By Bailey Gallison —-
• Scottish Withdrawn From Arlington Million
• Ballydoyle Trio Stretch Their Legs
• Divisidero Gets Chance at Million Glory
SCOTTISH WITHDRAWN FROM ARLINGTON MILLION
Godolphin’s Scottish (IRE) has been withdrawn from the Grade I Arlington Million following the Charlie Appleby trainee’s Thursday morning work on the main track at Arlington International Racecourse. The 5-year-old son of Teofilo (IRE) put in a light breeze on his third morning of trackwork after two days of jogging and cantering, covering four furlongs in 51.80 seconds. While cooling out it was discovered the contender was walking lame in his left front leg, and shortly thereafter he was declared out of the Million in an online news release from Godolphin.
“It is his near-fore, the same leg that caused him to miss the G1 Mackinnon at Flemington last November,” Appleby reported in the Godolphin news release. “He breezed at Arlington this morning (Thursday) and was found to be lame when he cooled down.”
Appleby referred to a prior injury that put training on hold for Scottish following his runner-up effort in the Group I Caulfield Cup in Melbourne last year.
“It’s a real blow,” Appleby said from his Newmarket (UK) base. “He had been working really well since returning from Royal Ascot in June, and the trip to the States was very much a prelude to spending the Australian Spring in Melbourne.”
“But that’s all off the agenda now,” Appleby added. “The good news is that long-term the prognosis is good. All going well, he should be right to race again early next year in Dubai.”
BALLYDOYLE TRIO STRETCH THEIR LEGS
Aidan O’Brien’s trio of runners for the Arlington International Festival of Racing on Aug. 12 stepped out of quarantine and onto the Chicagoland oval this morning for the first time since arriving Tuesday afternoon, led by Grade I Arlington Million morning-line favorite Deauville (IRE). The 2016 Grade I Belmont Derby winner finished third in last year’s running of the Million as a 3-year-old facing elders, crossing the line less than a length behind the winner. Now a 4-year-old, the colt is likely to be the wagering favorite after a very strong runner-up effort in the Group III Meld Stakes at Leopardstown on July 20.
Just behind Deauville came Grade I Secretariat Stakes hopeful Taj Mahal (IRE) and Grade I Beverly D. contender Rain Goddess (IRE), both of whom share a sire with Deauville in Coolmore’s Galileo (IRE). Taj Mahal, much taller than his two siblings, was Grade III-placed as a juvenile. The 3-year-old colt has two placings this season, but has been unlucky not to hit the board in any of his Group I efforts. Rain Goddess has played bridesmaid in her last two Group I efforts, most recently to the talented filly Enable in the Group I Irish Oaks last month. The 3-year-old filly is still seeking a victory against winners.
Making their way through the paddock, winner’s circle, and onto the track, the trio jogged clockwise until they found the one-mile chute, turned around and cantered once about the oval before heading out the horse path and back to the quarantine barn. As the last horses to work over the track during training hours, it was approaching 11:00 am by the time they walked off the track and the heat caused them to lather more than a majority of the Million Day runners that had worked earlier in the morning. All three are slated to be ridden by Ryan Moore in Saturday’s races.
DIVISIDERO GETS CHANCE AT MILLION GLORY
For quite some time now, the Grade I races at Arlington’s International Festival of Racing have been on Gunpowder Farms’ radar for their two-time Grade I-winner Divisidero, but the son of Kitten’s Joy had to miss the 2015 Secretariat and the 2016 Arlington Million. Managed by trainer Buff Bradley, the Hinkle Farms-bred millionaire will finally get his chance to compete in Arlington International Racecourse’s landmark event on Aug. 12.
“He’s doing really well right now,” said Bradley. “I think the key with him is he needs a little better pace in front of him. There are four or five horses who can be up there and at least make [the pace] legit. Hopefully they’ll go a little faster for him, so he can run his race.”
Drawing post positon 11 with Julien Leparoux in the irons, the 5-year-old Divisidero will break from gate 10 in the field of 12 following the scratch of Godolphin’s Scottish, who had drawn in post nine but was removed from consideration after showing lameness Thursday morning. A repeat winner in the nine-furlong Grade I Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs, Divisidero will be seeking his first victory at 1¼ miles; he finished off the board in his three Grade I attempts at that distance.
“Every year he comes back really good after time off,” added Bradley. “He’s a feel-good horse and the weather has also been good for him at Churchill and that’s helped him. I think he’ll run well and we think he’s very versatile as far as distances go. A lot of that depends, like always, on the pace, but he is ready to run, unlike the past couple years where things just weren’t right.”
Divisidero is expected to go to the track Friday morning as usual at Churchill before shipping to Arlington.