Red Giant Looms Large in Secretariat Stakes

Red Giant Looms Large in Secretariat Stakes
Photo: Coady Photography
Virginia Derby winner Red Giant could be the horse to beat in the Secretariat.
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Red Giant burst onto the national stage July 21 with a victory at 37-1 in the Virginia Derby (gr. IIT) and the Todd Pletcher trainee could be the horse to beat in the $400,000 Secretariat Stakes (gr. IT) for 3-year-old turf specialists at Arlington Park Saturday.

The 1 1/4-mile Secretariat drew a a field of nine sophomores. In addition to Red Giant, the field includes the winners in the first two legs of Arlington Park’s Mid-America Triple, as well as three European invaders. The winner receives an automatic spot in the $3 million John Deere Breeders' Cup (gr. IT) at Monmouth Park Oct. 27.

Peachtree Stables’ Red Giant, a son of champion Giant's Causeway  , scored a nose victory in the $1 million Virginia Derby at Saturday's 10-furlong distance of the Secretariat, giving him a distinct edge over his rivals. Red Giant has four victories in six trips to the post this season.  Garrett Gomez will be aboard the 5-2 morning line favorite.

Lattice rebounded from a fourth-place finish in the Jefferson Cup (gr. IIT) at Churchill Downs to get up in time for the victory in the American Derby (gr. IIT), the second leg of the Mid-America Triple, on July 21.  The son of Arch is trained by Bill Mott for  owners Adele B. Dilschneider and Claiborne Farm. Mott has won the Secretariat twice -- with Derby Wish in 1985 and 20 years later with Gun Salute in 2005. Robby Albarado has the mount aboard Lattice.

Edward Evans’ Pleasant Strike, also trained by Pletcher, won the the Triple series' first leg, the Arlington Classic (gr. IIIT) at 1 1/16 miles on June 23. In the 1 3/16-mile American Derby, the son of Smart Strike finished fourth as the 8-5 favorite. Four-time Arlington Park riding champion Rene Douglas is to ride.

Admiralofthefleet invades from Great Britain for top Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien. The son of Danehill, owned by Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Flaxman Holdings, ran fifth when facing older runners in the Coral Eclipse Stakes (Eng-I) at Sandown Park on July 7. Earlier this year defeated fellow 3-year-olds in the Dee Stakes (Eng-III) at Chester. European riding star Michael Kinane flies in for the mount.

The colors of H.H. the Aga Khan will be represented by Shamdinan, a French-bred colt who makes his North American debut.  The son of Dr. Fong was third in the French Derby (Fr-I) at Chantilly in June but could not handle the extremely soft going in the Budweiser Irish Derby (Ire-I) last time out. Now trained by Californian Doug O’Neill, Shamdinan will be ridden by Julien Leparoux.
Fleeting Shadow, an Irish-bred Danehill colt, completes the European trio for the Secretariat. Trained by Ireland’s all-time leading conditioner Dermot Weld for Dr. Ronan Lambe, Fleeting Shadow comes into the race off a second in a race at Ireland's Fairyhouse. Regular rider Patrick Smullen comes in from Ireland to handle the riding chores.

Going Ballistic finished second in the American Derby last time out.

$400,000 Secretariat Stakes (gr. IT, Race 7, 3:10 p.m.), 3-Year-Olds, 1 1/4 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Going Ballistic (FL), 121, M. Clifton Berry
2. Admiralofthefleet (KY), 121, Michael J. Kinane
3. Fleeting Shadow (IRE), 119, Patrick J. Smullen
4. Lattice (KY), 123, Robby Albarado
5. Red Giant (KY), 123, Garrett K. Gomez
6. Love Dubai (KY), 119, Corey J. Lanerie
7. Mostacolli Mort (KY), 119, Victor Espinoza
8. Shamdinan (FR), 119, Julien R. Leparoux
9. Pleasant Strike (VA), 121, Rene R. Douglas

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