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First Europeans Arrive for Turf Festival

First Europeans Arrive for Turf Festival

The first of three transatlantic equine charters bringing European invaders to Arlington Park’s International Festival of Racing this Saturday touched down at O’Hare International Airport one week prior to the upcoming showcase day. 


Assuming there are no unanticipated complications, its three equine passengers, now in residence at the south end of Arlington’s International Barn, should clear quarantine sometime Monday.


Most familiar to Arlington’s perennial Festival fans aboard this year’s initial Air France charter was Mark Hawtin’s Wigmore Hall, slated for Saturday’s Grade I Arlington Million as the centerpiece race of International Festival.  The Irish-bred 4-year-old finished second in last year’s Grade I Secretariat Stakes as part of the 2010 Festival.


The other Arlington Million candidate aboard that first flight was the French-bred Zack Hall, owned by Mathieu Offenstadt, Sylvain Fargeon, Patrick Offenstadt and Mikel Delzangles.  That colt finished fourth in France’s Group I Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud at last asking June 26 but was second beaten less than a length in the Group III Prix d’Hedouville in his previous start May 5 at Longchamp.


Barbara and Cedrick Amm and  Marsh Shirtliff’s River Jetez, a South African-bred mare who is one of the headline attractions for Saturday’s Grade I Beverly D. as the sister race to the Arlington Million, completed the European-based troika aboard Air France’s initial transatlantic equine charter.  That globetrotting 8-year-old, who often races against males, was most recently fifth in Great Britain’s Group I Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket July 8 following an extended layoff after finishing second by a half-length against males in the Group I Singapore Airlines International Cup at Kranji May 22.  Before that she was beaten less than three lengths, also against males, in the Group I Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Sha Tin in Hong Kong on May 1.



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