Arlington Million

Europeans One-Two-Three Under Million’s Wire for First Time

Churchill Downs Communications | 08/10/2008 #

In Today’s Notes: 

·        Europeans One-Two-Three Under Million’s Wire for First Time

·        Europeans Finish One-Two in Secretariat Stakes for First Time

·        Six of Seven Europeans Finish on Board in International Festival

·        American-Based Einstein OK After Stumble at Start of Million


For the first time in Arlington Million history, European-based invaders for the centerpiece event of Chicago’s Thoroughbred racing season crossed under the wire as the first three finishers Saturday afternoon.

French-based Spirit One was the winner of Arlington Million XXVI, finishing three-quarters of a length in front of globally-based Archipenko, who crossed under the wire a length and a half to the good of Irish-based and British-bred Mount Nelson.

Five years ago, there was also an all European-based trifecta officially recorded in the 2003 Million chart, but that came only after the first disqualification in Arlington Million history.

That occurred when the California-based Storming Home, owned by Gainsborough Farm, conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Neil Drysdale, and ridden by Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens, was taken down from the win position and placed fourth.

Storming Home – ironically a British-bred – ducked out sharply nearing the wire to interfere with three other horses while losing his rider.  Stevens suffered initially life-threatening injuries in the resulting spill but recovered to resume his career.

Following the disqualification, Godolphin’s Irish-bred Sulamani became the adjudged winner of Arlington Million XXI, with Mrs. Carde Ostermann-Richter’s German-bred Paolini and Mrs. Susan McCarthy’s Irish-based Kaieteur (ironically a Kentucky-bred) moved up to second from their dead-heat third-place finish under the wire.

Arlington Park’s Grade I Secretariat Stakes was run for the 32nd time Saturday, but for the first time in its history as sophomore grass test for 3-year-olds of international caliber European-based horses finished first and second.

Irish-based Winchester, owned by Mr. and Mrs. Bertram Firestone and conditioned by Ireland’s all-time leading trainer Dermot Weld, drew off in the lane for a dominant 7 1/4-length victory in the $400,000 Secretariat, final leg of Arlington’s Mid-America Triple.  Irish-based Plan, owned by IEAH Stables and Michael Tabor and trained by Aidan O’Brien, proved clearly second-best while two and a half-lengths to the good of American-based favorite Tizdejavu, owned by Michael Cooper and Pamela Ziebarth.

Arlington Park – known for promoting the development of international Thoroughbred racing since the inception of the Arlington Million – quite surely encouraged the participation of European horsemen in the upcoming Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Santa Anita on October 24-25 based on results from Saturday’s three Grade I races at Chicago’s northwest oval.

A total of seven European-based Thoroughbreds made the Atlantic crossing to compete in Saturday’s Arlington Million, $750,000 Beverly D. and $400,000 Secretariat Stakes, and six of them finished on the board in their respective races, proving that the Europeans field an exceptionally strong group of horses this season.

All seven came out of their engagements in good order and were continuing to do well Sunday morning during a check of Arlington’s International Barn area.

Derrick Smith, Michael Tabor and Mrs. John Magnier’s Mount Nelson, this summer’s Group I Coral-Eclipse winner and third in Saturday’s Grade I Arlington Million, will return to Europe on an Air France charter to Paris Sunday and continue on to his home base in Ireland.

On the same Sunday night flight will be the Marquesa de Moratalla’s Toque de Queda, who was third in Saturday’s Grade I Beverly D.

“Everything is fine with her,” said Toque de Queda’s trainer Mikel Delzangles Sunday morning before returning to France.  “She has eaten up well and is not too stiff, and I look forward to seeing her in Paris tomorrow.”

Mr. and Mrs. Bertram Firestone’s Winchester, winner of Saturday’s Grade I Secretariat Stakes, and Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa al Maktoum and Dr.  A. H. Parker’s Archipenko, last spring’s Group I Queen Elizabeth II Cup in Hong Kong and the runner up in Saturday’s Million, will return to Europe on an equine charter flight to Paris currently scheduled for Wednesday.

IEAH Stables and Michael Tabor’s Plan, runner-up in the Secretariat, will remain in the United States and be sent to trainer Richard Dutrow.

Midnight Cry Stable’s Einstein, the American-based favorite in Saturday’s Arlington Million who stumbled at the start but recovered to finish fifth, came out of the races in good order, according to trainer Helen Pitts.