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Magician under consideration for Arlington Million

Magician has won just once since his victory in the BC Turf (Breeders' Cup Ltd. Photo)
Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith and Mrs. John Magnier's Magician is now possible to make the trip from his Irish base of Ballydoyle and the yard of trainer Aidan O'Brien for the Grade 1 Arlington Million on August 16. The son of Galileo would be making his first start in America since pulling off a 12-1 upset in the Breeders' Cup Turf last November -- defeating recently retired star mare The Fugue in the process.

Since the Breeders' Cup, Magician has proven victorious in only one of five starts, the Mooresbridge Stakes at the Curragh on May 5, and has two seconds and two off-the-board finishes in his four other attempts, all in Group 1 company.  Included was a runner-up finish in the Tattersalls Gold Cup behind fellow Million possible Noble Mission on May 25, as well as same placing in the Prince of Wales's Stakes, where The Fugue got her revenge. It is worth noting that the Irish-bred four-year-old's aforementioned three best performances this year all came at the Million's 1 1/4-mile distance. 

A lover of firm going, Magician did not appreciate the good going at Ascot Racecourse last time, while finishing a distant sixth in the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes behind sophomore filly phenom Taghrooda, while also giving the winner 15 pounds. His performance in November at Santa Anita was on that course's typical firm ground and his marquee victory before November was in the classic Irish Two Thousand Guineas over a mile of good-to-firm going at the Curragh in May 2013.

If Magician joins the field, he will be part of a star-studded event that already likely includes defending champion Real Solution -- whom he soundly defeated at Santa Anita -- as well as Canadian Horse of the Year Up with the Birds, globetrotting Group 1-placed French horse Smoking Sun and last year's Secretariat Stakes winner Admiral Kitten.

Magician's three aforementioned owners have won a combined three prior editions of the Million. In 1997, Tabor's Marlin made all the running in a sharp victory for trainer D. Wayne Lukas. In 2005, Magnier's Powerscourt won the marquee Chicagoland event and she teamed with Tabor, Smith and Mrs. Fitriani Hay to decisively capture the meet centerpiece with Cape Blanco in 2011. Both Powerscourt and Cape Blanco were trained by O'Brien. 

In other International Festival of Racing news, Caroline Forgason's four-time graded stakes winner Somali Lemonade, the 11-1 upsetter of the Diana Stakes last out at Saratoga, is now possible for the Beverly D. on August 16. The daughter of Lemon Drop Kid defeated five Grade 1 winners in the July 19 event - her third win of five 2014 starts.

"She's come out of the race well," trainer Michael Matz reported. "It's certainly a big possibility. We're not sure yet, but she is doing well right now. She has been a good horse since the beginning, but is probably in her best form now."

Somali Lemonade has always been highly regarded. As a two-year-old, she was the 4-1 second choice in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf in 2011, which was coincidentally won by the filly she nosed out in the Diana, Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey's Stephanie's Kitten. 

"My sister-in-law owns the horse and would like to go to the Breeders' Cup at the end of the season," Matz said. "Whether the Beverly D. works with those plans or not, I'm not sure, yet.

"You want to run her while she's doing well, but don't want to do too much," he continued. "But, she did come out of the race well and sometimes you wait and the horse gets hurt and you kick yourself for not going. At this point, this will be one of the major options. We'll look at the other aspects like what kind of travel arrangements there are and how she trains the next couple of weeks."

This year, Somali Lemonade has not only doubled her win total to six, but also has done so while showing impressive speed.  After a good second in the Marshua's River at Gulfstream to kick off her season, she wired a good allowance at Keeneland and took the Galorette Handicap as the highweight at Pimlico on Preakness Day. 

"This has been kind of a funny year," Matz explained.  "We haven't really done anything different with her except put the blinkers on.  It made me feel a little stupid for not doing it sooner. It was the first time she showed any kind of speed at all.  Before, she would completely drop out of the race, but now she has done very well now showing more speed."

The bay mare could have a chance to show that pace again versus similar company. Stephanie's Kitten and Chad Brown-trained stablemate Alterite -- who finished off the board in the Diana (her first start since finishing third in the  Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf) -- are also planning to run in the Beverly D.  Alterite will try to become an unprecedented fourth winner of the Midwestern filly and mare turf centerpiece for owner Martin Schwartz, following Angara (2005), Gorella (2006) and Stacelita (2011).

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