Arlington Million

International Festival Barn Notes: Tuesday, August 13, 2013 – 2nd Edition

| Churchill Downs Communications | 08/14/2013 #

In Today’s Notes:Local Connections Want Beverly D. Win for Marketing Mix;Key Connections Relish Chance to Run in Million

Marketing Mix’s connections have international aspirations for their five-year-old Medaglia d’Oro mare—even beyond her racing career—but they’re hoping to take care of some business at home first.

Marketing Mix is the likely favorite for the $750,000 Beverly D. Stakes, one of four races as part of the International Festival of Racing on Saturday at Arlington International Racecourse. She finished second by a head in this race last year—a loss that still haunts Craig Bernick of owner Glen Hill Farm.

“We’ve had this race circled since after the Breeders’ Cup,” Bernick said of Marketing Mix’s runner-up finish to Zagora in the Filly & Mare Turf. “She was probably best in this race [the Beverly D.] last year. She had nowhere to go, had to shift wide at the eighth pole and was coming but just didn’t get there.

“We’d love to win this race in Chicago. My grandparents were both born in Chicago and met after the war. I grew up here, and came to appreciate the Million, Secretariat, and Beverly D. as legitimate international Grade 1 races. It takes a top-class horse to win these races, and hopefully ours gets the job done. She’d going great, and we’re excited to run her.”

Bernick hopes the Beverly D.’s stature as an international-level race elevates his mare to international prestige. If all goes well on Saturday at Arlington, future races this year could include the $3-million Breeders’ Cup Turf and the $2.8-million Longines Hong Kong Cup—both 1 1/2-mile races against males. And just maybe winning those kinds of races would be enough for Juddmonte to allow Bernick to book his mare to the world-renowned ten-time Group 1 winnner Frankel.

“If she’s healthy and runs well in Beverly D and whatever next race is then last race of year then we’d likely run her in Hong Kong,” Bernick said. “We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, though; the Beverly D. would be biggest race we’ve won since the 1994 Breeders’ Cup [Distaff].”

One Dreamer provided that win with Racing Hall of Fame Gary Stevens aboard. Stevens came out of an eight-year retirement this year and has flourished. Not only did he win the Grade 1 Gamely aboard Marketing Mix but also scored a front-running victory in the Preakness Stakes with Oxbow.

“Stevens on a horse likes to show a little more speed than [Julian] Leparoux and [Garret] Gomez,” Bernick said of Marketing Mixes previous jockeys. “They’re all good riders, and once you give them a leg up that’s who’s in charge. I would think since Gary likes his horses to show speed, we’ll be just off the pace in [the Beverly D.], and that’s fine.”

Marketing Mix has won 10 of 18 starts, including the Grade 1 Rodeo Drive and Gamely among seven graded stakes, and has earned $1,869,518.

As Eclipse Award winner as outstanding trainer last year, Dale Romans won a lot of big races, but he leaves no room for debate as to which one meant the most to him.

“To me, the Arlington Million is the most prestigious turf race in the country,” Romans said on Tuesday. “It’s the second-biggest race I wanted to win outside of the [Kentucky] Derby, and I was fortunate enough to do it last year and hopefully I’ll get my second one this year.”

Romans trains last year’s winner, Priscilla Vaccarezza’s Little Mike, who is back in an attempt to become the first two-time winner in consecutive years, as well as Donegal Racing’s Finnegan’s Wake, who finished second in last year’s Secretariat Stakes.

“It’s a really young race as far as the world is concerned, but it’s already had a lot of great moments,” Romans said.

Romans also finished second in the Arlington Million in 2005 with Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey’s Kitten’s Joy. The Ramseys are back this year but as adversaries to the Romans duo with Real Solution. An Eclipse Award winner in his own right (as outstanding owner), Ramsey not only wants to win the Million but also share the moment with close friends and family.

“I’m really excited about the Arlington Million,” Ramsey said. “We’re driving up from Kentucky on Friday and bringing about 17 people to the track.”

Real Solution is by Kitten’s Joy, who also sired Ramsey’s potential starters in the Secretariat & Beverly D.

“I’m trying to make an impression on people from overseas with my sire Kitten’s Joy,” said Ramsey, alluding to the international participation during the International Festival of Racing on Saturday at Arlington International Racecourse.