Arlington Million

Festival Pre-Entries: Friday August 9, 2013

| Churchill Downs Communications | 08/09/2013 #
  • Little Mike returns in a bid to become the first back-to-back winner of the Arlington Million. (Photo by Four Footed Fotos)

In Today’s Notes: Six Euros Pre-enter Million to Take on Little Mike, A Bevy of Talent Pre-entered for Beverly D., Secretariat Could Be Round Three for Rydilluc and Jack Milton, Dark Cove and Dandino Headline American St. Leger Pre-entries

Defending Grade I Arlington Million champion Little Mike (trained by Dale Romans) was pre-entered along with thirteen others for the 31st Arlington Million on Aug. 17.  If the son of Spanish Steps proves victorious again for owner Priscilla Vaccarezza, he will have to defeat up to seven foreign interests, including three Group I winners – GusMay-Fer’s Indy Point (Richard Mandella) from Argentina via California, Godolphin Racing’s Hunter’s Light (Saeed bin Suroor) from the UAE and Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa al Maktoum’s The Apache (Mike De Kock).

Also pre-entered from across the pond were Yvonne Jacques’ multiple Grade II-winning Grandeur (Jeremy Noseda), Giuliano Manfredini’s lightly raced Guest of Honour (Marco Botti), Pearl Bloodstock’s battle-tested gelding Side Glance (Andrew Balding) and Invictus’ improving Mull of Killough (Jane Chapple-Hyam). 

The American contingent to challenge Little Mike is talented and deep.  Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey’s Real Solution (Chad Brown) exits a strong third-place finish behind the brilliant Point of Entry in the Grade I Manhattan Handicap, while Robert E. Courtney, Jr.’s Rahystrada (Byron Hughes) and Windy Hill Farm’s Nates Mineshaft (Anne Smith) exit strong victories over the local course. 

While Nates Mineshaft won a classy turf allowance, Rahystrada took down the course and distance prep – the Grade III Arlington Handicap.  Second in that race was Niall Racing’s fellow Million pre-entry Temeraine (Tom Proctor), an improving horse who outran his long odds.  Dale Romans also pre-entered Donegal Racing’s Finnegans Wake, whose closing style would compliment his stablemate if both run. 

Ten fillies, all stakes winners, were pre-entered in the Grade I Beverly D. Stakes on Friday, eight days in advance of America’s most prestigious filly and mare turf race outside of the Breeders’ Cup.  Six pre-entries from the United States, two from England and one each from Ireland and Canada make the field an international affair.

Leading the likely field is Glen Hill Farm’s 2012 Beverly D. runner-up Marketing Mix (trained by Tom Proctor), a winner of nearly $2 million.  Some of the most powerful ownerships in the world will line up to take on Marketing Mix.  Juddmonte Farm’s Starformer (Bill Mott), Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey’s Artemus Kitten (Mike Maker), Shadwell Stable’s Ausus (Danny Peitz) and Flaxman Holding’s Duntle (David Wachman) have been pre-entered for a piece of the $750,000 purse. 

Ireland’s aforementioned Duntle, who would be a Group I winner if not for a disqualification last fall, leads the European invasion.  Joining her from across the pond will be two England-based fillies – Alan D. Spence’s improving Gifted Girl (Paul Cole) and James Wigan’s Dank.  The latter will be internationally renowned trainer Sir Michael Stoute’s first attempt in the Beverly D.

Hernandez Racing Club’s local Arlington star filly La Tia (Armando De La Cerda), Jim and Susan Hill’s Canadian graded stakes winner Solid Appeal (Reade Baker) and Etraham Farm’s five-time Grade I-placed Dream Peace (Chad Brown) round out the likely field. 

Team Stallion Racing Stable’s highly regarded Rydilluc (trained by Gary Contessa) has been pre-entered in the Grade I Secretariat Stakes and leads 13 pre-entries for the marquee sophomore turf event.  A winner of four of seven starts, including two graded turf stakes, the nearly black son of Medaglia d’Oro will likely renew his rivalry with Gary Barber’s Jack Milton (Todd Pletcher), against whom he has competed in his last two starts.  Rydilluc conquered Jack Milton in the Penn Mile on June 1 by a length, then finished 11 lengths behind him in the Grade II Virginia Derby last out.  Jack Milton lost a three-horse photo for the victory, checking in third, while 5-2 favorite Rydilluc wound up eighth. 

Rydilluc and Jack Milton will be joined by Dennis Narlinger’s fellow Virginia Derby graduate Draw Two (Michelle Nihei), who in his previous race – an allowance at Belmont Park – defeated another pre-entry, Leonard Leveen and Michael Shanley’s Stormy Len (David Donk). 

Stormy Len exits a tough beat when third in a three-horse photo finish in the Grade III American Derby – the local prep for the Secretariat – a nose behind multiple graded stakes-placed Admiral Kitten (Mike Maker).  One of two pre-entries from Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey’s national leading stable, Admiral Kitten is joined by another homebred, Amen Kitten (Wesley Ward), who exits a third against older horses in a race named for their sire Kitten’s Joy. 

Team Valor International, who took down the American Derby with Infinite Magic, sends out a new soldier from its equine army – Irish Group II winner First Cornerstone (Andy Oliver).  Also invading from Europe will be Charles Fox’s Yeager (Jeremy Noseda) from England and His Highness the Aga Khan’s Visiyani (Alain De Royer-Dupré) from the same French connections who took down the Secretariat last year with Bayrir.

Peachtree Stable’s Balthazar (Dale Romans) and Juddmonte Farm’s Tattenham (Bill Mott) exit New York allowance runner-up finishes, while Raut LLC’s Bethel and Olympia Star, Inc.’s Golden Jason – both conditioned by Gennadi Dorochenko – round out the pre-entries for what will likely be a highly competitive renewal of the $500,000 race. 

The second running of the American St. Leger had 10 pre-entries, including a favorite from each side of the pond, a globetrotting Arlington veteran and a live pair of locals from one of Arlington’s leading owners.  Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey’s Dark Cove (trained by Mike Maker) – a winner of three straight graded turf marathons – was pre-entered to follow up his victory in the local prep Grade III Stars and Stripes a month ago.  He will have to take on Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock’s Dandino (Marco Botti), an England-based representative from the same connections as last year’s winner Jakkalberry. 

Mark Hawtin’s Wigmore Hall (Michael Bell) has been pre-entered to make his fourth consecutive appearance at the International Festival of Racing after finishing second in the 2010 Secretariat Stakes, fourth in the 2011 Million and seventh in last year’s Million.  Team Block, leading owner by purses won at the 2012 Arlington meet, has pre-entered its two big homebreds – Ioya Bigtime and Suntracer – who exit finishing second and fourth, respectively, in the Stars and Stripes for trainer Chris Block. 

The top three ranked trainers in the current Arlington standings each have thrown a pre-entry into the race. Gary and Mary West’s Code of Conduct (Wayne Catalano), Feel the Thunder Stable’s Cavalero (Mike Stidham) and Richard Ravin and Patricia’s Hope’s Ojos de Hielo (Larry Rivelli) have been tossed their respective hats in for a shot at the $400,000 purse.  Shadwell Stable’s graded stakes-placed Najjaar (Danny Peitz) and Hiram Polk Jr. and David Richardson’s Harrods Creek (Bill Mott) round out the pre-entries.