English Shipper Dandino Eyes St. Leger Repeat

English Shipper Dandino Eyes St. Leger Repeat
Photo: Four Footed Fotos
Dandino won the 2013 American St. Leger.

Since its creation in 2012, the $400,000 American St. Leger has belonged to Darren Dance's Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock and trainer Marco Botti. They won the inaugural running of the 1 11/16-mile race with the globetrotting Jakkalberry and then with Dandino, who returns for a repeat bid in the Aug. 16 marathon event.

The St. Leger is one of four major turf races to comprise Arlington's International Festival of Racing, highlighted by the 32nd edition of the Arlington Million (gr. IT) and including the $750,000 Beverly D. Stakes (gr. IT) and the $500,000 Secretariat Stakes (gr. IT). The St. Leger kicks off a 50-cent Pick 5 wager with a $100,000 guaranteed pool and a takeout rate of 15%.

Dandino, a 7-year-old son of Dansili, has only made two starts this year, both in Great Britain. Each resulted in sixth-place finishes in group II competition; first in the Hardwicke Stakes and most recently in the Princess of Wales's Stakes. The defending champion, who has been installed as the 3-1 favorite on the morning line, will pick up the services of Frankie Dettori, last aboard Dandino when he ran second in the Hardwicke in 2013.

As happened last year, one of Dandino's main threats will come from Team Block's locally based Suntracer, who was beaten just a half length in the 2013 St. Leger. Despite the fact that the 6-year-old son of Kitten's Joy   hasn't won since capturing the 2012 Robert F. Carey Memorial Handicap at Hawthorne Race Course, he seldom fails to compete in graded competition over marathon distances—most recently finishing third in the grade III Stars and Stripes Stakes at 1 1/2-miles over the Arlington lawn in July.

Second choice in the morning line at odds of 4-1, the fast-closing Chris Block trainee will benefit should a fast pace develop up front. Eclipse Award-winning jockey Javier Castellano will ride the Illinois-bred for the first time in the American St. Leger.

Another from the home team hoping to dethrone the defending champion is Midwest Thoroughbreds' The Pizza Man, who picked up his fourth straight victory as the gate-to-wire winner in the Stars and Stripes last out after setting glacial fractions. The 5-year-old English Channel   gelding, trained by Roger Brueggemann, does not require the lead to do his best bidding as his previous tallies have come from off the pace. He is the 9-2 third choice in the early odds and will be ridden once again by Florent Geroux.

Besides Dandino, the overseas contingent for the American St. Leger consists of Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith and Mrs. John Magnier's Eye of The Storm; Mick and Janice Mariscotti's Havana Beat; and Eliza Park International Sun Kingdom's Moment In Time.

Both Eye of The Storm and Havana Beat are entering off victorious efforts, with the former capturing group III Ballyroan Stakes at Leopardstown Aug. 7 and the latter winning the Coral Marathon Esher Stakes at Sandown July 5. The 4-year-old Eye of The Storm, an Irish-bred son of Galileo, hails from the Aidan O'Brien yard and will be ridden by Ryan Moore, who won last year's edition of this race. Havana Beat, an Irish-bred 4-year-old son of Teofilo, is trained by Andrew Balding and will be ridden by Joel Rosario.

Moment In Time, a group III winner and the lone mare in the American St. Leger, just missed in her most recent trip to the post when second in the Chalise Stakes Aug. 3 at Newbury. The 5-year-old daughter of Tiger Hill shipped to North America last October and ran third in the E. P. Taylor (Can-IT) at Woodbine . Trained by David Simcock, who won the 2012 Grade I Beverly D. with I'm A Dreamer, Moment In Time will be ridden by Jamie Spencer.

Representing the United States are Admiral Kitten, Big Kick, Hardest Core, Infinite Magic, and Moro Tap.

Of these, both Admiral Kitten and Infinite Magic are winners over the Arlington turf course. Admiral Kitten, a Mike Maker-trained son of Kitten's Joy   who races for Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey, captured last year's Secretariat Stakes (gr. IT) going 1 1/4 miles and rallied to finish second in the Arlington Handicap (gr. IIIT) last out. Julien Leparoux gets a return call to ride the 4-year-old colt.

Infinite Magic, winner of the 2013 American Derby (gr. IIIT) for Team Valor International, enters after finishing last of six in the Arlington Handicap July 12. Transferred to the locally based barn of leading trainer Wayne Catalano following that race, the 4-year-old More Than Ready   ridgling will again be ridden by Channing Hill.

Big Kick, trained by Mike Machowsky, won the San Juan Capistrano (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita Park for Ernest Marchowsky, Ken Shaw, Kate Walters, and Lo Hi Stable last time out. James Graham picks up the mount astride the 5-year-old Tiznow   gelding;

The Mike Maker-trained Moro Tap enters off a fourth in the Stars and Stripes for Skychai Racing, Sand Dollar Stable, Terry Raymond and Jana Wagner. He will be ridden by Robby Albarado. Hardest Core, cross-entered in the Arlington Million, won the Cape Henlopen Stakes at Delaware Park for Andrew Bentley Stables, trainer Edward Graham, and jockey Eriluis Vaz last out.

American St. Leger S.

Arlington International Racecourse, Saturday, August 16, 2014, Race 7
  • STK
  • One and Eleven Sixteenthm
  • Turf
  • $400,000
  • 3 yo's & up
  • 3:45 PM (local)
PPHorseJockeyWeightTrainer
1Moro Tap (VA)Robby Albarado119Michael J. Maker
2Dandino (GB)Lanfranco Dettori119Marco Botti
3Big Kick (ON)James Graham123Michael Machowsky
4Infinite Magic (KY)Channing Hill119Wayne M. Catalano
5Moment In Time (IRE)Jamie P. Spencer114David Simcock
6Hardest Core (KY)Eriluis Vaz119Edward L. Graham
7Havana Beat (IRE)Joel Rosario121Andrew Balding
8Admiral Kitten (KY)Julien R. Leparoux123Michael J. Maker
9Eye of The Storm (IRE)Ryan L. Moore121Aidan P. O'Brien
10The Pizza Man (IL)Florent Geroux123Roger A. Brueggemann
11Suntracer (IL)Javier Castellano119Chris M. Block

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