Dullahan and Rahystrada Top Strong Edition of Grade III Arlington Handicap
Multiple Grade I winner Dullahan and two-time Arlington Handicap champion Rahystrada headline a field of eight older males in Saturday's Grade III $200,000 Arlington Handicap to be run over 10 furlongs on the Arlington International turf course.
Dullahan, who runs in the colors of Donegal Racing for trainer Dale Romans, looks to rebound off a pair of subpar performances over the Tapeta surface at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai, most recently having run 11th in the $10,000,000 Dubai World Cup behind 2011 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom. Dullahan won his second Grade I event in the 2012 Pacific Classic at Del Mar and earned a Grade III placing on the turf in the 2012 Palm Beach Stakes at Gulfstream. Kent Desormeaux, who piloted Dullahan to a win in the Grade I Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland in 2012, will ride the 4-year-old Even the Score colt Saturday under a 120-pound impost.
Robert E. Courtney, Jr.'s Rahystrada, a wire-to-wire winner in the 2012 renewal of the Arlington Handicap, has been assigned high weight of 121 pounds off a fourth-place effort against Grade II company in the Monmouth Stakes in New Jersey. The 9-year-old gelded son of Rahy is a three-time winner over the Arlington turf course, and will make his third start in the Arlington Handicap, having also won the 2010 edition. Rosie Napravnik will make the trip to Chicago for conditioner Byron G. Hughes.
Trainer Chris Block has cross-entered Team Block's Suntracer in this and the Stars and Stripes. Should he start here, he will carry 117 pounds under regular rider Eduardo Perez. A strong-finishing fourth last out in the restricted Black Tie Affair Handicap, Suntracer will look to earn his first graded stakes victory in the Arlington Handicap. The 5-year old Kitten's Joy horse has twice successfully beaten open stakes company in the past, most recently in the 2012 Robert F. Carey Memorial at Hawthorne.
Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey's Coalport, a winner for trainer Wayne Catalano in the restricted Black Tie Affair Handicap at Arlington in June, will reunite with jockey Channing Hill under 116 pounds. A son of Kitten's Joy, Coalport seeks his third straight victory while returning to the graded ranks, and has yet to lose from three starts on the local lawn.
Mill Ridge Farm's Grade III winner Keep Up returned to winning form in the local Swoon's Son in early June for conditioner Alex Clarkson. Ridden again Saturday by James Graham, the son of Unbridled's Song will carry 116 pounds from the rail.
The remainder of the Arlington Handicap field (with jockey and weight assignment) include: Shadwell Stable's Najjaar (Leandro Goncalves, 115), a close third in the Grade III Louisville Handicap last out at Churchill Downs; Niall Racing's Temeraine (Eddie Castro, 115), an allowance winner on the Tampa Bay Downs lawn in March; and Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey's Beer Garden (Julien Leparoux, 113), an easy allowance winner in his turf debut at Churchill in late June.
The mile and a quarter Arlington Handicap serves as the final local prep for the Grade I Arlington Million, which will be held Aug. 17, and is one of four major stakes that comprise the track’s Million Preview Day program. In addition to the Arlington Handicap, the 12-race card includes the Grade III $200,000 American Derby, the Grade III $200,000 Modesty Handicap and the Grade III $150,000 Stars and Stripes. As an added bonus, the 1-2-3 finishers in the Arlington Handicap will have their entry and starting fees waived for Arlington Million XXXI should they elect to run in that event next month.