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Barn Notes: Saturday, July 19, 2014

| Churchill Downs Communications | 07/19/2014 #
  • Joshua Tree wins his 2nd of 3 Canadian Internationals (G1) in 2012. [photo courtesy of Woodbine Entertainment]

In Today’s Notes: Joshua Tree Possible for St. Leger; Flamboyant Eyes Secretariat

JOSHUA TREE POSSIBLE FOR ST. LEGER
Seven-year-old globetrotting marathoner Joshua Tree is eying a possible run in the Listed $400,000 American St. Leger on Aug. 16, according to the International Racing Bureau.  A winner of an incredible three consecutive Group I Canadian Internationals, the son of the late Montjeu is exiting a seventh of 10 in the Group II Hardwicke Stakes at the Royal Ascot meeting – a race which has produced both winners of the St. Leger, Jakkalberry in 2012 and Dandino in 2013. 

The Ed Dunlop trainee finished one spot behind Dandino in this year’s edition of the oft-competitive Hardwicke and could get a chance to turn the tables on Million Day if Dandino makes the planned trip, as well.  Such looks doubtful at this point, as Dandino finished a disappointing sixth and last in the Group II Princess of Wales’s on July 10 at Newmarket.

Off form since his victory in October’s Canadian International, the bay horse has failed to hit the board in six consecutive events – including four Group I fixtures.  Despite that statistic, he did run a decent race in the Group I Prix Ganay at Longchamp in April over a trip short of his best, finishing fifth behind champions Cirrus des Aigles and Treve and only 1¼ lengths behind Arlington Million hopeful Smoking Sun. 

If the K. K. Al Nabooda and K. Albahou-owned campaigner does make the trip, the race will mark the eleventh country in which he has performed in his six-year career.  In addition to his home base of England and his aforementioned trips to Canada and France, he has also competed in the United Arab Emirates, China (Hong Kong), Italy, Germany, Ireland, Japan and Qatar.

FLAMBOYANT EYES SECRETARIAT
David Bienstock and Charles Winner’s Flamboyant has been nominated to the Grade I $500,000 Secretariat Stakes – the final leg of the MidAmerica Triple – with an intent to run if all goes well, according to his connections. 

Trained by Patrick Gallagher in California, the bay colt made his two most recent starts in New York, finishing a head-second to Gala Award in the Pennine Ridge Stakes and outrunning his 20-1 odds when third in the Grade I Belmont Derby Invitational behind Mr. Speaker and Adelaide.

“He came out of the race in good shape and we’ll nominate him for the Secretariat,” Gallagher confirmed.  “We’ll give him a little time to fully get over his race and he’ll work soon to prepare.”

By Peer Gynt, a Group II-winning son of Sunday Silence, Flamboyant is a French-bred who started six times in his native country before joining the Gallagher barn.  “He came here in the middle of February and had done well in Europe,” Gallagher explained.  “He came in good shape and he has acted nice before each of his races here.  We took him to Belmont with the (Belmont Derby) in mind and he did well.”

Despite doing well in all three Stateside starts, Flamboyant has consistently encountered trouble.  In both his Belmont starts, he was forced four-wide and in the La Puente Stakes at Santa Anita Park – prior to shipping to New York – he altered course around the eighth-pole before winning the 1 1/8-miles turf event over quality sophomores Home Run Kitten and Enterprising.  The latter won the Oceanside Stakes at Del Mar on Thursday. 

In his two Belmont races, Flamboyant was ridden by the talented Joel Rosario.  If all goes well, his connections will try to attain those services once again at Arlington.  “He’s run very good for Rosario, so we’ll try and see if we can get him,” Gallagher concluded.