Donegal Racing’s Paddy O’Prado, the leading turf favoring
sophomore in North America, has been installed as the heavy even money favorite
for Saturday’s Grade I $400,000 Secretariat Stakes at Arlington Park while
Arlington Classic and American Derby hero Estrorace LLC’s Workin for Hops is
listed as the 5-2 second choice in his bid to sweep Arlington’s Mid-America
The Secretariat Stakes, the third leg of the Triple which
began with the $100,000 Arlington Classic on May 22 and continued with the Grade
II $200,000 American Derby on July 17, is a mile and a quarter turf test for
international-caliber 3-year-olds and is one of three Grade I stakes races on
the card that comprises Arlington’s International Festival of Racing. The
others are the $1 million Arlington Million for older turf stars and its sister
race, the $750,000 Beverly D., for grass distaffers.
A son of El Prado, Paddy O’Prado comes into the Secretariat
off back-to-back turf tallies, taking the Grade II Colonial Turf Cup at a mile
and three-sixteenths by three lengths at Colonial Downs on June 19 and
returning there four weeks later to annex the Grade II Virginia Derby by 1½
lengths at the mile and a quarter distance of the Secretariat.
Never worse than third in six starts on turf, the Dale
Romans trainee has drawn the rail in the seven-horse field and he will one
again team with Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux.
Workin for Hops, a Mike Stidham-trained son of City Zip,
was a 2 ¼-length victor in both the Arlington Classic and the American
Derby. Sandwiched between those local triumphs, Workin for Hops shipped
and finished second to Paddy O’Prado in the Colonial Turf Cup. Francisco
Torres, a last-minute substitute for Robby Albarado when Workin for Hops won
the American Derby, retains the mount for the Secretariat and the pair will
leave from post 7.
The only European-based runner in this year’s Secretariat
is Mark Hawtin’s Wigmore Hall. The Irish-bred son of champion High
Chaparral makes his North American debut after scoring victories in his
previous two starts in England.
The Michael Bell-trained gelding won his most recent effort at Newmarket
by 1 ¼ lengths after previously tallying a nose victory over the Knavesmire
when taking the $226,000 John Smiths Cup at York. Jamie Spencer makes the
trans-Atlantic journey to guide Wigmore Hall, who has been pegged as the 5-1
third choice, from post 4 in the Secretariat.
Lothenbach Stable’s Mister Marti Gras looks to rebound from
his runner-up finish in the American Derby. The locally based son of
Belong to Me won the $214,000 Oliver Stakes at Indiana Downs in his previous
start June 30 after finishing fourth in the Arlington Classic over this
course. Trained by Chris Block, Mister Marti Gras drew post 2 and will be
ridden by Eduardo Perez. He is listed at 10-1 in the morning line.
Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey’s Dean’s Kitten finished third in
the American Derby but was disqualified and placed fourth for interference in
the stretch. The son of 2004 Secretariat winner Kitten’s Joy ran second
behind Paddy O’Prado in the Grade III Palm Beach Stakes this winter at Gulfstream Park and later won the Grade II Lanes
End Stakes over Polytrack at Keeneland. The Mike Maker-trained colt, who
will be ridden by Eclipse Award winning jockey Julien Leparoux and is listed at
8-1 in the morning line, will start from post 5.
Completing the field for the Secretariat are James Hackman
& Glenn Thompson’s Two Notch Road (Michael Baze, post 6, 12-1), fourth in
the Virginia Derby and fourth in the $145,000 Jersey Derby in his last two
starts; and Millard R. Seldin Revocable Trust & the Estate of Hoss Inman’s
Cherokee Lord (Julio Felix, post 3, 30-1), third in the Oliver Stakes and
second in an allowance race over this course in his two most recent efforts.