Sulamani, Storming Home Top Deep Million Field
European-based Sulamani, a winner of multiple Group I outings on other continents, and the recently American-based grade I victor Storming Home, head a field of 13 of the best turf horses throughout the world in Saturday's 21st running of the Arlington Million (gr. IT).
The Arlington Million, Thoroughbred racing's first contest to offer a seven-figure purse when it debuted in 1981, may have attracted its best field yet for Saturday's renewal, to be contested at 1 1/4 mile over Arlington's grass course..
Sulamani, bred in Ireland by the Niarchos family, was bought late last fall by Godolphin Racing Inc., owned in principle by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, minister of defense for the United Arab Emirates. That Thoroughbred racing and breeding operation has enjoyed unprecedented success since its inception 10 years ago, and will be attempting its 100th grade or group I winner worldwide with Sulamani Saturday at Arlington.
In his last trip to the post July 26 in Great Britain, Sulamani finished second in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes (Eng-I) at Ascot, third leg of the 2003 World Series Racing Championship.
The Arlington Million is the fourth leg of this year's World Series of Racing.
Among Sulamani's biggest wins to date are a 1 1/2-length tally in the French Derby (Fr-1) in June of 2002 at Chantilly, and an impressive come-from-behind score in the Dubai Sheema Classic (UAE-I) in March of this year at Nad al Sheba. The 4-year-old was also runner-up in last October's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I) at Longchamp while still a sophomore.
West Coast-based David Flores will be aboard Sulamani during his first American appearance this weekend.
Storming Home, bred in Great Britain but campaigned in Southern California this year, is owned by Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid al Maktoum, another member of Dubai's royal family and older brother of the Godolphin owner, and is listed as an American Million representative.
Conditioned since the beginning of 2003 by Hall of Fame trainer Neil Drysdale, Storming Home began his season with a two-length tally in Hollywood Park's $400,000 Jim Murray Handicap. The 5-year-old son of Machiavellian returned to the winner's circle following the Charles Whittingham Handicap (gr. IT) at Hollywood June 14 in an impressive performance at the Arlington Million 10-furlong distance.
Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens, lately famous for his abilities as an actor portraying jockey George Woolf in the first-run film Seabiscuit, has been in the irons aboard Storming Home in both his wins this year. He journeys to Arlington for the mount once more on Saturday.
Seven other European-based campaigners join Sulamani for the foreign invasion of Chicago, while four other extremely solid North American-based competitors, including one based in Canada, back up Storming Home in defense of the home front.
The European invaders are Susan McCarthy's Kaieteur, Rene Douglas up; H R H Prince A A Faisal's Olden Times, Kent Desormeaux; Mrs. Carde Ostermann-Richter's Paolini, Eduardo Pedroza; 6 C Racing Ltd.'s Vangelis, Christophe Soumillon; SNC Jean-Louis Bouchard's Tripat, Michael Kinane; Gary A. Tanaka's Touch of Land, Patrick Valenzuela; and Erik Penser's Beauchamp Pilot, Eddie Ahern.
Kaieteur finished third in the Coral-Eclipse (Eng-I) July 5, beaten by 2 1/4 lengths, while Olden Times was fourth, a head further back. Paolini was an unlucky sixth in last year's Arlington Million, beaten less than a length for all of it despite a troubled trip. Vangelis won the Grand Prix de Vichy (Fr-III) in his last start July 23. Tripat won the Prix du Chemin de Fer du Nord (Fr-III) at Chantilly June 8. Touch of Land was fourth in the French Derby June 1; and Beauchamp Pilot was second by three-quarters of a length in the Silver Trophy Stakes (Eng-III) July 12 at Ascot.
Canadian-based Perfect Soul, owned by Charles E. Fipke, trained by Roger Attfield and ridden by Corey Nakatani, was the winner of Woodbine's King EdwardBreeders' Cup (Can-II) in June, and will join with three American-based rivals in Arlington Million XXI. All are quite capable of posing in the winner's circle following Saturday's showcase event.
Stonecrest Farm's Perfect Drift was most recently the six-length winner of the Grade II Washington Park Handicap on the main track at Arlington Park July 19. 3rd Turn Stable's Honor in War captured the Arlington Handicap (gr. IIIT), final local prep for the Million run July 26, and Ralph & Aury Todd's The Tin Man was most recently second in the Monmouth Park's United Nations Handicap (gr. IT) July 5 at the New Jersey Shore.
The rest of the American-based riding assignments have Pat Day astride Perfect Drift, Mike Smith aboard The Tin Man and Jose ValdiviaJr. handling the reins on Honor in War.
Arlington Million Stakes (gr. IT), 3 & up, 1 1/4 mile on turf (5:15 CDT)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Sulamani (IRE), 126, David R. Flores
2. Vangelis (KY), 126, Christophe Soumillon
3. Paolini (GER), 126, Eduardo Pedroza
4. Storming Home (GB), 126, Gary L. Stevens
5. Perfect Soul (IRE), 126, Corey S. Nakatani
6. Perfect Drift (KY), 126, Pat Day
7. Beauchamp Pilot (GB), 126, Eddie Ahern
8. Touch of Land (FR), 120, Patrick A. Valenzuela
9. Kaieteur (KY), 126, Rene R. Douglas
10. The Tin Man (KY), 126, Mike E. Smith
11. Honor in War (KY), 126, Jose Valdivia, Jr.
12. Tripat (IRE), 126, Michael J. Kinane
13. Olden Times (GB), 126, Kent J. Desormeaux