Racing & Wagering

Road To The Million Vol. II

Churchill Downs Communications | 06/18/2008 #

World-renowned Thoroughbred star Archipenko, owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa al Maktoum and Dr. A. H. Parker, will be pointed for a run in the Grade I Arlington Million as part of Chicago’s one-day International Festival of Racing on Aug. 9, according to Alastair Donald of the International Racing Bureau.

“The upcoming Arlington Million will definitely be his focus,” said Donald, speaking over the phone from the IRB’s Newmarket base of operations, “but a prep race in mid-July at Ascot has also been targeted.”

Arlington Million XXVI, at a mile and a quarter over northwestern Chicago’s world-famous turf course, is the centerpiece event of Arlington’s International Festival, which also showcases the $750,000 Beverly D., the Arlington Million’s sister race for the world’s best fillies and mares; and the $400,000 Secretariat Stakes, for grass-favoring 3-year-olds of international caliber. Together, the three races make up the only Grade I events offered in the State of Illinois on an annual basis.

In his most recent trip to the post April 27 in Hong Kong, Archipenko took down winning honors in the Group I Audemars Piquet Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Sha Tin Racecourse. The 4-year-old son of Kingmambo out of a Nijinsky II mare was rated fifth in the early running that day but unleashed a strong late run to prove best by a length and a half.

“He’s the kind of horse that prefers to have some daylight, so I was happier having no horse outside me,” said jockey Kevin Shea following the QEII, also run at the Million’s 10-furlong distance. “When I pulled him out in the straight, I gave him two cracks and he dropped down well and I knew it was going to take something special to beat us.”

One month earlier, Archipenko finished third, beaten a half-length for all the money in the Grade I Dubai Duty Free at Nad Al Sheba on Dubai World Cup Day March 29. Before that he was two lengths the best in the Grade II Al Fahidi Fort, also at that same United Arab Emirates oval.

Archipenko is conditioned by South African-born but internationally-renowned trainer Mike de Kock, who brought the South African-bred mare Irridescence to Arlington last summer to finish second by a head in the 2007 Beverly D.

The Kentucky-bred Archipenko broke his maiden as a juvenile at Leopardstown in the the fall of 2006, and returned to that Irish oval to take down winning honors in the Group II Derristown Stud Derby Trial in May of 2007. The colt is named in honor of the Ukrainian avant-garde artist, sculptor and graphic artist Alexander Archipenko (1887-1964), whose work exemplified the Cubist movement that gained momentum in the early 1900s.

One of the latest developments concerning this summer’s upcoming Beverly D. Stakes took place far closer to home June 14. Arlington’s perennial leading owner and native Chicagoan Frank Calabrese’s Dreaming of Anna captured the Grade III Early Times Mint Julep Handicap at Churchill Downs on that afternoon. The homebred daughter of Rahy, an original nominee to this summer’s Beverly D. at 1 3/16-miles on the local grass, easily won last weekend’s 1 1/16-mile test over the Louisville lawn, leading every step of the way for a two and a half-length tally.

Winner of the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies on the main track at Churchill Downs in November of 2006, Dreaming of Anna also boasts turf stakes wins in Arlington’s Grade III Pucker Up, Tampa’s Grade III Hillsborough and Endeavor stakes, Colonial’s $200,000 Virginia Oaks and Arlington’s $45,000 Double Delta.

Jayeff B Stables’s Social Queen, another original nominee to this summer’s Beverly D., won last Saturday’s grassy Grade III Eatontown Handicap for fillies and mares at Monmouth Park on the North Jersey Shore.

Further 2008 Beverly D. developments could occur at Arlington this Sunday when the local oval hosts the $50,000 Possibly Perfect Stakes for fillies and mares at about a mile and an eighth on the grass.

Finally, concerning the latest promising news about Arlington’s 2008 Mid-America Triple, which concludes with the Secretariat Stakes on the second Saturday in August, Arlington stakes coordinator Craig Lytel reports that Michael Cooper and Pamela Ziebarth’s Tizdejavu is coming to Arlington for the Triple’s middle leg – the Grade II American Derby July 12.

The Greg Fox trainee scored a front-running four-length victory in Churchill’s Grade II Jefferson Cup last Saturday, some six weeks after using the same tactics to take down the Twin Spires oval’s Grade III Crown Royal American Turf on Kentucky Oaks Day May 2.