Arlington Million

Tajaaweed Tests Turf Saturday in Advance of Arlington Million

| Churchill Downs Communications | 08/11/2010 #

In Today's Notes:

  • Tajaaweed Tests Turf Saturday in Advance of Arlington Million
  • Working Toward Secretariat Stakes Saturday: Workin for Hops
  • Secretariat Stakes' Wigmore Hall Wins Friday at Newmarket
  • Anchorman's Filly Weighs Anchor Friday at Arlington

Shadwell Stable's Tajaaweed, third while closing late in the Grade III Arlington Handicap July 17, breezed five furlongs in 1:04.40 Saturday morning over Arlington's world famous turf course with the ground listed as yielding. The 5-year-old son of Dynaformer is being trained up to the Grade I Arlington Million Aug. 21.

With jockey Michael Baze aboard, Tajaaweed stayed in the middle of the course throughout the move although the "dogs" were not set up for the session.

"It seems like he's doing fine," said Tajaaweed's trainer Dan Peitz later in the morning. "We had a pretty fast work over the Polytrack (four furlongs in 46.80) last week."

Tajaaweed, handicapped by an outside post position in the Arlington Handicap as the final local designed prep for the Arlington Million, closed ground late in that test and was beaten a length and a half at the wire.

"We were a lot farther back than I thought we'd be that day," said Peitz, "but that was because we had to drop back to get in a position to move in toward the rail. Hopefully, we'll get a better draw in the Million."

Tajaaweed began his career in Europe with indifference and came to the United States and under the care of Peitz in New York last fall. Realizing the horse had some stifle issues, Peitz sent him to Rood & Riddle Clinic in Lexington, Kentucky, and then Shadwell's Camden, South Carolina, farm before rejoining Peitz at Oaklawn last winter.

"He was just a shell of the horse he is now when I first got him," said Peitz. "I realize we're jumping into the deep end of the pool (in the Million), but I'd like to think he's going to run the race of his life."

With wins in the first two thirds of Arlington's Mid-America Triple behind him, Estrorace LLC's Workin for Hops breezed five furlongs in 1:01.60 Saturday morning in preparation for the Grade I Secretariat Stakes Aug. 21.

With a victory in the $400,000 Secretariat, one of three Grade I races along with the Arlington Million and the $750,000 Beverly D. on the third Saturday in August, Workin for Hops would become the first horse to sweep the Mid-America Triple since Robert Schaedle III's Honor Glide accomplished the feat in 1997.

"It went like clockwork," said trainer Michael Stidham shortly after the move. "Hilary (assistant Pridham) was on him. Everything went great. He started slowly and finished fast."

At Churchill Downs Saturday morning, Donegal Racing's Paddy O'Prado, probable favorite in the upcoming Secretariat, went five furlongs in 1:02.20.

Mark Hawtin's Wigmore Hall, an Irish-bred English-campaigned sophomore expected to invade Chicago for the Secretariat Stakes, won an allowance race at Newmarket Friday in his final tune-up for the third leg of Arlington's Mid-America Triple.

Trained by Michael Bell, Wigmore Hall previously won the $226,000 John Smith's Cup at York July 10. The gelding is a son of High Chaparral out of a Theatrical mare.

Ron Magers, longtime dean of Chicago newscasters and anchorman at ABC affiliate WLS in recent years, uncorked a newsworthy item of his own Friday at Arlington when his 2-year-old filly Third Chance, owned in partnership with Bob Marcoccio, won the first start of her career by eight lengths.

"The jock (Florent Geroux) said she never even took a deep breath," said an elated Magers shortly after the race. "I couldn't be out at Arlington to see it because we have so many people on vacation I had to do the 4, 5 and 6 o'clock news. I watched the race on the internet.

"Third Chance is the third foal out of my mare Temporada," Magers said. "The first one was named Stormy Afternoon and he broke down early in his 3-year-old year. The second was a filly named Azevedo (Magers' mother's maiden name) and she was killed in a barn fire. Hopefully, Third Chance will make up for all that disappointment.

"I'm delighted with the way our trainer Jimmy DeVito has brought this horse along," concluded Magers. "He does a great job the way he handles 2-year-olds."

Third Chance's dam Temporada is out of Magers' mare Lemhi Go, winner of the 1992 Arlington Matron.