(Edited from track report)
An emerging rivalry of two world-class competitors intensifies in a third act of drama Saturday as Juddmonte Farms Inc.'s Beat Hollow attempts to conquer Gary A. Tanaka's Sarafan in the 20th running of the Arlington Million (gr. I) at Arlington Park.
In addition to the top two, Frau Carde Ostermann-Richter's Paolini will attempt to become the second successive German-bred to wrest the Million mantle from horses competing in more familiar environs. Four European invaders face five of the best turf stars in the United States in thi year's Million. Also Saturday, the Beverly D. (gr. I), for the best turf favoring fillies and mares throughout the world; and the Secretariat (gr. I), restricted to 3-year-olds worthy of international competition, bracket the Million during Saturday's one-day International Festival of Racing.Beat Hollow has been assigned 6-5 odds by Arlington Park linemaker Mike Battaglia. He is generally considered to be the top turf horse in training in the United States at the present time. Although a British-bred, the 5-year-old son of Sadler's Wells has campaigned entirely in the United States this year. Out of a Dancing Brave mare, the homebred earned his reputation by winning the Woodford Reserve (gr. I) on Kentucky Derby Day, May 4, at Churchill Downs and underlined that score with another impressive tally in the Manhattan Handicap (gr. I) on Belmont Stakes Day, June 8, at Belmont Park.Beat Hollow is conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel and will be ridden by Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey. Bailey replaces Alex Solis, who was aboard Beat Hollow when he finished second, beaten by 1 1/4-lengths by Sarafan in the Eddie Read Handicap (gr. I) at Del Mar July 28. The Juddmonte-Frankel-Bailey troika teamed up to capture the 2000 Arlington Million with Chester House.Sarafan has defeated Beat Hollow twice this year. Prior to his Eddie Read victory, Sarafan bested Beat Hollow by a neck in the Explosive Bid Handicap (gr. II) March 2 at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans.Hall of Fame conditioner Neil Drysdale trains Sarafan, the 3-1 second choice on the morning line. Drysdale has saddled five Arlington Million starters to date but has yet to reach the winner's circle. Sarafan, gelded son of Lear Fan out of a Caro mare, will be ridden by Corey Nakatani in the Million.Heading the European-based group is Paolini. The German-bred is trained by Andreas Wohler and will be ridden by Austrian jockey Andreas Suborics. Together that Teutonic tandem captured the 2001 Arlington Million with the German-bred Silvano, owned by Stiftung Gestut Fahrhof. Paolini's best race this year came May 11 in the Group I Singapore Airlines International Cup, where he was second by two lengths to Godolphin Racing Inc.'s Grandera. Paolini is 10-1 in the morning line.Arthur I. Appleton's Forbidden Apple, a Florida-bred son of Pleasant Colony out of a Northfields mare, is 4-1 in the morning line. The homebred 7-year-old was most recently third, beaten only a neck for the win in the Bernard Baruch Handicap (gr. II) at Saratoga on July 26. Before that, Forbidden Apple was second, beaten two lengths by Beat Hollow in the Manhattan Handicap June 8. French-born but American-based Christophe Clement is the trainer and Chilean-born but American-based Jose Santos is the jockey.Gary A. Tanaka's Falcon Flight, trained by Donald Burke II with Arlington's leading rider and defending jockey champion Rene Douglas named to handle the reins, is also 10-1 in the morning line. Falcon Flight won the Arlington Handicap (gr. III), final local prep for the Arlington Million, in his last start on Million Preview Day, July 27. He also won the Stars and Stripes Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. III) in
2001 at Arlington. No Arlington Handicap winner or Stars and Stripes winner has ever captured the Arlington Million.Roldvale Ltd.'s Freefourinternet finished fifth behind Grandera last time in the Group I Prince of Wales' Stakes June 19 during the Royal Ascot meeting. In the Prince of Wales' Stakes, Freeforinternet suffered traffic problems two furlongs from the wire. Previously, the Kentucky-bred son of Tabasco Cat had won the listed Huxley Stakes at Chester. Brian Meehan trains and Irish rider Pat Eddery will be aboard Freefourinternet, listed at 15-1.Perhaps the most interesting European invader is British-bred Ulundi, owned by David Heath. Several of the 11 wins in Ulundi's 27-race career have come over the hurdles, but the son of Rainbow Quest out of a Lyphard mare appears equally accomplished on the flat. In his most recent effort June 21 during the Royal Ascot meeting, Ulundi won the Wolferton Rated Handicap in his first start of the year despite shouldering the top impost of 133 pounds. Paul Webber trains 20-1 shot Ulundi. Richard Hughes has been named as the jockey.Another European at 15-1 in the morning line is Peter Willmott's Cheshire, a British-bred horse who has campaigned in France but is owned by a Chicagoan. Cheshire won the Group III Grand Prix de Vichy at the Vichy course in his last trip to the post July 24. On June 1, he was sixth at Chantilly, beaten only two and a half lengths despite a troubled trip. He was eighth in the Group III Prix Perth at Saint-Cloud in his final start last year. Trainer John Hammond, who saddled Henri Chaloub's Dear Doctor to win the 1992 Arlington Million, is the conditioner of Cheshire, who will be ridden by Japanese riding sensation Yutaka Take.Team Block's Mystery Giver, winner of the $90,450 Cardinal Handicap on Prairie State Festival Day, June 22, completes the field. Mystery Giver suffered from an unfortunate trip in the Arlington Handicap last time and finished fifth, but was only beaten by 1 1/4 lengths. Mystery Giver is the local hope for this year's
Arlington Million. He was bred by David and Patricia Block in Illinois, is trained by their son Chris, and will be ridden by Kent Desormeaux. Mystery Giver is listed at 30-1.Related Story: Kentucky, Indiana to Have Separate Pools on Arlington Million