(Edited press release)
Michael Cooper and Pamela Ziebarth’s Tizdejavu, undefeated on turf, will be after his fourth consecutive victory over that surface in the $400,000 Secretariat Stakes (gr. IT) Aug. 9 at Arlington Park. Tizdejavu, trained by Gregory Fox, was installed as the 6-5 morning line favorite in the 1 1/4-mile test for 3-year-olds. Nine were entered.
The Secretariat is one of three grade I turf stakes races on the card that comprises Arlington’s International Festival of Racing. The others are the Arlington Million (gr. IT) for older turf stars, and its sister race, the $750,000 Beverly D. (gr. IT), for grass distaffers.
The Secretariat is also the third leg of Arlington’s Mid-America Triple, which began with the $150,000 Arlington Classic May 24 won by Meal Penalty, and continued with the $250,000 American Derby (gr. IIT) July 12, which was the latest of Tizdejavu’s conquests.
A son of Tiznow , Tizdejavu has been a new horse since being introduced to the turf for the Crown Royal American Turf (gr. IIIT) on the Kentucky Derby undercard May 3 at Churchill Downs. He won that race wire-to-wire at 21-1 odds under Garrett Gomez, then went on to capture the Jefferson Turf Cup at Churchill and the aforementioned American Derby in similar front-running fashion. Gomez will be back in the saddle Aug. 9.
Tizdejavu’s biggest challenge figures to come from 5-2 morning line second choice Plan. The American-bred, but Irish-based son of Storm Cat is being sent to the Secretariat by famed Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien off a solid one-length victory in the Keeneland International Stakes (Ire-III) at The Curragh. John Murtagh has been given the riding assignment by O’Brien, who won the 2000 Secretariat Stakes with Ciro.
An interesting Secretariat entrant is the Michael Stidham-trained Secret Getaway, currently in the midst of a two-race winning streak. Though based at Arlington, Secret Getaway has been a road warrior, having twice shipped to Woodbine for scores in the June 8 Victoria Park Stakes, run over Polytrack, and the Toronto Cup Stakes on turf July 12. Canadian jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson, the winning pilot in those two events, will journey down to Arlington to retain the mount.
Another European invader is Winchester, who won a maiden event in Ireland to begin his 2008 campaign for trainer Dermot Weld, but has gone winless since, while stepping up to top stakes company. Most recently, Winchester ran seventh behind Frozen Fire in the Budweiser Irish Derby (Ire-I) at The Curragh. Winchester will be ridden by leading Arlington jockey Rene Douglas.
Completing the field are the Wayne Catalano-trained Prime Realestate, who was a close second in the Arlington Classic before struggling over the soft turf in the American Derby; Sr. Henry, runner-up behind Tizdejavu in the American Derby; Your Round, fourth last time out behind the well-regarded Gio Ponti in the Virginia Derby (gr. II); and Snoose Goose and Strait of Mewsina, second and fourth, respectively, in the July 5 Come Summer Stakes at Canterbury Park.