(Edited Press Release)
Michael Cooper and Pamela Ziebarth’s Tizdejavu, winner of consecutive graded turf stakes at Churchill Downs, invades from his Kentucky homebase as the 2-1 morning line favorite in the $250,000 American Derby (gr. IIT) July 12 at Arlington Park.
The 1 3/16-mile event on the turf is the second leg of the Mid-America Triple that began with the May 24 Arlington Classic and concludes with the $400,000 Secretariat Stakes (gr. IT) Aug. 9. The American Derby is one of three graded stakes races on turf that comprise Arlington's Million Preview Day, which also includes the $200,000 Arlington Handicap (gr. IIIT) and the $150,000 Modesty Handicap (gr. IIIT) for fillies and mares.
A son of two-time Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) champion Tiznow , Tizdejavu was a wire-to-wire winner of the Crown Royal American Turf (gr. IIIT) May 2, taking that 1 1/16-mile race by a neck. The following month the Gregory Fox trainee employed similar tactics en route to a four-length tally in the Jefferson Cup Stakes (gr. IIT). The bay colt picks up the services of Arlington’s leading rider Rene Douglas for the first time in the American Derby.
Listed as 3-1 second choice is Robert Costigan’s Great War Eagle, runner-up in the group III Ballycorus Stakes at Leopardstown in Ireland in his last start. The Storm Cat colt, trained by David Wachman, will be making his North American debut and will be ridden by California-based jockey Jose Valdivia Jr.
Leading the local contingent of horses for the American Derby are Frank Calabrese’s Prime Realestate (Earlie Fires) and Team Block’s Amazing Results (Miguel Mena). The former, a son of Prime Timber, was second in the Arlington Classic last time out, while the latter, by Grand Slam, beat fellow Illinois-breds in the Springfield Stakes June 21.
Completing the field for the American Derby are: Joseph Allen et. al.’s Blue Exit (Jesse Campbell); Barry Golden and Peter Callaghan’s Sr. Henry (Eddie Razo); Heiligbrodt Racing Stable’s Ablaze With Spirit (Shaun Bridgmohan); and Uptown Racing LLC’s Boss Lafitte (James Graham).
In the Modesty, which serves as the final local prep for the $750,000 Beverly D. (gr. IT) Aug. 9, G. Watts Humphrey Jr.’s Communique, winner of Keeneland’s Bewitch Stakes (gr. III) in April, tops a field of 11 distaffers.
A 4-year-old Smart Strike filly, Communique rallied from far back to get up for a half-length victory in the 12-furlong Bewitch after previously winning a race over nine furlongs on Polytrack at the Lexington race course. In her last start the Rusty Arnold trainee disappointed as part of 2-5 favored entry in a third-level allowance at Churchill Downs. Leading rider Rene Douglas picks up the mount.
Sean Mulryan’s Ballymore Lady, second to champion Dreaming of Anna in the Mint Julep Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs last month, and James Gallagher’s Barbette, winner of the Possibly Perfect Stakes at Arlington, also figure prominently in the Modesty.