Milan Wins St. Leger; Stranded Gary Stevens Attends Meet
by Blood-Horse Staff
Date Posted: 9/15/2001 3:27:45 PM
Last Updated: 9/16/2001 2:42:03 PM

Michael Tabor and Mrs. John Magnier's Milan gave Coolmore and trainer Aidan O'Brien a victory in another of this year's English classics, winning Saturday's $310,000 Rothmans Royals St. Leger Stakes (Eng-I) by five lengths at Doncaster. The Sadler's Wells colt completed the 14.60 furlongs in 3:05.16 on good turf.

Under Michael Kinane, Milan raced near the back of the pack, rallied in the stretch, and utilized a burst of speed to pull clear through the final furlong. Demophilos (by Dr Devious) finished second, three lengths clear of Mr Combustible (Hernando). When In Rome (Saddler's Hall) was fourth of 10 starters.

Milan improved his career mark to three wins from seven starts with the win, his second in a group stakes race. At York last month, Milan defeated Storming Home by 1 1/2 lengths in the Great Voltigeur Stakes (Eng-II). Earlier this year, Milan finished third in the Prix Lupin (Fr-I) before coming home fifth – beaten by two lengths for the win – in the French Derby (Fr-I). Fittocks Stud bred him in Great Britain.

"The plan is to go for the Arc (de Triomphe, Fr-I) and he will probably be our only runner," O'Brien told Sporting Life. "It will be his first time against older horses and it is two furlongs shorter but he has plenty of class."

Milan's win provided O'Brien with his 15th Group One victory of the season.

American jockey Gary Stevens, stranded in England due to airline troubles caused by Tuesday's events, was in attendance, according to Sporting Life.

"I came over on Monday to see my in-laws, strictly for a holiday, and I have no idea when I will be returning home," Stevens told the Web-based paper.

"It was very difficult," Stevens said in the report, referring to watching Tuesday's events from Britain. "With all those fatalities it was like watching something unfold that was unreal. I should have been riding at Belmont today but racing is very trivial to me at the moment.

"But the public support from the Brits has been amazing. I have been in London and when they played our national anthem at the changing of the guard it touched me. People have really reached out and it has been very, very touching. The way the Brits have come to our aid and are standing shoulder to shoulder with us is a great feeling."

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