(Century Dream / Photo By Coady Photography & Courtesy of Arlington Park)
From the Media Team at Arlington Park:
CENTURY DREAM ‘CONSISTENT’ FOR CRISFORD
When going into a race like the Arlington Million, few things will give a trainer more confidence than physical and mental improvement in a horse. According to trainer Simon Crisford, Century Dream (IRE) has shown just that and believes that he is ready for his United States debut in the prestigious Grade I turf event, which carries a $1,000,000 purse.
The son of Cape Cross (IRE) enters the Arlington Million a winner of four of his last seven starts. He was a two-time winner this season with a pair of victories in Great Britain when taking the Commonwealth Paradise Stakes at Ascot on May 2 before his first grouped victory on the Epsom Derby undercard in the Group 3 Investec Diomed Stakes on June 2.
The 4-year-old colt finished fourth in his last two outings but was not disgraced in either. In the Group 1 Queen Anne at Royal Ascot on June 19, Century Dream sat close to the pace set by fellow Million contender Deauville (IRE) and was a bit keen while in between horses. In the final stages Century Dream took the lead before being overtaken by winner Accidental Agent to lose by only three-quarters of a length. Next out, he was beaten 3¼ lengths in the Group 2 Summer Mile at Ascot behind Beat The Bank (GB) who was sixth in the Queen Anne.
“He has been a slow developer but he’s always handled himself well; he’s been consistent,” Crisford said. “This season he’s just kept on improving. Obviously, he won a nice stake on Epsom Derby day. Last year, he was winning over a mile-and-a-quarter so he’s bred to go the distance. He’s grown up mentally a lot and physically has strengthened throughout the course this year. The run at Royal Ascot was big step up for him. He’s just continued to develop and go the right way.”
The Arlington Million became an option once Century Dream took the Diomed Stkaes at Epsom. Breaking from the rail, he tracked third in 1 1/16-miles event, switched to the wrong lead at the top of the stretch but when called upon by jockey William Buick drew away to a 2¼-length win.
“Ever since he won at Epsom, we’ve had this race in the back of our minds and thought it’d be an appropriate spot for him,” Crisford said. “He’s trained toward this race very nicely. He had a long journey over, but he travelled well and rehydrated very quickly. His temperature has been good. Obviously we’re hoping for a good performance.”
Crisford will be making his first appearance in the International Festival of Racing as a trainer, but has found success at the Chicagoland oval’s biggest day while working for Godolphin as Racing Manager. Said prosperity was found after Sulamani (IRE) was elevated to winner in the 2003 Arlington Million via the disqualification of Storming Home, who veered into Sulamani in the stretch.
“That was slightly by default, but Sulamani was obviously a very good horse,” Crisford recalled. “This is my first runner at Arlington since I’ve been a standalone trainer and really hope we can make some sort of an impact. It’s going to be tough, I know that. He needs to improve a bit on what he’s done but you have to keep improving and that’s the point.”
Crisford also found himself in the Arlington winner’s circle when Godolphin’s Crimson Palace (SAF) took the Beverly D. in 2004. The 2018 Million will only be Crisford’s second start as a trainer in the United States. In 2016 he saddled Rodaini in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita.
Century Dream went to the track on Thursday morning in company with fellow Million contender Circus Couture (IRE) and Grade I $600,000 Beverly D. aspirant Nyaleti (IRE). He breezed a quarter of a mile in 25.80 with exercise rider Paul Holley under the supervision of Crisford’s travelling head lad Les Reynolds.
“(Holley) was very happy with him,” Reynolds said. “The horse is well, he was settled. He just breezed the last couple of furlongs and galloped out. He’s eating well, drinking well. We’re ready to go.”
MONEY MULTIPLIER PLANNING MORE MILES AFTER MILLION
Al Shahania Stud’s Manager Dean Lavy is a man with a plan and he had just that when he purchased Grade I $1,000,000 Arlington Million contender Money Multiplier on behalf of Qatari ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Thani.
Formerly owned by Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence, the 6-year-old son of Lookin At Lucky was bought by Lavy only two days before he made his seasonal bow in the Grade I Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap on February 10. In this outing he finished seventh beaten three lengths by Heart to Heart. He then traveled Qatar to compete in the Group 1 H. H. the Emir Trophy at Doha which was run exactly two weeks later, where he was third beaten 1¼ lengths under Frankie Dettori. Since his run at Doha, he found the winner’s circle in the Grade II Monmouth Stakes on May 26 – a race he won last year – and finished a close second to stable mate Funtastic in the Grade I United Nations Handicap on June 30.
“He is obviously a very good older horse,” said Lavy. “He was very competitive and he had run in Grade I’s and Grade II’s for the last couple years. Initially he was bought with the idea of bringing him to Doha, which we did, but we wanted to leave him in the States where he’s more comfortable. He’s very consistent, but this year he seems to be better than he’s ever been.”
Lavy has not stopped making travel plans for Money Multiplier however. He has another trip to Qatar in mind for the five-time winner, with two probable starts between the Arlington Million his journey back east. Part of that travel plan will focus on an earlier arrival in his owner’s homeland to the benefit of the horse.
“The plan will be to bring him back to Doha again after this season, but it depends on how he does this race,” Lavy said. “It’s six months out so we’ll obviously see how he does this year. This time, we’d like to get him in a little earlier rather than fly him in and flying him right back.”
Although Money Multiplier is still shooting for his first Grade I victory, he has made ten starts against such caliber in the United States, five of which resulted in runner-up finishes.
“We’re excited that he is in the Million,” Lavy said. “We had him entered in the (Grade II) Bowling Green but the ground was very wet and we had an outside draw. This (the Arlington Million) sets up well for him. It’s competitive but we expect him to do well. I think he’ll be close.”
Lavy indicated he had the Grade I $4,000,000 Breeders’ Cup Turf at Churchill Downs in mind for one of his possible two starts post-Chicago. A win in the Million would earn him an automatic spot in the starting gate of the Nov. 3 event.
Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez has the call on Saturday. The duo are drawn in gate eight.
BALLYDOYLE QUARTET TAKE TO ARLINGTON TRACK ON THURSDAY
Following a late evening arrival to Arlington International Racecourse on Monday, trainer Aidan O’Brien’s quartet of Festival runners stepped out onto the Chicagoland oval on Thursday morning.
The Ballydoyle-based tetrad consisted of Grade I $1,000,000 Arlington Million contender Deauville (IRE), Grade I $600,000 Beverly D. runner Athena (IRE) and Grade I $400,000 Secretariat Stakes aspirants Hunting Horn (IRE) and Lucius Tiberius (IRE).
Lead by Deauville, the four runners left the quarantine barn 7:15 a.m. and traveled a few laps around the paddock before going onto main track. They walked the wrong way back to the gap, turned and cantered a lap under the supervision of O’Brien’s travelling lad Pat Keating.
“They all looked very well,” Keating said. “They travelled well and were in good form. We’re happy with all of them.”
Keating stated that they will engage in a similar exercise routine Friday morning.
Deauville will be looking to make his third Million attempt a winning one after back-to-back third place efforts. The 5-year-old son of Galileo (IRE) finished three-quarters of a length behind Beach Patrol in last year’s running. Guided by jockey Ryan Moore, Deauville tucked in along the rail throughout the race and stalked a slow pace set by Illinois-bred Oak Brook. At the top of the stretch, Deauville was called on by Moore and took command but was unable to hold off a challenge from Beach Patrol and runner-up Fanciful Angel (IRE). His effort in the 2016 edition of the Million was run in similar fashion where he tracked just behind a slow pace, but was on the outside of horses. At the top of the stretch, Deauville gained control but was outgunned by fellow European invader Mondialiste (IRE).
Athena enters the Beverly D. off of a decisive victory in the Grade I Belmont Oaks Invitational on July 7. The 3-year-old daughter of Camelot (GB) sat well off the pace under Ryan Moore and began inching her way closer to the front around the far turn. At the top of the stretch Moore asked and she responded with a winning move, capturing the Oaks by 2½ lengths at odds of 10-1. This victory took place only six days after she finished third in the Group 1 Juddmonte Pretty Polly Stakes at The Curragh, where she was beaten 5½ lengths behind Urban Fox (GB).
Hunting Horn (IRE) last raced when finishing third beaten 1¾ lengths in the Grade I Belmont Derby Invitational on July 7. The 3-year-old son of Camelot (GB) entered his North American debut off of a victory in the Group 3 Hampton Court Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 21, which he won by 4½ lengths. Third time was the charm for Hunting Horn when breaking his maiden in his 3-year-old debut at Naas on April 13 where he defeated eventual Group 1 Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby winner Latrobe by a neck. He is out of the Indian Ridge (IRE) broodmare Mora Bai (IRE), a half-sister to two-time Grade I Breeders’ Cup Turf winner High Chaparral (IRE).
Lucius Tiberius (IRE) is the only horse in the O’Brien contingent to not have raced prior on U.S. soil, but will be attempting to pull a hat-trick after two victories in his native Ireland. In his most recent effort, Lucius Tiberius defeated older horses in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF ‘Nasrullah’ Handicap at Leopardstown on July 12. He sat at the back of the pack in the 1¼-mile event and made a last-to-first move at the top of the stretch to win by a nose under jockey Donnacha O’Brien. His prior effort took place at The Curragh in the Paddy Power Onside Handicap, which he won by 2¼ lengths under Ryan Moore. He’ll receive the services of Wayne Lordon on Saturday.