Thirteen Vie For Secretariat Stakes Title
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (Aug. 14, 2013) – Thirteen sophomore colts and geldings will contest the $500,000 Grade I Secretariat Stakes at 1¼-miles on Arlington International's world-famous turf course. Three have a special connection to the Secretariat, being sons of 2004 winner Kitten's Joy, who will seek to become the first Secretariat winner to sire a subsequent winner. That trio of runners looking to make history will be met by four runners exiting the Grade II Virginia Derby, another major race won by Kitten's Joy in 2004.
Ten domestic runners and three Europeans make up the Secretariat field, with the domestic contingent being led by Gary Barber's Jack Milton. Most recently a troubled third in the Grade II Virginia Derby at the Secretariat's 1¼-mile trip, the Todd Pletcher-trained son of War Front has been installed as the 3-1 morning line favorite and will be ridden by Joel Rosario.
The Virginia Derby's beaten favorite, Leonard Green, Harold Lerner, McConnell Racing Stables (Linda McConnell) and Sean Shay et al’s Rydilluc, will look to make amends after giving way in the stretch of that event in his first start at the 1 ¼-mile distance. Trained by Gary Contessa, the Grade III-winning son of Medaglia d'Oro captured the Grade III Palm Beach Stakes and the $500,000 Penn Mile thus far in his 2013 campaign and will be ridden in the Secretariat by Edgar Prado.
Dennis Narlinger's improving Draw Two also exits the Virginia Derby, a race in which he crossed the wire fourth after a less than ideal trip. Trained by Michelle Nihei, the strong-finishing Macho Uno colt will be partnered with Hall of Fame rider Gary Stevens.
The trio of Kitten's Joy progeny is led by a pair of runners from the Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey stable, Admiral Kitten and Amen Kitten. The former ran second as the public's wagering choice in the first two legs of Arlington’s Mid-America Triple – the Grade III Arlington Classic and the Grade III American Derby. Trained by Mike Maker, the multiple graded stakes-placed colt is slated to team with Rosie Napravnik in the Secretariat. The latter, under the care of conditioner Wesley Ward, exits a third-place effort in a 1½-mile turf event against older horses at Colonial Downs named for his sire. Amen Kitten will be ridden by E. T. Baird.
Olympia Star Inc.'s Kitten's Joy colt Golden Jason, a maiden winner over the Arlington main track in May, exits a third-place try against allowance company at Delaware and will be ridden by Julio Felix for trainer Gennadi Dorochenko, best known for springing a 109-1 upset in the 2012 Grade II Louisiana Derby with Hero of Order. Dorochenko also sends out Raut LLC's Bethel, a Pulpit colt who will be paired with rider Florent Geroux.
An international affair, the Secretariat also lured three Europeans lead by Team Valor International's Irish-bred Hurricane Run colt, First Cornerstone. A Group II winner from his score in The Curragh's Galileo EBF Futurity Stakes in his juvenile campaign, the Andrew Oliver trainee exits a subpar performance in the Group I French Derby, but has proven his mettle against Group I company in the past, finishing fourth in last year's Racing Post Trophy Stakes at Doncaster. Rider Chris Hayes, aboard for both of First Cornerstone's career wins, will travel to Chicago for the mount.
His Highness the Aga Khan's Studs will seek a second consecutive Secretariat score, having owned 2012 champion Bayrir, with the French-bred Rock of Gibraltar colt Visiyani. The Alain de Royer-Dupre charge was twice Group III placed as a 2-year-old and most recently won the Prix Banstar at Maison-Laffitte in his native France. His regular rider Christophe Lemaire will make the trans-Atlantic journey for the race.
Rounding out the Secretariat field are: Leonard Leveen and Michael P. Shanley's Stormy Len (Alex Solis), a Harlan's Holiday colt trained by David Donk who finished third in the Grade III American Derby; Juddmonte Farms' improving Tattenham (Kent Desormeaux), a Rock Hard Ten colt under the care of Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott who comes off a close second in a 10-furlong Belmont Park allowance race; Balthazar (Robby Albarado), a Red Giant sophomore exiting a second-place effort in a Saratoga allowance, owned by Peachtree Stables and trained by Dale Romans; and Charles Fox's Yeager (Ryan Moore), the Medaglia d’Oro colt who was recently a winner of an Ascot handicap for trainer Jeremy Noseda.
The Secretariat Stakes, one of four major turf races that comprise Arlington's International Festival of Racing, is included in a $200,000 guaranteed Pick-4 that will include the American St. Leger, the Beverly D., and conclude with the Arlington Million. The race will kick off a 50-cent Pick 5 wager with a $100,000 guaranteed pool and a takeout rate of just 15 percent.
Arlington International Racecourse – the Chicago area’s premier Thoroughbred racetrack located in Arlington Heights, Ill. – will run an 89-day meet in 2013 from Friday, May 3 through Sunday, Sept. 29. Arlington International Racecourse, whose parent company is Churchill Downs Incorporated (Nasdaq: CHDN), also operates 11 off-track, simulcast-wagering facilities in Arlington Heights, Aurora, Chicago, East Moline, Waukegan, Villa Park, Rockford, South Elgin, McHenry, Orland Hills and Hodgkins. Information on Arlington International Racecourse and Trackside OTB can be found online at www.arlingtonpark.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/arlingtonpark and www.facebook.com/tracksideotb, and on Twitter at @Arlington_Park for the latest happenings, @arlingtonracing for the latest racing news and @tracksideotb for all things pertaining to off-track wagering.