Edited Press Release
Saturday’s International Festival of Racing at Arlington Park takes center stage on the Road to the Breeders’ Cup, with two Challenge Series “Win and You’re In” events that historically have been key prep races for the male and female turf divisions.
The winner of the Arlington Million, a “Win and You’re In” event, will receive an automatic berth into the Grade I $4,000,000 Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf at Churchill Downs on Nov. 3.
Arlington Million , Grade I in turf, for three – year old and up at 1 1/4 miles furlongs on turf. Purse $1,000,000.
The 1 ¼-mile Million has been a cornerstone of American racing since its inaugural running due to its record-breaking seven-figure purse and its first winner, future Hall of Famer John Henry (who also won the 1984 Million). John Henry did not race in the inaugural Breeders’ Cup Turf in 1984, and the first Million winner to make an impact in the Breeders’ Cup was 1986 winner Estrapade, who finished third in that fall’s Breeders’ Cup Turf at Santa Anita Park. Manila, winner of the 1986 Turf and that year’s Eclipse Award winner as champion turf male, scored in the 1987 Arlington Million, which would prove to be his final race as he was retired days after the race after suffering an injury. He won 10 out of his final 11 races, and Theatrical, the horse who ran second to him in the 1986 Turf and third in the ’87 Million, would go on to win the ’87 Turf and the Eclipse Award. Manila was inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame in 2008.
The 36th running of the Grade I $1,000,000 Arlington Million drew a field of 11 entrants for the 1¼-mile turf event at Arlington International Racecourse.
Oscar Performance, victorious in last season’s Grade I Secretariat, will look to become just the fifth horse to complete the Secretariat-Million double .
He is a three-time Grade I winner over the grass, Oscar Performance tops the Million field in career earnings with $1,967,632.
Deauville (IRE) following close third-place finishes in the past two running of the Million.
Almanaar in 2016 won a pair of Group 3 victories in France. He returned from a lengthy spell in June to win on the Belmont turf over graded stakes winner Ticonderoga.
Money Multiplier enters the Million off a half-length loss in the Grade I United Nations at Monmouth Park in June. In February he finished third in the Group 1 Emirs Trophy before returning stateside to land a win in the Grade II Monmouth Handicap by three-quarters of a length over Million-competitor Divisidero.
Robert Bruce was undefeated until a troubled trip in the Grade I Manhattan Handicap cost him a placing and a perfect record. A four-time group winner in his native country, he captured the Grade III Fort Marcy Stakes at Belmont Park in his North American debut on May 5 over fellow Million contender Spring Quality.
Spring Quality winner of the Grade I Manhattan in June. He defeated three Grade I winners when making his second start of the season in the Manhattan.
Divisidero returns to the Million after a seventh-place finish in the 35th running. He was able to capture back-to-back Woodford Reserve Turf Classics at Churchill Downs on the Kentucky Derby undercard in 2016 and 2017.
Catcho En Die (ARG) won the Grade III Stars and Stripes. He was a Group 1 winner in his native country before traveling to the United States, where he was claimed for $40,000 in April of this year.
Twenty Four Seven is a five-time winner and was restless in the paddock prior to his sixth-place finish in the Grade III Arlington Handicap last out but finished just two lengths behind winner Divisidero.
Century Dream (IRE) won the Group 3 Investec Diamond Stakes at Epsom in June before a narrow loss by three-quarters of a length in the Group 1 Queen Anne at Royal Ascot.
Circus Couture (IRE) is a nine-time winner in Italy. Circus Couture has hit the board in six of his seven career starts at the mile-and-a-quarter distance.
Beverly D. Stakes , Grade 1. For the three- year old and up fillies and mares at 1 3/16 miles on turf. Purse $600,000. The winner of the Beverly D., a “Win and You’re In” event, will receive an automatic berth into the starting gate of the Grade I $2,000,000 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Churchill Downs on November 3rd.
The Beverly D. was first run in 1987 and has been held at its current distance of 1 3/16 miles since 1988. Like the Arlington Million, the Beverly D. was not run in 1998 and 1999, and 1999 marked the first year the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf was held at Gulfstream Park. Several accomplished fillies and mares won the Beverly D. during the 1990s, but only one made a big impression on the Breeders’ Cup: world traveler Hatoof. That English One Thousand Guineas winner won the 1994 Beverly D., defeating Hall of Famer Flawlessly, and ran a good second to Tikkanen in the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Churchill Downs, the final race in a career that saw her win graded/group stakes on four continents.
Last year’s Beverly D. winner, Dacita, ran a solid fourth in the Filly and Mare Turf at Del Mar and then sold for $1.85 million days later at the Fasig-Tipton auction in Kentucky as a broodmare prospect.
Four appears to be the lucky number for trainer Chad Brown who sends a quartet of contenders for the 29th running of the Grade I $600,000 Beverly D. in search of his fourth consecutive victory in the 1 3/16-mile event for fillies and mares.
Two of the four runners will be hooking up for the third time this season when Sistercharlie (IRE) and Fourstar Crook contest the Beverly D. The first time the pair squared off took place at Keeneland Race Course in the Grade I Jenny Wiley Stakes on April 14, when Sistercharlie got the best of her stablemate by 2¼ lengths in her first start since a runner-up finish in the Grade I Belmont Oaks Invitational last July. Fourstar Crook turned the tables on Sistercharlie next out when she the Grade II New York Stakes by a head over the two-time Grade I winner. While Fourstar Crook was freshened following the New York Stakes, Sistercharlie has raced once since, defeating a stubborn Ultra Brat in the Grade I Diana Handicap at Saratoga Race Course on July 21.
Fourstar Crook is in search of her first Grade I win. Last season, she went on an eight-race winning streak which included her first graded victory in the Grade III Dr. James Penny Memorial Stakes as well as three-stakes wins against her New York-bred counterparts. The talented bay continues to impress in her 6-year-old campaign with a pair of Grade II victories in the Hillsborough Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs and the New York Handicap under the guidance of pilot Irad Ortiz, Jr. who has the call in the Beverly D. She will emerge from post seven and will look to become the first New York-bred to win the Beverly D.
Brown will also saddle Inflexibility and Thais (FR). Inflexibility has yet to win a graded stakes race but has secured a pair of stakes wins against fellow Ontario-breds over the lawn at Woodbine Racetrack in last year’s Wonder Where Stakes, third leg of Canada’s filly Triple Tiara, and the Carotene Stakes. She may not have the resume of her stablemates Fourstar Crook and Sistercharlie (IRE), but she has proven herself consistent at a high level having finished in the money in nine out of ten starts. In her last effort, Inflexibility set an easy pace in the Grade II Dance Smartly at Woodbine Racetrack but could not hold off stablemate Santa Monica (GB). A victory in the Beverly D. would make her the first Ontario-bred to win the event since Dancing On a Cloud won the 1987 edition.
Thaiswon the Prix des Lilas at Maisons-Laffitte last June. Since arriving to the United States, she has been stakes placed twice and won her first race in America when coming off of a six-month layoff in an allowance optional claiming event over the Belmont Park turf. She boasts a consistent lifetime record of 12-3-3-3.
Athena (IRE) is coming off a victory in the Grade I Belmont Oaks Invitational on July 7. This victory took place only six days after the 3-year-old daughter of Camelot (GB) finished third in the Group 1 Juddmonte Pretty Polly Stakes at The Curragh, where she was beaten 5½ lengths. The Beverly D. will be the ninth start in only four months for the filly.
Returning to the Arlington turf fresh off a victory in the Grade III Modesty Handicap is Daddys Lil Darling. She was third in the Grade II New York Handicap at Belmont Park behind Fourstar Crook and Sistercharlie before winning the Modesty. She will be in search of her second Grade I victory. Last December she rounded out her 3-year-old campaign with a win in the Grade I American Oaks at Santa Anita. She boasts the highest career bankroll in the field with $1,306,205 in earnings.
Nyaleti (IRE) is in search of her first Grade I victory. She won the Group 2 German 1,000 Guineas over the tight, undulating course at Dusseldorf on May 27 by 4¼ lengths when going a mile. Last time out, she was fourth in the Group 1 Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket behind Alpha Centauri (IRE). As a juvenile, she captured the Group 3 Princess Margaret Juddmonte Stakes.
Dona Bruja (ARG) finished in a dead-heat for second when beaten a half-length by Dacita in last year’s Beverly D. and seeks redemption when breaking from post four under current Arlington leading rider Jose Valdivia, Jr. She began her racing career in her native Argentina where she won the Group 1 Copa de Plata-Roberto Vasquez Mansilla-Internaciona at San Isidro in December 2016. This was her last start before joining Correas’ barn in the United States. In her American debut, she won the Grade III Old Forester Mint Julep Stakes at Churchill Downs then shipped to Arlington to take the Grade III Modesty Handicap. This season, she boasts a four-length victory in the Grade III Endeavor Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs on February 10.
Rounding out the field is Oh So Terrible who is the only Beverly D. contender with multiple wins over the surface. She has not won since defeating winners last September, but what she lacks in recent form she makes up for with a solid pedigree.
Secretariat Stakes, Grade III. For three -year old at 1 ¼ miles on turf. Purse $400,000.
The race was created in 1974 from the “Arlington Invitational” which had been run only in the previous year in order to showcase U.S. Triple Crown winner Secretariat to Chicago racing fans. Secretariat won the race with My Gallant and Our Native running second and third respectively. Both of these horses had lost to the Champion in the Triple Crown series.
The distance of the 1974 inaugural race was 1 1⁄16 miles (1,700 meters). It was run over 1 1⁄8 miles (1,800 meters) in 1975/76 and extended to 1 1⁄2 miles from 1978 to 1984, before settling at its present 1 1⁄4 mile distance. In 1977 the race was run on dirt and in 1985 it was held at Hawthorne Race Course. There was no race run in 1988, 1998 and 1999.
In 2005 it was included in the Grand Slam of Grass, which offered a substantial bonus to the winner of this race, the Colonial Turf Cup, the Virginia Derby and the Breeders’ Cup Turf. Oscar Performance won the 2017 Secretariat Stakes.
Thirteen sophomores will line up for the 42nd running of the Grade 1, $400,000 Secretariat Stakes.
Analyze It in five career starts has only lost twice, both of were hard fought efforts behind Catholic Boy in the Grade III Pennine Ridge Stakes and the Grade I Belmont Derby Invitational. Analyze It dazzled in his first three career starts, which include a 6¼-length maiden special weight win at Belmont Park last October and wins in the Cecil B. DeMille at Del Mar and the Transylvania Stakes at Keeneland – both Grade III events.
Hunting Horn was third beaten 1¾ lengths in the Grade I Belmont Derby Invitational in his most recent effort which was his first race in North America. He entered the Belmont Derby off of a 4½-length victory in the Group 3 Hampton Court Stakes at Royal Ascot. Third time was the charm for Hunting Horn when breaking his maiden in sophomore debut at Naas on April 13 where he defeated eventual Group 1 Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby winner Latrobe by a neck.
Lucius Tiberius, who makes his North American debut in the Secretariat, will be aiming for a third straight win after scoring a pair of victories in his native Ireland. Lucius Tiberius defeated older horses in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF ‘Nasrullah’ Handicap at Leopardstown on July 12 last time out. He sat at the back of the pack in the 1¼-mile event and made a last-to-first move at the top of the stretch to win by a nose. His prior effort took place at The Curragh in the Paddy Power Onside Handicap, which he won by 2¼ lengths under Ryan Moore.
Ming (IRE) has made four career starts and won his last two, which took place in respective three and four-horse fields. In his penultimate effort, Ming bested a pair at Gowran on June 24. Jockey Seamie Heffernan tracked the early leader and began asking Ming at the top the stretch, where he would go on to win under a hand ride by 1¾ lengths. Last out at Navan on July 14, Ming defeated three others while sitting just off the pace under rider Billy Lee. At the top of the stretch, Ming did not need much asking from his rider and went on to score by 2½ lengths.
Two other Secretariat contenders will be carrying the European banner. Breaking from post two under Joel Rosario, Yuesheng Zhang’s Platinum Warrior (IRE) will be attempting to make amends after a ninth-place finish in the Group 1 Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby on June 30 behind Latrobe, who he defeated one start prior in the Group 3 Airlie Stud Gallinule Stakes. Prior to his Gallinule Stakes triumph, he was fourth in the Group 3 Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial Stakes at Leopardstown behind Hazapour, Ballydoyle’s Delano Roosevelt (IRE) and The Pentagon (IRE).
Bandua won his first two career outings, both at the Secretariat’s 1¼-mile distance. He stretched out even further for his next two starts – an eighth-place finish in the Group 1 Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby prior to being beaten only 1½ lengths when running fifth in the Kingdom Of Bahrain Vinnie Roe Stakes on July 26.
Captivating Moon has hit the board in nine of his ten career starts, which includes runner-up finishes in the Grade III American Derby at Arlington on July 7, the Grade II American Turf Stakes on May 5, and the Grade III Transylvania Stakes at Keeneland on April 6. He owns a career debut win at Arlington last summer and an allowance win over the turf at Tampa Bay Downs on February 11.
Trainer Ignacio Correas, IV will send out Grade III American Derby winner Real Story as well as Pont Du Gard who was beaten 2¼ lengths behind his stable mate when finishing fourth in the local prep for the Secretariat. Real Story will look for his third win in succession after two wire-to-wire victories on the Arlington turf, the latter of which took place in the Grade III American Derby. His only other career win came in his debut at Tampa Bay Downs last December when traveling a mile on turf.
Pont Du Gard seeks his first career stakes win in the Secretariat. He was beaten just over two lengths in Arlington’s two other tests for 3-year-olds on grass. In addition to his fourth-place finish in the American Derby, he was second behind Ezmosh in the Grade III Arlington Classic on May 26. Last July, he broke his maiden in his career debut over the grass at Arlington at long odds of 31-1. His only other career win took place when defeating fellow Louisiana-bred in a Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots allowance race on March 9.
Sniper Kitten since breaking his maiden at second asking over the turf at Gulfstream Park on March 17, he defeated winners at Keeneland on April 27 and won the Mystic Lake Derby at Canterbury Park on June 23.
Untamed Domain is still in search of his first victory since last year’s Grade II Summer Stakes at Woodbine on September 17. He ran second behind Mendelssohn in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Del Mar on November 3. Last out, he was promoted to fifth in the Grade III Kent Stakes at Delaware Park after being interfered with on the far turn and again in upper stretch.
Carrick was third in the Delaware Park stakes. He broke his maiden for a $40,000 tag at Belmont Park on May 12 before winning a starter allowance race at the Elmont oval where he defeated next out winners Sentry and Not in Charge.
Dubby Dubbie finished third in the American Derby last time out. Dubby Dubbie has the most career starts under his belt in the Secretariat field with 12. Prior to his graded stakes debut in the American Derby, he either won or placed in his previous five starts, which include an allowance win at Churchill Downs over graded stakes winner Madison’s Luna.