Arlington Million

Sr. Henry Breezes on Turf Wednesday for Saturday’s Secretariat

Churchill Downs Communications | 08/06/2008 #

In Today’s Notes:

·        Sr. Henry Breezes on Turf Wednesday for Saturday’s Secretariat
·        France’s Arlington Million Hope Spirit One Gallops Wednesday
·        Eclipse Winner Mount Nelson Arrives for Arlington Million
·        Secretariat Stakes’ Winchester Jogs Wednesday Morning 

Barry Golden and Peter Callahan’s Sr. Henry breezed three-eighths in :39.60 over an Arlington turf course rated “good” shortly after 9 o’clock Wednesday morning in preparation for Arlington’s Grade I Secretariat Stakes this Saturday.

“We were just giving him a little blowout,” said trainer Mike Stidham, who had his chief assistant Hilary Pridham aboard for the move.  “We got what we wanted.”

Sr. Henry finished second – beaten two and a quarter lengths by Tizdejavu – in Arlington’s Grade II American Derby at last asking July 12 but was overlooked in the wagering that day.

“He ran really big after having some tough racing luck in his last few starts,” said Stidham shortly after the American Derby.  “He finally showed what he could do when he gets a clear chance to run.”

Kamel Chehboub’s Spirit One, the French-bred and French-campaigned invader for Saturday’s Arlington Million XXVI, galloped twice around Arlington’s Polytrack course Wednesday morning after being backed up to the quarter pole.

French exercise rider Emmanuel Diard, who accompanied Spirit One on his Atlantic crossing last Saturday, was aboard for Wednesday’s gallop.

In the Group I Prix Ganay run at France’s Longchamp Racecourse last April 27, Spirit One was sent to a clear lead, could not withstand European superstar Duke of Marmalade in the final quarter but continued willingly late to finish fourth beaten two and a half lengths.

In his first start this season at Saint-Cloud March 15, Spirit One defeated the Irish-bred Balius by three lengths, and that horse went on to miss by less than two when runner-up behind Archipenko in Hong Kong’s Queen Elizabeth II Cup and third behind international star Jay Peg in Singapore’s Group I Singapore Airlines International Cup May 18.

In his most recent trip to the post June 14, Spirit One finished second beaten three-quarters of a length in Longchamp’s Group III La Coupe Stakes and has been freshened for the Arlington Million.

Derrick Smith, Mrs. John Magnier and Michael Tabor’s Mount Nelson, the first Group I Coral-Eclipse winner in history to challenge the Grade I Arlington Million, arrived at Arlington Park about 1:30 a.m. Wednesday morning in preparation for Saturday’s centerpiece event of the Chicago Thoroughbred racing season.

Mount Nelson, conditioned by Irish-born Aidan O’Brien – Europe’s ubiquitous Group I- winning trainer this season – also captured France’s Group I Criterium International in 2006.

Accompanying Mount Nelson on the Air France equine charter from Paris to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport was the O’Brien-trained Plan, one of two European invaders for Saturday’s Grade I Secretariat Stakes.

Also on board that Air France charter – the two French fillies invading for Saturday’s Grade I Beverly D. Stakes as the sister race to Saturday’s Grade I Arlington Million.  Favored among those is the Rothschild Family’s Cicerole, trained by Jean Claude Rouget, who was second by a half in Epsom’s Group III Princess Elizabeth Stakes in her last start June 7.

Marquesa de Moratalla’s Toque de Queda, trained by Mikel Delzangles, is also Beverly D.-bound following that same flight.

Mount Nelson, Plan, Cicerole and Toque de Queda are expected to clear quarantine Thursday morning in time for training hours.  

Mr. and Mrs. Bertram Firestone’s Winchester, trained by Ireland’s all-time leading conditioner Dermot Weld, visited the Polytrack course for a brief canter Wednesday morning after clearing quarantine.

Jeff Byrne, a Weld assistant who often brings Weld trainees to Arlington for the annual International Festival of Racing, was aboard for Wednesday’s canter.

Winchester’s most recent start came in the Group I Irish Derby at The Curragh June 29, resulting in a seventh-place run.