Arlington Million

Barn Notes: Monday, August 12, 2013 – Late Edition

| Churchill Downs Communications | 08/12/2013 #
  • Solid Appeal shown winning at Woodbine Racetrack. (Photo courtesy Woodbine Racetrack)

In Today’s Notes: Trainer Reade Baker Confident in Solid Appeal; Final Europeans Arrive For Festival

Canadian Grade II winner Solid Appeal arrived early Monday morning at Arlington International Racecourse in advance of her attempt at the Grade I Beverly D. Stakes for owners Jim and Susan Hill.  Trained by Reade Baker, the daughter of Successful Appeal will try to make it four in a row and remain undefeated in 2013 in the prestigious $750,000 event.

“The horse is there now,” reported Baker.  “She walked off the van great and walked around the backstretch today to get used to her surroundings.”

Last out, the Kentucky-bred 4-year-old took down the Grade II Dance Smartly Stakes on July 7 at her Canadian home course of Woodbine Racetrack in a solid time of 1:46 flat for the about nine furlongs.  Previous to that, she took the Grade II Nassau Stakes at a mile on the turf on May 25, as well as an allowance over Keeneland’s Polytrack on April 24. 

“We put her in that race at Keeneland after she wintered at Margaux Farm and she wasn't half ready to run the race she did,” Baker explained.  “She just galloped.”

An improving filly, Solid Appeal has slowly come to hand over her three seasons of racing.  Originally running as low as a 37 Beyer Speed Figure when debuting at six furlongs on the Woodbine Polytrack, she earned a career high of 95 in the Dance Smartly.  “Once we put her on the grass, she got much better,” said Baker.  “We had her at Churchill Downs last fall and she ran a good race in the (Grade II) Mrs. Revere (Stakes), and she has kept on improving.”

November’s fourth-place finish in the 1 1/16-miles Mrs. Revere was Solid Appeal’s last loss.  Her three aforementioned victories in as many starts this year have been progressively more impressive, and her numbers have mirrored that fact.  Her Beyer Speed Figure in the Nassau was a 90, while her Keeneland win was a 79. 

Though Solid Appeal was ridden by Jesse Campbell in her last two races – both graded stakes victories – she will be reunited with leading national rider in purses earned Joel Rosario in the Beverly D., according to reports from the Daily Racing Form.  Rosario rode the dark bay filly in her Keeneland victory in April.  “We got some good news today about (Rosario).  We heard his mount scratched.”

Baker hopes the good news keeps on coming for what will be his first Beverly D. entrant.  “She’s been positive on top of positive on top of positive.  Her preparation has been almost identical.  I had one quick work with her in a minute and change right before the Dance Smartly and the other day she worked in almost exactly the same time (a bullet 1:00.60 on Aug. 3).  She’s in great shape,” he reported.  “It’s a Grade I stakes, is worth a lot of money and we are ready to run.”

The final four European entrants for the International Festival of Racing arrived Sunday afternoon at approximately 5:00 p.m. Central time.  The first to unload was James Wigan’s Dank, who will make her Grade I debut in the Beverly D. Stakes.  Following the filly was Godolphin’s Hunter’s Light and the Jeremy Noseda-trained duo of Yvonne Jacques’ Grandeur and Charles Fox’s Yeager.  Both Hunter’s Light and Grandeur will be among the favorites in the Arlington Million, while Yeager is considered an outsider in the Secretariat Stakes.

The Sunday arrivals should be able to train by late Tuesday morning, quarantine clearance-permitting.