Stacelita & Gio Ponti Among 20 Arlington Raced Horses Pre-Entered for Breeders' Cup
Arlington Park again proved to be a stepping-stone for the Breeders' Cup World Championships with one Breeders' Cup Challenge winner, four additional 2011 Arlington stakes winners, 11 other Arlington Park '11 participants and four additional horses who raced at Arlington in past seasons listed among the record 193 horses pre-entered for this year's event to be run at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. on Friday, Nov. 4 and Saturday, Nov. 5.
Leading the way among 2011 Arlington stakes winners pre-entered in the Breeders' Cup is Stacelita, who earned a berth into the Grade I $2 million Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf by virtue of winning the Grade I Beverly D. on Aug. 13. The Beverly D. was part of the Breeders' Cup Challenge "Win and You're In" format, which automatically places the winners of selected major stakes races at racetracks worldwide, including Arlington Park. into a corresponding divisional race.
Joining Stacelita in the Filly and Mare Turf are Beverly D. runner-up Dubawi Heights and fourth-place finisher Fantasia, who previously won the Grade III Modesty Handicap here.
The retirement of Grade I Arlington Million and Breeders' Cup Challenge winner Cape Blanco doesn't mean that this year's Million will be unrepresented in the Grade I $3 million Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Turf as third-place finisher Dean's Kitten, who also ran third here in the Grade III Arlington Handicap, has been pre-entered for that mile and one-half turf tilt. Also nominated for the Turf is Winchester, who won the 2008 edition of the Grade I Secretariat Stakes and finished second in an off-the-turf renewal of the Grade III Stars and Stripes Stakes this year.
Speaking of the Arlington Million, Gio Ponti, the 2009 Million winner who was second to Debussy last year and second to Cape Blanco in this year's renewal, has been pre-entered in both the Grade I $2 million TVG Breeders' Cup Mile and the Grade I $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic, listing the Classic as first preference at pre-entry time.
The Arlington Sprint was moved to the grass in 2008 with the idea of the race serving as a prep race for the Grade II $1 million Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint. Last year's Arlington Sprint hero Chamberlain Bridge went on to win the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint and returns this year to defend his crown while the connections of this year's Arlington Sprint winner, Havelock, are hoping for similar success. Also nominated to the Turf Sprint is Arlington Sprint runner-up Country Day.
Pachattack, winner of the Grade III Arlington Matron on Polytrack, is hoping for her first victory on dirt when she runs in the Grade I $2 million Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic. In her lone start on dirt, the daughter of Pulpit ran a solid second in the Grade I Personal Ensign at Saratoga over the Labor Day holiday weekend.
The Chicago-based Giant Oak, winner of the 2009 Arlington Classic who has since gone to be a multiple Grade I stakes winner (the 2010 Clark Handicap at Churchill and the 2011 Donn Handicap at Gulfstream Park), has been pre-entered in the $500,000 Breeders' Cup Marathon.
Joining Giant Oak as Marathon pre-entrants are the race's defending champion Eldaafer, who finished fourth here in the 2009 edition of the Grade III Washington Park Handicap, and Tutti Buona Gente, who made one start here this summer for his previous connections.
Five 2-year-olds that made a mark at Arlington this summer have been pre-entered in the various Breeders' Cup World Championship races for the freshman set. The lone Arlington stakes winner among these is Rocket Twentyone, winner of the Grade III Arlington-Washington Lassie, who has been pre-entered in both the Grade I $2 million Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies and the Grade II $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. Her first preference at pre-entry time is the Juvenile Fillies.
Also pre-entered in that pair of races is Stephanie's Kitten, who broke her maiden here Sept. 23 before going on to win the Grade I Alcibiades at Keeneland in her most recent start. The Juvenile Fillies Turf is first preference for Stephanie's Kitten.
Ann of the Dance, who was third in the Lassie after two previous victories here, has been pre-entered in the Juvenile Fillies.
Take Charge Indy, runner-up in the Grade III Arlington-Washington Futurity in September after breaking his maiden here in July, has been pre-entered in the Grade I $2 million Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile.
Coalport, a maiden winner at Arlington who went on to finish second in the Grade III Bourbon at Keeneland Oct. 9, and Tequila Factor, a maiden winner on Polytrack here who has since gone on to capture a pair of stakes races on the grass, have been pre-entered for the Grade I $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf.
Rounding out the horses with Arlington connections pre-entered for this year's Breeders' Cup is Caleb's Posse who has been pre-entered in both the Grade I $1 million Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile and the Grade I $1.5 million Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup Sprint with the former race being first preference of the connections. Caleb's Posse was stabled here this summer and broke his maiden here last year as a 2-year-old.
This year's two-day Breeders' Cup format has all of the races restricted to fillies and mares plus the inaugural edition of the $500,000 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Sprint run on Friday, Nov. 4 and the remaining championship races contested Saturday, Nov. 5.
The 15-race Breeders' Cup World Championships, with $25.5 million in total purses, will be simulcast to Arlington Park and its network of Trackside off-track wagering facilities.
On Friday, first post at Churchill Downs is 1 p.m. Central time with the first of six Breeders' Cup races slated to go to the post at 3:10 p.m. The last of Friday's Breeders' Cup races, the $2 million Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic will be run under the lights at 6:30 p.m. Illinois Thoroughbred racing at Hawthorne will start at 3 p.m. The following day's action from Churchill Downs begins at 11:05 a.m. with the first of nine Breeders' Cup events scheduled for 12:20 p.m. while the first local race from Hawthorne is set for 1:40 p.m. The final Breeders' Cup race, the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic, will be run at 5 p.m.
Arlington Park will open its Million Room restaurant for a special Breeders' Cup package on Saturday, Nov. 5. For $45 per person, fans will receive admission, program, a continental breakfast and a special lunch buffet. Reservations are required for this package and can be secured by calling (847) 385-7410 or by purchasing tickets online at www.arlingtonpark.com.
Arlington's International Room will also be open for the Saturday portion of the Breeders' Cup World Championships. An ala carte menu will be available with a $15 food and beverage minimum purchase required. Reservations are required and can be secured by calling (847) 385-7410.
In addition, Mr. D.'s Sports Bar located on the east end of the apron level of the grandstand will be open both Friday and Saturday. The popular sports bar will be open from noon until 11 p.m. on Friday and from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Saturday.
Illinois Trackside locations will open early both days and each location will offer food and beverage specials throughout the day. For more information regarding Breeders' Cup events at Trackside locations, visit www.tracksideotb.com