California invader Kappa King will share starting highweight of 117 pounds with the Canadian-based Strut the Stage and the locally campaigned Mystery Giver in the $225,000 Arlington Handicap (gr. IIIT) Saturday at Arlington Park.
The Arlington Handicap is the last local prep for the Arlington Million (gr. IT) and will be run at the Million distance of 1 1/4 miles. The Arlington Handicap is part of three stakes that comprise Million Preview Day that also features the running of the Modesty Handicap (gr. IIIT) and the $100,000 Round Table Stakes.
Kappa King, who races for Tom Tatham, comes to Arlington off a solid third-place finish, beaten less than two lengths, in the American Handicap (gr. IIT) at Hollywood Park on July 4. The 5-year-old son of Kingmambo was making only his second start in the United States when he went to post in the American after capturing his domestic debut over the same course five weeks prior. Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel has given the mount to Southern California-based reinsman Pat Valenzuela.
Sam-Son Farm's Strut the Stage, beaten only a whisker by Startac over this course in the Secretariat Stakes (gr. IT) as a 3-year-old, returns to Arlington after most recently running sixth in the Firecracker Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIT) at Churchill Downs. Prior to the Kentucky race, the 4-year-old son of Theatrical was third in the Manhattan Handicap (gr. IT) at Belmont Park on Belmont Stakes Day after capturing the Dixie Stakes (gr. IIT) at Pimlico on the Preakness Day undercard. Robby Albarado has been named to ride the Mark Frostad-trained colt.
Illinois-bred Mystery Giver, owned by Team Block, jumps up in class after besting his state-bred rivals in the $90,450 Cardinal Handicap on Prairie State Festival Day June 22. However, the Chris Block-trained son of Dynaformer is no stranger to open company stakes races. This winter in New Orleans, the 4-year-old bay colt won the $150,000 Fair Grounds Breeders' Cup Handicap. Two-time Arlington Park riding champion Mark Guidry will fly in for the day from Saratoga to pilot Mystery Giver.
The top-weighted trio will be joined in the starting gate by (in order of weight assignment with jockey listed): Gary Tanaka's Falcon Flight (115 pounds, Rene Douglas); Starlex Farm's Private Son (115, C. H. Marquez Jr.); Gainsborough Farm's Catchy Word (114, Larry Melancon); Richard. Duchossois' National Anthem (114, Frank Lovato Jr.); Buckram Oak Farm's Tubrok (114, Jesus Castanon); Alan Drey's Bahroba (113, Chris Emigh); and Ron Isbell Jr.'s Gretchen's Star (113, Eusebio Razo Jr.).
Falcon Flight, winner of the Stars and Stripes Breeders' Cup (gr. IIIT) here last summer, returns to the site of his last victory. The son of Persian Bold has only made two starts since capturing the Stars and Stripes and has not raced since last Sept. 30 when sixth in the Canadian International (gr. IT) at Woodbine. Falcon Flight is trained by Donald Burke II, who earned his first victory as a trainer when Falcon Flight scored here in 2001.
Locally-based Private Son, trained by Sally Schu, turns back in distance after coming up only a neck short at a 1 1/2 miles in the Stars and Stripes on July 6. In two other starts this year, the 4-year-old son of Miesque's Son ran second and first in allowance races at Keeneland and Churchill Downs, respectively.