Orchard Park Faces Six in Tight Secretariat Stakes Field

(Edited from track report)
Peter Vegso's Orchard Park, a winner in five of six starts this year, may merit favoritism in a well-matched group of seven sophomore grass specialists from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean assembled for Saturday's 26th renewal of the $400,000 Secretariat Stakes (gr. I) at Arlington Park.

The Secretariat, at 1 1/4 miles, is for 3-year-old turf stars. It is part of the day's International Festival of Racing that also features the Arlington Million (gr. I) and the $700,000 Beverly D. (gr. I) for fillies and mares.

A son of Hennessy, Orchard Park carries a two-race win streak into the Secretariat. The chestnut colt, trained by Hall-of-Famer Bill Mott, captured the Jefferson Cup (gr. III) at Churchill Downs in June and the $500,000 Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs in July in his last two outings.

In the latter race, Orchard Park made a three-wide move at the quarter pole en route to a 1 1/2-length tally. Hall-of-Fame jockey Jerry Bailey, who successfully guided the colt to a pair of stakes victories in Florida during the winter, gets the riding assignment.

Among those slated to line up against Orchard Park are Mananan McLir, Jazz Beat and Extra Check, the 1-2-3 finishers in the American Derby (gr. II) at Arlington July 21.

Mananan McLir, who races in the colors of Michael Jarvis, Gary Margolis et al., had only one horse beaten at the top of the stretch in the American Derby, but the son of Royal Academy made a four-wide charge in the lane to better Jazz Beat by 3/4 length in the 1 3/16-mile race. Trained by Wally Dollase, the bay colt will be ridden by Arlington's leading jockey, Rene Douglas.

Moyglare Stud's Jazz Beat has made another cross-Atlantic trip to Arlington from the Emerald Isle after returning home following his second-place run here in the American Derby. In that race, Jazz Beat was shuffled back at the start, rallied to take a short lead in deep stretch but was unable to hold off the winner. Trained by Dermot Weld, Ireland's all-time leading conditioner, the Irish-bred son of Darshaan will have Pat Smullen in the saddle.

Locally owned and trained Extra Check was a fast-closing third in the American Derby after encountering some trouble at the quarter pole. The Three Kings Stable's color bearer captured a second-level allowance race at Arlington two weeks earlier in his first start off a six-month layoff. The Mike Stidham-trained son of Chequer has Frank Lovato Jr. slated for the tack.

Hall-of-Fame trainer Bobby Frankel sends Juddmonte Farms Inc.'s Chiselling to Arlington for the Secretariat. A son of Woodman, Chiselling rallied gamely between rivals in deep stretch to get up in the final stride of the Lexington Stakes (gr. III) at Belmont Park in July. The New York race was the first in stakes competition for the bay colt, who has missed the board only once in six career starts. Kent Desormeaux has the call ride.

Michael Doyle's Love Regardless invades from England via Germany after winning the Group III Jaguar-Meile Stakes at Cologne August 4. The lightly raced Storm Bird colt's three previous starts were in Great Britain, where he broke his maiden as a 2-year-old and ran second in a minor stakes race at Doncaster in July. English-trainer Mark Johnston has given the mount to American-based jockey Corey Nakatani.

Completing the field for the Secretariat is James M. Messineo's Major Rhythm. The locally campaigned son of Rhythm faces his toughest task to date. In his most recent start July 26, the Jeffrey Lynn charge ran third in a second-level allowance race over this course. Arlington's all-time leading jockey, Hall-of-Fame rider Earlie Fires, will be in the irons.

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