Road to the 2010 Arlington Million: Vol. 3 - Wednesday, June 23, 2010
The brief calm after the storm of Great Britain's Royal Ascot meeting last week, combined with an unusual stakes schedule lull June 19-20 for North America's best older grass horses being pointed to this summer's Grade I Arlington Million, allow an opportunity for updates on Arlington's Grade I Beverly D. and Grade I Secretariat Stakes.
Original nominees to the Beverly D. as the Arlington Million's sister race were especially active last weekend. Charles Fipke's Lady Shakespeare took center stage in New York, coming from off the pace for a 2 3/4-length win in the Grade II New York Stakes over the Belmont lawn. Sagamore Farm's Shared Account proved best by a length in the Grade III All Along Stakes over the Virginia grass at Colonial Downs, and Philip Maas's A She's Adorable tallied by a length and a quarter on the Delaware Park turf in the $76,050 John W. Rooney Memorial.
All three of those stakes serve as preps for the $750,000 Beverly D., observing its 20th renewal this summer while annually attracting a majority of the world's best grass-favoring fillies to Arlington's world famous turf course.
Another original Beverly D. nomination active in the All Along was Darley Stable's Tizaqueena, who dead-heated for the third spot beaten only a length by the winner.
The older female turf division appears to be an exceptionally strong group this summer, with William Deburgh's Irish-bred Tuscan Evening, Juddmonte Farms' British-bred Proviso and Augustin Stable's homebred Forever Together also included in its top echelon and all among the original nominations to the 2010 Beverly. D.
However, 3-year-old colts and geldings that have already proved their ability to excel on grass are also abundant this season, and most of them are original nominations to Arlington's Mid-America Triple, which concludes with the $400,000 Secretariat Stakes.
The most obvious standout in that group is Donegal Racing's Paddy O'Prado, who tallied by three lengths in last Saturday's Grade II Colonial Cup, a 1 3/16-mile turf test for sophomores that was contested in Virginia. Earlier this year, the gray colt broke his maiden in the Grade III Palm Beach Stakes over the Gulfstream grass course before finishing third in the Kentucky Derby on the main track at Churchill Downs later in the spring.
Finishing easily second best in the Colonial Cup was Estrorace LLC's Workin for Hops, who won the 75th renewal of the Arlington Classic last month as the first leg of the Triple and remains a strong possibility for Arlington's Grade II American Derby July 17 as the Triple's middle leg.
No horse has swept the Mid-America Triple since Robert Schaedle III's Honor Glide accomplished the feat in 1997.
Arlington's one-day International Festival of Racing, which consists of the Arlington Million, the Beverly D. and the Secretariat, remain the only three Grade I events conducted in Illinois on an annual basis. The Festival is now less than nine weeks away on Aug. 21.
International Festival prep races slated for the coming weekend in North America include Woodbine's Grade II King Edward Stakes in advance of the Arlington Million and Hollywood's Grade III Beverly Hills Handicap eight weeks prior to the Beverly D.