Barn Notes: Thursday, May 2
In Today’s Notes: Million Contenders Wind up in Woodford; Beverly D. Contenders in Distaff Turf Mile; Mid-America Triple Contenders in American Turf Stakes; 15% Takeout Wagers Give More Back to the Fans
MILLION CONTENDERS WIND UP IN WOODFORD
This Saturday’s Grade I Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs, which immediately precedes the Kentucky Derby, could have serious implications for the Arlington Million. Six of the nine entered are nominated to Arlington International Racecourse’s signature race.
Headlining those nominees is the Phipps Stable star, Point of Entry. An earner of over $2 million and winner of four Grade I turf races in his last five starts, Point of Entry is coming off an impressive win over Kentucky Derby and Dubai World Cup champion Animal Kingdom in the Grade I Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap. His only recent loss was a hard-luck second in the Breeders’ Cup Turf to 2012 Arlington Million champion Little Mike.
B.J. Wright’s Grade I-winning Jeranimo has been aimed toward the Arlington Million since his superbly impressive win in Santa Anita’s Grade II San Marcos Handicap in January. Hoping to use the Turf Classic as a step toward the Million, the Mike Pender trainee should have something to say about the outcome. Phil Cunningham’s multiple Grade II winner, and 2012 Turf Classic runner-up, Slim Shadey looks to land his first win at the highest level after multiple Grade I placings.
Adding more depth to the field is last year’s Arlington Classic victor Silver Max, who will most likely make the pace for owners Mark Bacon and Dana Wells. A beaten favorite in last season’s Grade I Secretariat Stakes, Silver Max could return for redemption at Arlington in August.
Three horses since the Turf Classic’s 1987 inception have gone on to win the Arlington Million, including champion Paradise Creek and Hall of Fame member Manila.
BEVERLY D. CONTENDERS IN DISTAFF TURF MILE
Arlington International Racecourse’s signature event for turf fillies and mares, the Beverly D. Stakes, may have some serious contenders surface from Saturday’s Grade II Distaff Turf Mile. The $250,000 race includes four entrants also nominated to Arlington’s $750,000 classic.
Glen Hill Farm’s Grade I-winning racemare Marketing Mix, runner-up in last year’s Beverly D., has been made the 5-2 morning line favorite. Trained by Arlington veteran Tom Proctor, Marketing Mix will be making her 2013 debut.
The favorite will also have to contend with perennial leading Arlington trainer Wayne Catalano, as he sends out Grade I-winning Stephanie’s Kitten. Making her 2013 debut, the homebred of Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey won the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.
The early pace may belong to James Miller’s Daisy Devine, a Beverly D. nominee and winner of 2012’s Grade I Jenny Wiley Stakes at Keeneland. Ridden by Arlington-based fan favorite James Graham, the tough mare comes off a valiant second in this year’s edition of that same race.
MID-AMERICA TRIPLE CONTENDERS IN AMERICAN TURF STAKES
Arlington International Racecourse’s Mid-America Triple, consisting of the Grade III Arlington Classic, Grade III American Derby and Grade I Secretariat Stakes, may see plenty of action from Friday’s American Turf Stakes at Churchill Downs. Immediately preceding the Kentucky Oaks, all 13 entrants are nominated to Arlington’s popular sophomore turf series.
Martin Schwartz and Dell Ridge Farm’s Noble Tune, a regally bred son of Unbridled’s Song, starts as the 3-1 favorite for 2011 Beverly D. winning trainer Chad Brown. Second in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, the dark bay should prove formidable for a stable batting 32% off the bench.
Dale Romans and Bill Mott, each with two wins in Arlington’s Secretariat Stakes, will be represented in the American Turf. Romans entered Forum Racing’s Tenforthemoney and Frank Jones Jr.’s Prado Cat, while Bill Mott entered Fire Guard, a highly regarded homebred of 2002 Secretariat Stakes winner Juddmonte Farm. Arlington-based trainer Danny Peitz will be represented by Shadwell Stable’s homebred Bashaar, who exits a 13-length win in the slop at Oaklawn.
15% TAKEOUT WAGERS GIVE MORE BACK TO THE FANS
Arlington International Racecourse is now the only racetrack in the United States to offer four wagers with a low takeout rate of 15%. The 50-cent Pick 5 and $1 Jackpot High 5 return at 15% takeout. The latter returned a record payoff in excess of $1.1 million last year. The $1 Pick 6 on the final six races and new 10-cent Jackpot Pick 9 also offer 15% takeouts. The Jackpot Pick 9 will only be paid out when there is a single winning ticket. In the case of multiple winners, 50% of the pool will be distributed among the winners, with the remaining 50% carried over to the next day.