O'Brien shipping a contender for Arlington's Secretariat Stakes

Press Release
July 28, 2018 11:19am
As a jockey, Joseph O’Brien has made two trips to Arlington International Racecourse with his best finish being a runner-up effort aboard Magician in the Grade 1 Arlington Million in 2014. This year, he is likely to make his Arlington debut as a trainer when he sends Ming to the Grade 1, $400,000 Secretariat Stakes on Saturday, Aug. 11.

The 1¼-mile event for 3-year-olds over the turf is one of five stakes carded for the Arlington International Festival of Racing. The $100,000 Bruce D. Memorial Stakes, Grade 3 $100,000 Pucker Up Stakes, Grade 1 $600,000 Beverly D. and Grade 1 $1,000,000 Arlington Million also highlight the festival.

Owned by Demi O’Byrne, the 3-year-old son of Pour Moi has made four career starts and won his last two, which took place in respective three and four-horse fields. In his penultimate effort, Ming bested a pair at Gowran on June 24. Jockey Seamie Heffernan tracked the early leader and began asking Ming at the top the stretch, where he would go on to win under a hand ride by 1¾ lengths. Last out at Navan on July 14 Ming defeated three others while sitting just off the pace under rider William Lee. At the top of the stretch, Ming did not need much asking from his rider and went on to score by 2½ lengths.

“Obviously it would be a step up in class,” O’Brien said. “He likes fast ground. Sometimes he gets back a bit, but he always finishes up strong. We think that the track will suit him and we’re hoping for a good run.”

The only loss of Ming’s career took place in the Group 3 Airlie Stud Gallinule Stakes at The Curragh on May 27, which was won by fellow Secretariat aspirant Platinum Warrior. In this outing, Ming was closer to the pace and had command of the field in the final 200 meters of the race, but was confronted by Platinum Warrior and faded to sixth place. His stable mate Latrobe took the runner-up spot and would go on to win the Group 1 Irish Derby in his next start.  

“He raced a little too freely that day so that wasn’t his true running,” O’Brien said. “Platinum Warrior is coming as well and Latrobe obviously won the Irish Derby so it turned out to be a good quality race. He just burned himself that day. I would like to think we’ll be coming from further off the pace this time.”

Within the past year O’Brien has managed to defeat his father in prestigious events across the globe including the Group 1 Emirates Airlines Melbourne Cup last November with Rekindling and the Irish Derby with Latrobe. The younger O’Brien could pull off another major win against his father in the Secretariat as Aidan has a quartet of possible runners for the sophomore stakes, including Hunting Horn (IRE), Rostropovich (IRE), Lucius Tiberius (IRE) and Threeandfourpence. 

O’Brien stated that Ming would likely begin his journey to Chicago the Saturday evening prior to the Secretariat.

Other possible Secretariat contenders include Analyze It, Sniper Kitten, Untamed Domain, Real Story, Free Drop Billy, Carrick, Pont Du Gard, Bandua, Captivating Moon and Dubby Dubbie.


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