by Stephen Stuckey and trained by Luca Cumani, who most recently finished
fourth in France’s Group II Prix Corrida at Saint-Cloud May 23.
The connections of European-based
sophomores who are considering a transatlantic journey for the Grade I
Secretariat Stakes over Arlington’s grass include those of the Irish-bred
Colombian, owned by Princess Haya of Jordan and trained by John Gosden, who was
fourth in the Group I French Derby at last asking on June 5 at Chantilly; the
Irish-bred Ziyarid, owned by the Aga Khan and trained by Alain de Royer-Dupre,
who won France’s Group III Prix Daphnis at Longchamp on July 2; and the
German-bred Saltas, owned by Gestut Ittlingen and conditioned by Peter
Schiergen, who finished third in the Group I German Derby at Hamburg July 3.
Those three would come to challenge All
In Stable’s Willcox Inn, who won the prestigious Arlington Classic May 28 and
the Grade II American Derby July 9, and is now in a position to become the
fourth horse in history to sweep Arlington’s
Mid-America Triple with a victory in the Secretariat Stakes.