Juddmonte Farms’ jubilation following their one-two finish
in Royal Ascot’s Group I Prince of Wales’s Stakes June 16 may also allow
Ireland’s all-time leading trainer Dermot Weld the chance to saddle the first
Grade I Arlington Million winner of his stellar international career.
That’s because the Juddmonte Farms of Prince Khalid
Abdullah’s Byword, hero of the Prince of Wales’s, and Juddmonte’s Twice Over,
runner up in that test but subsequent winner of Sandown’s Group I Coral-Eclipse
July 3, both appear headed to the Group I Juddmonte International at York
That leaves a third Juddmonte color bearer, the Irish-bred
Famous Name – trained by Weld – as a prominent possibility for the Arlington
Million Aug. 21, according to Alastair Donald, director of the International
Famous Name, who won the Group III Amethyst Stakes in his
last race May 9 at Leopardstown on the Emerald Isle, and Leopardstown’s $57,000
Heritage Stakes before that on April 18, is increasingly likely to be the Prince’s
designated Arlington Million runner. Other than Dotsam Stable, who won
the Million twice with the legendary John Henry, Juddmonte Farms is the only
two-time winning owner of the Million, having annexed the 2000 Million with
Chester House and coming back two years later to win the 2002 renewal with Beat
Weld, on the other hand, saddled Bertram Firestone and
Allen Paulson’s Theatrical to finish 10th in the 1986 Million as the choice in
the wagering but also saddled Shadwell Stable’s Muakaad to finish sixth in 2001
as a 15-1 longshot.
Also suddenly possible as a European representative in
Arlington Million XXVIII is Sir Robert Ogden’s Sans Frontieres, who upset Great Britain’s Group II Princess of Wales’s Stakes Thursday at Newmarket, who closed with a strong rush to
be best by a half-length.
Although sent to the post at 14-1, Sans Frontiere’s trainer
Jeremy Noseda was not surprised at the outcome.
“He’s always been a
classy but unfortunately got injured prior to Royal Ascot (2009) and had to
have the year off,” Noseda said. “He took a bit of getting fit in the
spring. His last two efforts (fourth in Royal Ascot’s Group III Hardwicke
Stakes and sixth in Cheltenham’s Group III
Huxley Stakes) were my fault. He showed a glimmer he
was back at Ascot. I thought he’d finish
in the first three today.”
Other European-base runners being pointed for this summer’s
Arlington Million now less than seven weeks away include Peter Harris’s
Stotsfold, third beaten less than a length and a half in last summer’s
Arlington Million, and Michael Kerr-Dineen’s Stimulation, fourth in Royal
Ascot’s Group I Prince of Wales’s Stakes in June.
Team Valor International’s Gitano Hernando, sixth in the
Grade I Dubai World Cup last March 27, was being pointed for the Arlington
Million but was taken out of training last month due to soreness from a splint
Of course, North American based horses being pointed for
the 2010 Arlington Million are headed by Castleton Lyons’ Gio Ponti, defending
champion of the 2009 Arlington Million, and Jonathan Sheppard’s Just as Well,
who was last summer’s runner-up.
Gio Ponti is slated to go to the post as the odds-on choice
in the wagering in Saturday’s Grade I Man o’War at Belmont Park,
and Just as Well is scheduled to be well-regarded in the Grade III Arlington
Handicap July 17.
Starlight Partners’ Take the Points, winner of last
summer’s Grade I Secretariat Stakes, and Bertram Firestone’s Winchester, hero
of the 2008 Secretariat, remain on schedule for a run in this summer’s Million
following second and third-place finishes respectively in Monmouth’s Grade I
United Nations Stakes July 3.
Tom McCarthy’s General Quarters, winner of Churchill’s
Grade I Woodford Reserve Turf Classic on Kentucky Derby Day May 1, breezed five
furlongs in 1:02 flat at Churchill Tuesday in preparation for the Arlington
Handicap July 17 as the designed prep for the Million.
Million XXVIII – centerpiece of the 2010 Chicago Thoroughbred racing season –
will go to the post late in the afternoon on the third Saturday in August,
preceded by the 20th renewal of the Grade I Beverly D. for many of the world’s
best fillies and mares. Completing Arlington’s
International Festival of Racing on that day will be the 34th running of the
Grade I Secretariat Stakes restricted to 3-year-olds of international turf
caliber. Together, they are the only three Grade I races offered in Illinois on an annual
Helen Alexander’s Acoma and Barbara Hunter’s Keertana,
fourth and fifth respectively in Churchill’s Grade III Locust Grove July 3 when
both were beaten less than a half-length for the win, remain on track for the
Beverly D. as the Arlington Million’s sister race.