British Rider Dwyer Has Chicago Flight Canceled by Terrorist Plot

(from Arlington Park notes)
Jockey Martin Dwyer's Thursday flight from England to ride Winterbeck Manor Stud's Phoenix Reach in Saturday's 24th running of the Arlington Million (gr. IT) was canceled following arrests in London connected to discovery of a terrorist bomb plot.

Dwyer, 31, born in Liverpool, is tentatively scheduled on an alternate flight leaving England at 7:55 London time Friday morning, but with the nature of international airline traffic under present circumstances, that flight would be far from certain. In June, Dwyer won the Epsom Derby (Eng-I) aboard Sir Percy.

"Whatever is going to happen is going to happen," said Phoenix Reach owner Andrew Christou Thursday morning, moments after Phoenix Reach was clocked in a half-mile grass breeze in :54 while the "dogs" were well out from the rail. "Yesterday, I thought we wanted to draw post position three, but now that we've got post six, I've been told that the middle of the field is a better place to be, so maybe that worked out in our favor.

"Phoenix Reach is not an easy horse to ride," Christou said. "You can't just set any American jockey on him and expect him to know all the horse's little habits, but these things are outside our control. All we can do is assume that everything will work out for the best. That way, it usually does."

Phoenix Reach accomplished his breeze with splits of :16, and :43, and then finished up in 1:06 3/5. "The last eighth was very impressive," said Illinois State clocker Bobby Belpedio. "He looks very fit and racy."

"I thought he went very well," said Phoenix Reach's trainer Andrew Balding on the way back to the barn after the move. "The only concern I have is that he was a little bit on the fresh side. He runs best when fresh but I just hope he's not too fresh."