Dale Romans is unsure whether any horse can usurp
I'll Have Another as leader of the 3-year-old male division, but one
thing is near certain: the winner of the Grade I $500,000 Secretariat
Stakes on Saturday at Arlington Park will be leader of the 3-year-old
Romans will saddle three in the Secretariat, including $125,000
Arlington Classic winner Mark Bacon & Dana Wells' Silver Max and
Grade III American Derby winner Albaugh Family Stable's Cozzetti, in an
attempt to become the first trainer to sweep the Mid-America Triple with
multiple horses. He could do it with three different horses if Donegal
Racing's Finnegan's Wake, third to Silver Max in the Grade II Virginia
Derby, wins the Secretariat.
Robby Albarado will ride Silver Max while Shaun Bridgmohan is slated
for the saddle aboard Cozzetti and Jose Lezcano has the call for
"Silver Max is in such good form and is such a nice horse, he's going
to be difficult to beat," Romans said Tuesday of the 9-to-5 morning
line favorite for the 1 ¼-mile race. "If he stubs his toe or something
goes wrong in the race, then it wouldn't surprise me if one of these two
were the ones to beat him."
Outside his own shedrow, the chief domestic threat to Silver Max is
Summer Front, who is undefeated in five turf tries, including
consecutive wins in the Grade III Hill Prince and the $100,000 Duluth
Stakes in New York.
"It's very exciting with this horse," said regular rider Ramon
Dominguez following the Duluth. "Every race he has been relaxing even
more and is very mature."
Christophe Clement trains Summer Front for Thomas Moore's Waterford
Stable. Clement has won both the Arlington Million and Beverly D Stakes
but is still looking for his first Secretariat Stakes victory in the
International Festival of Racing. Summer Front is the 5-to-2 second
choice on the morning line to get the job done.
With three-time Grade I and dual classic winner I'll Have Another
retired, a domestic turf male could possibly challenge for an Eclipse
Award in that division with a scourge of Grade I wins culminating in a
Breeders' Cup score, but an Eclipse Award in the turf male division is a
more reasonable pursuit.
"It'd be difficult for a turf horse to win an Eclipse Award as
champion 3-year-old male, especially when we have a horse who won the
first two legs of the Triple Crown," Romans said. "[Silver Max] would
have to finish the year awfully strong."
The international rivals in this year's Secretariat are His Highness
the Aga Khan's Studs' Bayrir, who won the Prix Eugene Adam Group II last
out in his native France, and Daddy Long Legs, fourth but beaten just
two lengths in the Group I Irish Two Thousand Guineas after failing to
finish in the Grade I Kentucky Derby following a win in the Group II UAE
Derby to begin his 3-year-old season. Christophe Lemaire will have the
Aidan O'Brien trains and Colm O'Donoghue rides Daddy Long Legs for
Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith, and Susan Magnier, which is the same team
that won last year's Secretariat with Irish Derby winner and Arlington
Million entrant Treasure Beach.
Either O'Brien or Romans would become the first trainer to win three
editions of the Secretariat. O'Brien also won the race in 2000 with
Ciro. Romans won in 2003 with Kitten's Joy and in 2010 with Paddy
Completing the Secretariat field is Jim Tafel's All Stormy (Rosemary
Homeister Jr.) and J. Paul Reddam's Handsome Mike (Mario Gutierrez).
The Secretariat is one of three Grade I stakes races on the card that
comprises Arlington's International Festival of Racing. The others are
the 30th running of the Arlington Million for older turf stars and the
$750,000 Beverly D. for distaff grass runners of international caliber.
New for the 2012 Festival is the inaugural edition of the $400,000
American St. Leger for marathon turf runners at a mile and