The British are coming – again! Or at least that’s
the plan right now regarding Peter Harris’s British-campaigned Stotsfold, who
finished a very creditable third while gaining in the late stages of last
season’s Grade I Arlington Million.
“It is safe to assume that Arlington
can count on the impending return of Stotsfold in this summer’s Arlington
Million,” said Alastair Donald, director of the International Racing Bureau,
when speaking over the phone from the IRB’s Newmarket
headquarters in England
Wednesday morning. “(Trainer) Walter Swinburn has indicated that the
horse is doing as well as he was last summer – if not better – and that the
Million is his primary target once again.
“The plan for Stotsfold is to bypass Saturday’s (Group I)
Coral-Eclipse at Sandown in favor of an upcoming race at York
in early July,” Donald said, “and use that as his springboard to the
Million. In his last start, Stotsfold won the (Group III) Brigadier
Gerard Stakes (May 27) at Sandown.”
Swinburn, son of top Irish jockey Wally Swinburn and
himself a jockey of note earlier in his career, began his training career in
November of 2004. While still active in the saddle, Swinburn finished
fourth in the 1994 Arlington Million aboard Maktoum Al Maktoum’s Petit Loup and
won the 1996 Breeders’ Cup Turf astride Lord Weinstock’s Pilsudski.
According to Donald, another European-based campaigner now
under consideration for Arlington Million XXVIII on Aug. 21 is the Irish-bred
Stimulation, owned by Michael Kerr-Dineen and trained by Hugh Morrison.
“Stimulation was a very good horse as a 3-year-old,” said
Donald. “That was when he won the (Group II) Challenge Stakes at Newbury, and
was a good third behind (Arlington Million veteran) Pressing in Istanbul
(in the Group II International Topkapi Trophy in his start before that.
He was compromised by injury for most of 2009, but now as a 5-year-old has
still only made 14 lifetime starts. In his most recent start Stimulation
finished a very good fourth in the Group I Prince of Wales’s Stakes during the
Royal Ascot meeting June 16.”
on this side of the Atlantic Ocean,
owner-trainer Tom McCarthy updated the status of his Arlington Million hopeful
General Quarters Wednesday morning.
“(General Quarters) is doing just fine – couldn’t be
better,” said McCarthy, speaking over the phone from Louisville, where his
4-year-old gray son of Sky Mesa won the Grade I Woodford Reserve Turf Classic
on Kentucky Derby Day May 1.
“Right now, my plan is to put him on the grass down here on
July 6 and let him go five-eighths about 10 days before the (Grade III)
Arlington Handicap (July 17),” said McCarthy. “Then I’ll bring him
up there to Arlington
a few days before that race and blow him out on the Polytrack a day or so
before the race.”
The Arlington Handicap, like the Million run at 10 furlongs
world famous turf course, is the designed final local prep for the Million.
Million XXVIII – centerpiece event 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 race races offered in Illinois
on an annual basis.
Among the significant races slated this weekend in advance
of the International Festival of Racing are Great Britain’s Group I
Coral-Eclipse, Monmouth’s Grade I United Nations Stakes, Hollywood’s Grade II
American Handicap and Churchill’s Grade II Firecracker Handicap in advance of
the Million; and Hollywood’s Grade II Royal Heroine Mile and Churchill’s Grade
III Locust Grove Handicap in advance of the Beverly D.