The $400,000 Secretariat, restricted to 3-year-olds of international caliber, will be contested along with the Arlington Million and $750,000 Beverly D. as one of three Grade I races to make up Arlington’s International Festival of Racing nine days away, but the grass race for sophomores which also serves as the final leg of Arlington’s Mid-America Triple is now attracting late interest from numerous horsemen based in the Midwest.
“I’ve been putting blinkers on him to try to get him focus a little better,” said trainer Larry Rivelli shortly after Thursday’s move. “He’s kind of lazy horse, but he gives me the impression he’ll run all day. I keep thinking there’s a little more talent there than he’s really shown me so far. I feel like I could run him at two miles and he still wouldn’t come back breathing hard.
“He’s never run at mile and a quarter before,” Rivelli said of the son of Irish sire Spartacus, most recently fourth in Canterbury’s $50,000 Come Summer Stakes July 5 at one mile, “but I feel that he’s capable of showing up here and giving me a real good effort. He ran well late over the grass here in the ($150,000) Arlington Classic (first leg of the Triple May 24) when he was going a mile and a sixteenth, and I’m hoping he might be a late developing colt. That’s why we bought him, to try to get a stakes horse that could run long over the grass.”
Also increasingly likely for the Secretariat following a Wednesday half-mile Arlington grass breeze in :54.80 is Joseph Novogratz’s Snoose Goose, who finished second by a length in Canterbury’s one-mile Come Summer Stakes July 5 while closing in the late stages. In his previous effort over the Arlington lawn June 20, Snoose Goose won by a nose.
“We’re looking at it (the Secretariat),” said trainer McLean Robertson Thursday during training hours. “We’re hoping the mile and a quarter will really help his chances, and like all the other people with promising 3-year-olds, if he runs well in this race we’re obviously hoping to have a good horse at this time next year.”
Millard R. Seldin Revocable Trust’s Golden Yank is also now likely for the Secretariat following a half-mile work of :50.60 accomplished in handy fashion on Monday at Remington.
“We’re putting some new shoes on him right now,” said trainer Gary Thomas Thursday morning, speaking over the phone from the Oklahoma race course. “We’ll work him again this Sunday, and if he pulls up good, we’ll probably head up that way on Monday. He runs hard every time.”
Golden Yank has made two starts on grass (his two most recent) and finished second both times. On June 14, he ran second to Secretariat favorite Tizdejavu in Churchill’s Grade II Jefferson Cup, and before that was runner-up to Boss Laffitte in Lone Star’s $100,000 USA Stakes May 26.
KatieRich Stables’ Your Round is another sophomore now considered probable for the Secretariat Stakes after a fourth-place finish in the Grade II Virginia Derby July 19 and a third-place run in the Grade III Colonial Turf Cup June 21.
Also, now considered as possible starter in the Secretariat is Frank Calabrese’s Prime Realestate, who couldn’t handle the soft going in Arlington’s Grade II American Derby as the middle leg of the Triple, but was runner-up by three-quarters of a length in the Arlington Classic as the Triple’s first leg.
“Anything is possible,” said trainer Wayne Catalano when asked to comment Thursday on Prime Realestate’s Secretariat status.