Arlington Million

International Festival Barn Notes: Saturday, August 10, 2013

| Churchill Downs Communications | 08/10/2013 #
  • Najjar and Ausus work toward their respective Festival engagements. (Photo by Four Footed Fotos)

  • La Tia with Kent Desormeaux up works for Beverly D. 5f in 1:02.40 (Four Footed Fotos)

  • I O Ireland (outside w/E. Castro) & Alette (w/J. Sanchez) work 5f in 1:05 for Hatoof Stakes on Arlington Million card.

  • Amen Kitten drills for the Secretariat Stakes under Brandon Meier. (Photo by Four Footed Fotos).

In Today’s Notes: Shadwell’s Festival Duo Work in Tandem; La Tia Works with Desormeaux; Amen Kitten and Ojos de Hielo Drill Toward Festival; Block Works Hatoof Hopefuls

Shadwell Stable’s International Festival of Racing duo, Ausus and Najjaar, worked in tandem on Saturday for trainer Danny Peitz.  Ausus, with exercise rider Serafin Sanchez up, and Najjaar, with jockey James Graham aboard, finished on even terms after a five-furlong move in 1:01 4/5 on the turf, which was firm and without the dogs in place.

Ausus is working in advance of the Grade I Beverly D. Stakes, while Najjaar is set to test his stamina in the $400,000 American St. Leger.  The duo went their final eighth of a mile in :11 flat.  Graham is set to ride both in their respective races.  On an interesting side note, Sanchez doubles as the starting gate backup tractor driver in the afternoons, according to Peitz.

The move caught the attention of Arlington International Racecourse clocker Bobby Belpedio, who was especially impressed by Ausus.  “That’s an improving horse, right there.  She’s really gotten good,” he reported.  “They galloped out in 1:13 2/5 – it was very, very impressive.  I don’t know what’s in (the Beverly D.), but she’s training like a monster on the grass.”

Peitz was also satisfied with the two Shadwell homebreds.  “It was just what we wanted – good and steady and they finished up well and went out great,” the conditioner reflected.  “I was on the fence about working them together.  Usually there are dogs and a horse can lose focus working way out (on the course) – so I had planned to work them together.  When I saw there were no dogs, I figured let’s just go with it (and still work them together).”

The Arlington-based trainer looks forward to the challenge of taking on some of the best turf horses in the world.  “We know we are in deep, but I know they’re coming in in good shape.  We are here, this is home and we are ready to go.”

Hernandez Racing Club’s Beverly D. pre-entrant La Tia worked toward the toughest race of her young career on Saturday with new jockey Kent Desormeaux up for the move.  The pair went five furlongs along the inner rail of the firm turf course in 1:02 2/5.  The Illinois-bred front-running filly went her final eighth of a mile in :12 flat.

“She was impressive.  The Beverly D. is a tough race, but she is a very good filly that’s for sure.  Today she looked good,” reported Arlington clocker Bobby Belpedio.

Trainer Armando De La Cerda, in his first year as a head trainer after nearly 20 years of working under other major conditioners, was audibly elated with the move.  “I feel great about it.  I told the jockey to go in 1:02 and that’s what he did,” he explained.  “I told him to go nice and easy and then let her out a little bit at the quarter pole, but still hold her and don’t let her do too much.”

De La Cerda stuck around a little bit longer to watch one of La Tia’s Beverly D. rivals put in her final major preparation.  “I watched the other filly (Ausus) work, and I really prefer the way my filly went.  She was just galloping easy – not working too hard – she’s fit,” he mentioned.  “I just hope she comes out okay tomorrow.”  In their only meeting, Ausus ran down the pacesetting La Tia and defeated her by 2½ lengths in the Grade III Modesty Handicap in an excellent time of 1:53.94 on July 13.

Desormeaux will ride La Tia for the first time in the Beverly D.  According to agent Penny Ffitch-Heyes, the Hall of Fame jockey was “very happy” with his first experience with La Tia.  Likewise, De La Cerda was thrilled with Desormeaux.  “I liked the way he rode her.  He did exactly what I told him to do and in the time I told him to do it.  He knows what he’s doing.”

Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey’s Amen Kitten worked toward his engagement with the Grade I Secretariat Stakes on Saturday.  Working under Brandon Meier, the homebred son of Kitten’s Joy went five furlongs on the firm turf course in 1:04 4/5.  The bay gelding ran his last quarter of a mile in :24 4/5, his last eighth in :11 4/5 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:16 2/5.  The bay gelding exits a third against older horses in the 12-furlong Kitten’s Joy Stakes at Colonial Downs. 

Richard Ravin and Patricia’s Hope’s Ojos de Hielo, a probable for the American St. Leger, worked a bullet four furlongs on the main course under jockey Noel Vigil on Saturday in :47 flat – the best of 47 works at the distance.  Trained by Larry Rivelli, the son of Songandaprayer ran his 13 of his first 15 races in Panama, including a second-place finish in the 10-furlong Group I Clasico Independencia Cerveza Atlas. 

In Ojos de Hielo’s last start, his second in the United States, the Texas-bred 4-year-old colt lost a photo in the one-mile restricted Assault Stakes at Lone Star Park.  “He worked very well,” reported Rivelli, who is currently second in the Arlington trainer standings.

Quality turf fillies Alette and I O Ireland worked together for trainer Chris Block in advance of a possible date with the $75,000 Hatoof Stakes on the Million Day undercard.  In what had the look of a maintenance move, the fillies breezed an easy 1:05.  Alette, a homebred of Richard Otto, and I O Ireland, a homebred of Team Block (and half sister to American St. Leger contestant Ioya Bigtime), are each exiting Arlington allowance races.  Regular riders Jeffrey Sanchez (Alette) and Eddie Castro (I O Ireland) were aboard for the move.