Getty Images

Irish-bred Mondialiste wins Arlington Million by a neck

Leave a comment

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. — Irish-bred Mondialiste thrives in the United States.

The 6-year-old won the Grade 1 Arlington Million on Saturday, earning a berth into the Breeders’ Cup when jockey Daniel Tudhope guided the bay horse through a three-wide finish to edge Kasaqui by a neck.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better run really,” Tudhope said. “It was perfect.”

Mondialiste, who went off as the 4-1 third choice, broke from the outside in the 1 1/4-mile turf race outside Chicago. He won the Woodbine Mile last year and finished second in the Breeders’ Mile.

Now the David O’Meara-trained miler has a spot in the Breeders’ Turf.

“We stepped him up to a mile and a quarter at York (in England) and he ran a really good race,” O’Meara said. “Once we saw that he handled the trip OK, we had this race in the back of our mind. We thought we’d bring him over because he performed so well this side of the water last year.”

The son of Galileo paid $10.80, $6.40 and $4.80. Kasaqui of Argentina returned $13.20 and $9.40 and Irish-bred Deauville paid $7.00 to show despite a poor outside draw.

“My horse had a pretty good run,” Deauville jockey Seamie Heffernan said. “He was the only 3-year-old in the race. In a lovely position, got around the two into the straight and two other horses just came and got me.”

O’Meara said they planned to send Mondialiste to Santa Anita for the Breeders’ Cup on Nov. 4-5.

“I don’t see any reasons not to come back again,” he said.

Take the Stand set the pace and still led into the final turn before fading.

Florent Geroux rode World Approval to seventh. French jockey was attempting to sweep the day after winning the three earlier graded stakes races.

Illinois-bred The Pizza Man finished sixth after winning last year.

Riders faced a headwind on the stretch run in the 11-horse race on the firm grass track. Decorated Knight scratched in the morning and Dubai Sky was ordered scratched by stewards when he refused to be reshod after losing a shoe.

The three other grades stakes races belonged to Geroux and his morning-line favorites.

The Chicago resident rode France’s Sea Calisi to a big kick on the stretch run to take the $700,000 Beverly D. for fillies, the 4-year-old’s first Grade 1 victory. Al’s Gal finished 1 1/2 lengths back in the 1 3/16-mile race.

Geroux guided Beach Patrol, like Sea Calisi trained by Chad Brown, past Long Island Sound in a stretch duel in the $450,000 Grade 1 Secretariat for 3-year-olds. The Kentucky colt took the 1 1/4-mile race by a head for his third win of 2016 and his first career graded stakes win.

Geroux rode Da Big Hoss to the lead just past the quarter pole to take the $300,000 Grade 3 American St. Leger, Arlington’s longest race at 1 11/16 miles.

The Kentucky-bred thoroughbred pulled away in the final furlong to win by 1 3/4 lengths over Ireland’s Clondaw Warrior. It was the 5-year-old’s sixth straight win in staked races of more than 1 1/4 miles.

Geroux, who turned 30 last month, couldn’t complete the sweep and take the Million for the second straight year after riding The Pizza Man in 2015.

“I was right there into the first turn,” Geroux said. “When they picked it up, he just spit the bit and couldn’t keep up.”

Baffert hoping Arrogate gives him third Dubai World Cup win

Getty Images
Leave a comment

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Having taken over the mantle as the world’s best racehorse from California Chrome, Arrogate will attempt on Saturday to wear another crown that last fitted his illustrious American compatriot, the Dubai World Cup.

All eyes are on the 4-year-old Arrogate, who lost on debut 11 months ago but hasn’t lost since.

He’s won the Breeders’ Cup Classic and the inaugural $12 million Pegasus World Cup this year to stretch his unbeaten streak to six. In both races, Arrogate defeated Chrome, who won the Dubai World Cup last year at Meydan Racecourse by five lengths despite jockey Victor Espinoza hanging on to a loose saddle for most of it.

Under jockey Mike Smith, Arrogate has forged a winning combination in his last three Group 1 races: Travers Stakes, Breeders’ Cup Classic and Pegasus World Cup.

In Dubai, they have drawn stall nine among 14 contenders, a position which fails to douse the confidence of his trainer Bob Baffert.

“Nine is fine,” said Baffert, who also trained 2015 U.S. Triple Crown winner American Pharoah.

“He’s settled in pretty well. As long as he shows up, that’s the key. If he runs his race, we know what he can do.”

Smith was all praise for his mount, ranked the No. 1 racehorse in the world.

“I have been blessed with some really, really good horses, but I am not sure I have ever sit on one like this,” Smith said.

“Everything about him, his disposition, his mechanics, the way he gets over the ground … at times you feel as if you are running downhill instead of a level ground. What amazes me most is when the race is over, it looks as if he did not put much effort into it. His recovery time is so quick.”

Arrogate’s Breeders’ Cup Classic and Pegasus World Cup wins came over 2,000 meters on dirt, the same distance and conditions as the $10 million Dubai World Cup.

Baffert hopes Arrogate can give him a third Dubai World Cup victory after Silver Charm (1998) and Captain Steve (2001).

He suffered a heart attack during his last visit to Dubai in 2012, and watched the World Cup five nights later with stents in two of his blocked arteries. He also watched from even farther afield last year as his other horse, Hoppertunity, finished third behind Chrome and Mike de Kock’s Mubtaahij.

He’s giving Hoppertunity another chance.

“Both my horses are happy and healthy,” Baffert said. “He (Hoppertunity) should be collecting a check again. That is what he does, picks up the pieces in these big races. He reminds me of Pac-Man, he just keeps going. A Dubai World Cup 1-2, that would be something.”

Mubtaahij is also back, although he will start under Christophe Soumillon from the widest of stalls.

“Like everyone, we wanted low,” the Belgian jockey said. “I will have to … hope for some luck.”

The Dubai World Cup features a nine-race card offering $30 million across six Group 1 and three Group 2 races on turf and dirt.

Six three-year-olds nominated late to Triple Crown series

Getty Images
Leave a comment

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Thunder Snow, winner of the UAE 2000 Guineas, is among six 3-year-olds made eligible to compete in the Triple Crown series during the late nomination period.

The late nominees, which required a payment of $6,000 each, raise the total nominations to 425 for the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes. The late nomination period closed Monday. The early nomination window closed in January and required a payment of $600.

Ireland-bred Thunder Snow, owned by Godolphin Racing, is set to run Saturday in the $2 million UAE Derby in Dubai. The colt has three wins in seven career starts for trainer Saeed bin Suroor.

The other late nominees are Hollywood Handsome, trained by Dallas Stewart; More Than Words, trained by Charlie LoPresti; Parlor, trained by Eddie Kenneally; Rapid Dial, trained by Ingrid Mason; and Stretch’s Stone, trained by Bruce Levine.

Thoroughbreds that weren’t nominated to the Triple Crown have one final chance by paying a supplemental fee. The fee for the Derby is $200,000; $150,000 for the Preakness; and $75,000 for the Belmont.