After a Thursday morning drenching, the big news as Arlington Park prepares to host the International Festival of Racing Saturday was the absence of three grade I headliners on the course. The nation's leading trainer, Bobby Frankel, scratched horses from two of the three grade I races on Saturday's bill, while Arlington Million favorite Sulamani didn't work out Thursday due to a slight bruise.
The absence of Godolphin Racing Inc.'s Sulamani from a morning workout was due to a slight stone bruise which kept him from going to the track yesterday. Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford stated from his Newmarket base of operations that Sulamani "has not missed any work and we are currently monitoring the situation. We hope to resume training (Friday)."
The winner of the French Derby (Fr-I) and runner-up in the Prix de l' Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I) is the early favorite (8-5) from the inside post in the field of thirteen.
Frankel scratched Tates Creek (5-2), the morning line favorite in the $700,000 Beverly D (gr. IT) for fillies and mares, and Bis Repetitas (5-1), the third early choice in the $400,000 Secretariat Stakes (gr. IT) for 3-year-olds. Difficulty in securing travel for the horses from their southern California home base to Chicago was the reason stated by the Hall of Fame trainer.
Frankel will still have Heat Haze (3-1) in the Beverly D.Fitting Day for Heat Haze's Arrival
Fitting that aptly named Heat Haze shipped in Thursday from her base at Saratoga for all reasons starting with the letter "H."
The fourth leg of the this year's World Series of Racing, which includes three Grade I races Saturday, the $1-million Arlington Million, the $700,000 Beverly D and the $400,000 Secretariat Stakes, took on a hectic heavy hand of weather Thursday.
Hot, humid, hazy and hats were what followed a moist morning in the northwest suburb of Chicago.
The temperatures were hot and humid, the skies were hazy all day and hats were the call of the day on Ladies Day.
Heavy Rainfall Welcomes Workers
An early heavy rainfall greeted those at Arlington Park before the first morning work was concluded Thursday. The precipitation left the turf course "yielding" for the day's two live races slated for the grass. Even if more rain should appear this weekend, only a flood could keep the three Grade I's off the famed turf course Saturday.
The first Arlington Million in 1981, in which John Henry won his epic "by a nose" victory over The Bart in 2:07.3, and Star of Cozzene's win in 1993 in 2:07.50, were the only times this race has gone on over any condition less than "yielding". The two "soft" races were also the only two Million's to finish in more than 2:04.2. The record Million clocking is 1:58.4 by Perrault in 1982.De Seroux's Duo Gallops
Two of the horses to get in encouraging gallops over the turf course Thursday morning, despite the conditions, were trainer Laura de Seroux's Dublino and Just Wonder.
Dublino (7-2) appears to be a likely co-favorite with Heat Haze (3-1) for the field of seven in the Beverly D, now that Tate's Creek is out.
"Dublino looked like a gazelle in her work (Thursday)," said de Seroux, who may be best known as the trainer of 2002 Horse of the Year Azeri. "This division is wide open."
After discovering from previous attempts this year that Just Wonder (4-1) was just meant for turf races, de Seroux expects his "great work" to preclude a good effort at the Secretariat's distance.
"He's by Hernando," de Seroux commented, "so I'm very hopeful that the mile and a quarter and the cut in the ground here will be perfect for him."
Among the other International Festival of Racing hopefuls who worked out on the wet grass course Thursday morning were Arlington Million entry Kaieteur (20-1) and Secretariat Stakes candidates Joe Bear (50-1) and Native Hawk (50-1).
The Susan McCarthy owned Kaiteur, who is by 1997 Arlington Million winner and 1996 Secretariat winner Marlin, galloped for trainer Brian Meehan.
The Christopher Ransom-owned Joe Bear also galloped for his trainer, Phillip Mitchell.
Those working through gallops on the sloppy track Thursday morning included, Arlington Million entries Olden Times, Tripat Storming Home, Perfect Drift, Honor in War, Tin Man and Touch of Land; Beverly D entry Walzerkoenignin; and Secretariat hopefuls Taub and Gato Gato Gato.
Suborics Named on Paolini
The jockey aboard 2001 Arlington Million winner Silvano, Austrian-born Andreas Suborics, was named Thursday to ride Paolini (20-1) in this year's edition. He replaces Panamanian Eduardo Pedorza, whose name was listed as Paolini's rider after Wednesday's draw. Suborics rode the German-bred Paolini to a sixth place finish in the Million last year. $250,000 Pick 4 Offered
A special Racing Pick 4 with a guaranteed gross pool of $250,000 will be offered at Arlington Saturday. The Pick 4 is a single-day pool with no carryover in Illinois.
The Pick 4 will cover races eight through 11 on Arlington Park's live card, and will include the Beverly D Stakes (race 8); the Arlington Million (race 10) and the Secretariat Stakes (race 11).