Midnight Cry Stable’s Einstein established himself as the early favorite for this summer’s 27th running of the Grade I Arlington Million – to be contested Aug. 8 – by driving to a hard-earned score in last weekend’s Grade I Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day.
Perhaps fittingly, Einstein’s margin of margin of victory was by a head in last Saturday’s event over the Louisville lawn. The Woodford Reserve, run at nine furlongs, annually serves as the first step on the road to the 10-furlong Arlington Million – always the showcase race of the Chicago Thoroughbred racing season.
Columbine Stable’s Manndar in 2002 and Juddmonte Farms’ Cacique in 2006 won the Woodford Reserve in the spring and were both runner-ups in the Arlington Million later those summers.
Einstein, a Brazilian-bred who won last year’s Woodford Reserve, became the first horse to score repeat victories in Churchill’s Kentucky Derby Day Million prep May 2. A year ago, following the 2008 Woodford Reserve, he went on to finish second behind Curlin in Churchill’s Grade I Stephen Foster Handicap in June, second behind Thorn Song in Churchill’s Grade II Firecracker Handicap in July and then was fifth in the Arlington Million last August, three lengths behind the victorious French-bred Spirit One, owned by Kamel Chehboub.
The first four finishers in last weekend’s Woodford Reserve are all among the original nominees to the 2009 Arlington Million. Respectively, they include runner-up Cowboy Cal, owned by Bob and Janice McNair; third-place finisher Court Vision, owned by WinStar Farm; and fourth-place runner Zambezi Sun, owned by Juddmonte Farms.
Joann Louise and Glenda Evans’ Proudinsky and James Spence’s El Caballo, sixth and seventh respectively in the Woodford Reserve last weekend but first and second in that same order in Fair Grounds’ Grade II Mervin Muniz Memorial March 14 in New Orleans, are also original nominees to Arlington Million XXVII.
MID-AMERICA TRIPLE NOMINEE ORTHODOX WINS AMERICAN TURF STAKES
Kim and John Glenney’s Orthodox, an early nominee to Arlington Park’s Mid-America Triple this season, proved most prognosticators wrong with an unorthodox half-length win in last Friday’s Grade III American Turf Stakes at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Oaks Day.
Orthodox, a homebred son of Pulpit out of the Strawberry Road mare Dominique’s Joy, surprised the punters with a $93.20 straight mutuel.
Walts David Stable’s Turfiste and Zayat Stables’ Bruce N Autumn, third and fourth respectively in the American Turf, are also early nominations to the 2009 Triple.
The Mid-America Triple, like the American Turf Stakes, is restricted to 3-year-olds and is scheduled to be run over Arlington’s world-famous turf course.
Arlington’s traditional turf series begins with the 75th anniversary edition of the Arlington Classic May 23, continues with the Grade II American Derby July 11, and concludes with the Grade I Secretariat Stakes on Arlington Million Day Aug. 8.
Michael Cooper and Pamela Ziebarth’s Tizdejavu, who led every step of the way in the 2008 American Turf Stakes at the Twin Spires oval, used those same front-running tactics to win last summer’s American Derby at Arlington and then finished third in the 2008 Secretariat.
This summer’s Mid-America Triple is enhanced by a $500,000 bonus to be awarded to the owners of a horse that sweeps all three legs of the Triple.
ARLINGTON OFFERS SIGNIFICANT ONLINE SAVINGS FOR MOTHER’S DAY
Traditionally one of the biggest days of the year at Arlington Park, Mother’s Day attracts enthusiastic crowds to enjoy a great day of live racing and family entertainment that this Sunday will include pony rides and a petting zoo for Arlington’s youngest fans.
However, Arlington guests planning to attend this Sunday’s celebratory racing day may enjoy significant savings by making their reservations online in advance of the big day.
Admission at the gate for Sunday’s Mother’s Day Arlington program is $10 per person, but by ordering tickets online in advance of Sunday’s gala afternoon, tickets are priced at $7.