Arlington Million

Million Candidate ‘Maison’ Betting the House at York Saturday

Churchill Downs Communications | 07/25/2008 #

In Today’s Notes:

· Million Candidate ‘Maison’ Betting the House at York Saturday

· Saturday’s $50,000 Taylor’s Special Stakes Attracts Top Trio

· Season-High Superfecta, Trifecta Marks Set Thursday

· Injured Apprentice Meier Shooting for Sunday Return

Irish-bred Hearthstead Maison, owned by Hearthstead Homes Ltd. and trained by Mark Johnston, is likely to make or break his chances as a candidate for the Grade I Arlington Million Aug. 9 when he goes to the post in Great Britain’s Group II York Stakes at York on Saturday.

The 4-year-old son of Peintre Celebre out of a Seattle Slew mare was a creditable third in Great Britain’s listed Steventon Stakes at Newbury in his first start of the year on July 19. Hearthstead Maison concluded his sophomore campaign last Sept. 23 with a sixth-place run in Germany’s Group I Europa Preis at Koln, but won Ireland’s Group III Kilternan Stakes at Leopardstown two weeks earlier in the month.

In other news concerning prospective European-based Arlington Million candidates, Dr. Vincent O’Brien’s Lord Admiral finished second while closing at the end in Leopardstown’s Group III Meld Stakes Thursday evening.

Great Britain’s Group I Coral-Eclipse hero Mount Nelson and Hong Kong’s Group I Queen Elizabeth II Cup winner Archipenko currently share top billing among the European-based invaders for Arlington Million XXVI on the second Saturday in August. Mount Nelson, trained by Ireland’s Aidan O’Brien, is owned by Derrick Smith, Michael Tabor and Mrs. John Magnier; while Archipenko, conditioned by South Africa’s Michael de Kock, is owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa al Maktoum and Dr. A. H. Parker.

Saturday’s $50,000 Taylor’s Special Stakes serves as a supporting event to the showcased $150,000 Sea o’ Erin Mile, but the co-featured five furlong added money grass dash has attracted its own share of headliners.

Most familiar to Chicago Thoroughbred racing fans is Team Block’s millionaire Fort Prado, 2006 Illinois Horse of the Year who also boasts multiple Prairie State Festival triumphs and two wins in Grade III stakes competition.

However, in Saturday’s sprint, Fort Prado is listed as the 4-1 third choice in the morning-line behind the 2-1 favorite Mr. Nightlinger and the 7-2 second choice Lookinforthesecret.

Mr. Nightlinger, owned by Martin Racing Stable and Carl Moore Management and trained by Bret Calhoun, scored his third straight turf tally last time at Churchill Downs June 18, after winning the Twin Spires oval’s Grade III Turf Sprint May 25 and Keeneland’s Grade III Shakertown Stakes over the Lexington lawn April 13.

Balkrisna Sukharan’s Lookinforthesecret, conditioned by Jamie Ness, finished second by a half-length in Assiniboia Downs’ $50,000 Free Press Stakes on the main track in his last start June 15, but captured Canterbury’s grassy $50,000 Honor the Hero Stakes May 26 and Calder’s $250,000 Turf Sprint Handicap April 26.

Jockey Jamie Theriot, riding champion at Fair Grounds’ winter meeting this year, is named to handle the reins on Mr. Nightlinger, while Arlington’s defending champion Rene Douglas gets the mount on Fort Prado. Hawthorne’s spring meeting champion Tim Thornton is slated for the tack astride Lookinforthesecret.

Completing the Taylor’s Special Stakes is Alex and Joanne Lieblong’s Live From Appollo, Eddie Razo; Arbaway Farm, Carson Spring Farm and David Campbell’s Mighty Rule, James Graham; John Pucek, Brett Setzer and Robert Edwards’ Off Duty, Larry Melancon; Overbrook Farm’s Shark, Jesse Campbell; Marc Goldish and Savoy Stable’s Prosico, E. T. Baird; and Rodney Winkler’s The Nth Degree, Aldo Canchano.

An investment of a single dime resulted in a $46,900 profit Thursday when Arlington’s 10-cent super returned the entire fifth race superfecta pool.

In the same race, a $2 trifecta wager returned $39,418. Both returns were season-high payoffs in their respective categories.

Arlington’s leading apprentice jockey Brandon Meier, injured upon his return to the winner’s circle after riding Frank Calabrese’s The King of Ming to victory in the second race Thursday, is shooting for a return to the saddle on Sunday.

“He’s doing good,” said veteran jockey Randy Meier, Brandon’s father, who also won a race Thursday aboard Richard Glander’s Brunzer. “I just brought him home from the hospital (Friday morning). He was coming back to the winner’s circle when a horse in front of him wheeled. Brandon’s horse propped and he came off. He hit on his side and took a knee from the horse right below his vest. He’s shooting to come back Sunday. He’ll just have to wake up and see how sore he is over the next few days.”