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Paddy O'Prado Favored in Grade I Secretariat Stakes
Donegal Racing's Paddy O'Prado, the leading turf favoring sophomore in North America, has been installed as the heavy even money favorite for Saturday's Grade I $400,000 Secretariat Stakes at Arlington Park while Arlington Classic and American Derby hero Estrorace LLC's Workin for Hops is listed as the 5-2 second choice in his bid to sweep Arlington's Mid-America Triple.
The Secretariat Stakes, the third leg of the Triple which began with the $100,000 Arlington Classic on May 22 and continued with the Grade II $200,000 American Derby on July 17, is a mile and a quarter turf test for international-caliber 3-year-olds and is one of three Grade I stakes races on the card that comprises Arlington's International Festival of Racing. The others are the $1 million Arlington Million for older turf stars and its sister race, the $750,000 Beverly D., for grass distaffers.
A son of El Prado, Paddy O'Prado comes into the Secretariat off back-to-back turf tallies, taking the Grade II Colonial Turf Cup at a mile and three-sixteenths by three lengths at Colonial Downs on June 19 and returning there four weeks later to annex the Grade II Virginia Derby by 1½ lengths at the mile and a quarter distance of the Secretariat.
Never worse than third in six starts on turf, the Dale Romans trainee has drawn the rail in the seven-horse field and he will one again team with Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux.
Workin for Hops, a Mike Stidham-trained son of City Zip, was a 2 ¼-length victor in both the Arlington Classic and the American Derby. Sandwiched between those local triumphs, Workin for Hops shipped to Virginia and finished second to Paddy O'Prado in the Colonial Turf Cup. Francisco Torres, a last-minute substitute for Robby Albarado when Workin for Hops won the American Derby, retains the mount for the Secretariat and the pair will leave from post 7.
The only European-based runner in this year's Secretariat is Mark Hawtin's Wigmore Hall. The Irish-bred son of champion High Chaparral makes his North American debut after scoring victories in his previous two starts in England. The Michael Bell-trained gelding won his most recent effort at Newmarket by 1 ¼ lengths after previously tallying a nose victory over the Knavesmire when taking the $226,000 John Smiths Cup at York. Jamie Spencer makes the trans-Atlantic journey to guide Wigmore Hall, who has been pegged as the 5-1 third choice, from post 4 in the Secretariat.
Lothenbach Stable's Mister Marti Gras looks to rebound from his runner-up finish in the American Derby. The locally based son of Belong to Me won the $214,000 Oliver Stakes at Indiana Downs in his previous start June 30 after finishing fourth in the Arlington Classic over this course. Trained by Chris Block, Mister Marti Gras drew post 2 and will be ridden by Eduardo Perez. He is listed at 10-1 in the morning line.
Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey's Dean's Kitten finished third in the American Derby but was disqualified and placed fourth for interference in the stretch. The son of 2004 Secretariat winner Kitten's Joy ran second behind Paddy O'Prado in the Grade III Palm Beach Stakes this winter at Gulfstream Park and later won the Grade II Lanes End Stakes over Polytrack at Keeneland. The Mike Maker-trained colt, who will be ridden by Eclipse Award winning jockey Julien Leparoux and is listed at 8-1 in the morning line, will start from post 5.
Completing the field for the Secretariat are James Hackman & Glenn Thompson's Two Notch Road (Michael Baze, post 6, 12-1), fourth in the Virginia Derby and fourth in the $145,000 Jersey Derby in his last two starts; and Millard R. Seldin Revocable Trust & the Estate of Hoss Inman's Cherokee Lord (Julio Felix, post 3, 30-1), third in the Oliver Stakes and second in an allowance race over this course in his two most recent efforts.