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Secretariat Stakes Advance
TREASURE BEACH FAVORED IN GRADE I SECRETARIAT STAKES; WILLCOX INN SEEKS MID-AMERICA TRIPLE SWEEP
European-based sophomore star Treasure Beach, owned by Derrick Smith, Mrs. John Magnier and Michael Tabor, is listed as the 2-1 morning-line favorite for Saturday's Grade I $400,000 Secretariat Stakes at Arlington Park while Arlington Classic and American Derby hero All In Stable's Willcox Inn has been installed at 9-2 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 28 and continued with the Grade II $200,000 American Derby on July 9, 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.
An English-bred son of Galileo, the Aidan O'Brien-trained Treasure Beach stamped himself a force to be reckoned with when capturing the Group I Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at The Curragh on June 26 after missing by only a head in the Group I Investec Derby at Epsom on the first Saturday in June. In his last trip to the post on July 14, the bay colt finished fourth in the Group I Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamp. His regular rider Colm O'Donoghue will make the trans-Atlantic trip to pilot Treasure Beach, who drew post 3 in the 10-horse field.
The locally based Willcox Inn seeks to become the fourth horse to sweep the Mid-America Triple and the first since Honor Glide completed the feat in 1997. The Mike Stidham-trained son of Harlan's Holiday, who will leave from post 9, has shown flexibility by winning over yielding going in the Arlington Classic and over firm ground in the American Derby. Robby Albarado, who has been aboard for each of Willcox Inn's previous Arlington scores, gets the return call for Secretariat.
One race that will play a significant role in the Secretariat is the Grade II Virginia Derby with the second-, third-, fourth- and seventh-place finishers all passing the entry box.
Glen Hill Farm's Banned, listed as the 3-1 second choice, finished second, just a neck behind Air Support in their meeting over the Colonial Downs turf course last month. Prior to that, the Tom Proctor trainee won back-to-back races over the Churchill Downs lawn – the Grade II American Turf in May and the Grade III Jefferson Cup the following month. Garrett Gomez has the mount aboard Banned, who drew post 7 for Saturday's race.
There is one other European is in the Secretariat field, Ziyarid, owned by His Highness the Aga Khan's Studs. The son of Desert Style has won his last three starts overseas including the Group III Prix Daphnis at Longchamp last out on July 2. Trained by Alain de Royer-Dupre and slated to be ridden by Christophe Lemaire, Ziyarid is listed at 10-1 in the morning line and will leave from post 2.
Team Block's Suntracer and Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey's Derby Kitten, the two-three finishers in the American Derby, return for the Secretariat and are both sons of 2004 Secretariat Stakes winner Kitten's Joy and both listed at 15-1 in the morning line. The former, trained by Chris Block, breaks from post 6 and will be ridden by 2005 Arlington Park riding champion Shaun Bridgmohan while the latter, is trained by Mike Maker and will be ridden by Julien Leparoux leaving from post 8.
Completing the field for the Secretariat Stakes (with jockey and morning line listed) are: Gary and Mary West's Casino Host (Ramon Dominguez, 8-1), third in the Virginia Derby; Team Valor International's Crimson China (Rajiv Maragh, 15-1), winner of the $70,000 Lamplighter at Monmouth Park and most recently seventh in the Virginia Derby; Raut LLC's L'Aiglon (Florent Geroux, 50-1), a winner for a $25,000 claiming price July 28; and James Karp's Newsdad (Joel Rosario, 10-1).