November 28, 2021

Secretariat, Pucker Up showcase talented sophomores during the International Festival of Racing

Hunting Horn wins the Hampton Court Stakes (Eng-G3) at Royal Ascot under jockey Ryan Moore (c) Photo courtesy of Ballydoyle Racing Twitter

While the Arlington Million (G1) and Beverly D. Stakes (G1) will attract most of the attention on Saturday during Arlington Park’s International Festival of Racing, the two Breeders’ Cup “Win & You’re In” events are bookended by a pair of exciting matchups for three-year olds.

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The stakes action kicks off in the 9TH with the $400,000 Secretariat Stakes (G1) sending a field of 13 turf sophomores 1 1/4 miles. Four in the group will be making their U.S. debuts in this spot, and a fifth just started stateside in the Belmont Derby Invitational (G1) last out on July 7.

That bay colt is HUNTING HORN, who finished third in the Belmont Derby following a 4 1/2-length romp in the Hampton Court Stakes (Eng-G3) during Royal Ascot for trainer Aidan O’Brien. The Irish-bred son of Camelot posted a pair of Group 3 placings earlier this year in England before finishing sixth, beaten only 2 1/4 lengths, in the Prix du Jockey Club (Fr-G1) at Chantilly on June 3. Ryan Moore has been aboard in five of Hunting Horn’s last six starts, and makes the trip to ride the colt here.

O’Brien has a pair entered in the Secretariat, as the famed Ballydoyle master also sends out LUCIUS TIBERIUS with jockey Wayne Lordan aboard to face graded/group competition for the first time. The bay colt, also a son of Camelot, will receive first-time Lasix in this spot off a pair of handicap wins in Ireland most recently. The Irish-bred sophomore also ran during Royal Ascot, finishing 13th on the wire when unable to last the 2 1/2 miles of the King George V Stakes, but has proven quite adept at the 1 1/4-mile distance of the Secretariat.

Jockey-turned-trainer Joseph O’Brien, Aidan O’Brien’s son, also shipped over a runner for the Secretariat. MING is 4-3-0-0 thus far in his career, but his unplaced run came when facing Group 3 rivals. The Pour Moi gelding gets William James Lee aboard.

PLATINUM WARRIOR and BANDUA are the other two international runners going in the Secretariat, and both receive first-time Lasix. The former, trained by Michael Halford, captured the Gallinule Stakes (Ire-G3) at the Curragh two back on May 27. He could do no better than ninth in the Irish Derby (Ire-G1) most recently and gets the services of Joel Rosario here. Conditioner Dermot Weld sends out the lightly raced Bandua, who finished one spot in front of Platinum Warrior in the Irish Derby. The gray son of The Factor returned to be fifth, beaten only a half-length, in a Leopardstown handicap on July 26, and brings William Buick along for the ride.

Of the American contingent REAL STORY brings a two-for-two Arlington mark into the Secretariat. The Ignacio Correas IV pupil has captured his past two over the course, including a 1 3/4-length wire job in the local prep, the American Derby (G3), on July 7. Jose Valdivia Jr. was aboard two back for an Arlington allowance/optional claiming score and takes back the mount.

Correas also has PONT DU GARD entered Saturday off a fourth-placing in the American Derby. The dark bay Liaison colt filled the second spot in the Arlington Classic (G3) on May 26 going 1 1/16 miles over yielding turf and gets Mitchell Murrill in the saddle here.

CAPTIVATING MOON and DUBBY DUBBIE ran second and third, respectively, behind Real Story in the American Derby for trainers Chris Block and Michelle Lovell. Captivating Moon has racked up a 2-6-1 line from 10 career races, including placing in the American Turf (G2) at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day and the Transylvania Stakes (G3) at Keeneland a month earlier. Florent Geroux was aboard for both those starts, as well as the American Derby, and stays in the saddle. Dubby Dubbie made his stakes bow in the American Derby under returning jockey Jack Gilligan, entering that contest off a pair of allowance/optional claiming wins at Churchill Downs.

ANALYZE IT just missed by a head in the Belmont Derby last out for trainer Chad Brown, one race after suffering his first career loss when a neck runner-up in the Pennine Ridge Stakes (G3) over that same Belmont turf course. A dual Grade 3 winner at Del Mar and Keeneland, the Point of Entry colt keeps regular jockey Jose Ortiz in the irons for his Arlington Park bow.

UNTAMED DOMAIN has yet to score this year in five starts, but did win the Summer Stakes (Can-G2) at Woodbine last fall prior to a fast-closing second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) at Del Mar. The Graham Motion-trained son of Animal Kingdom finished second in the American Turf and was elevated to fifth via disqualification after running sixth most recently in the July 14 Kent Stakes (G3) at Delaware Park. Irad Ortiz Jr. has the call.

SNIPER KITTEN is 4-3-0-0 lifetime for trainer Mike Maker, capturing his stakes debut last out in the Mystic Lake Derby at Canterbury Park. The Kitten’s Joy colt stretches out to 1 1/4 miles for the first time here, having never gone beyond the nine furlongs he ran to win a Keeneland allowance in late April. Brian Hernandez Jr. will be holding the reins for the first time. CARRICK, a Tom Morley-trained son of Giant’s Causeway, was third while making his stakes bow in the Kent most recently and completes the Secretariat field. Jockey John Velazquez was aboard that day for the chestnut’s first career loss and will attempt to guide him to the winner’s circle on this occasion.

Beyond Blame gives trainer Cox and jockey Geroux a double in the Regret (c) Churchill Downs/Coady Photography

While the Secretariat begins the stakes action at Arlington on Saturday, the $100,000 Pucker Up Stakes (G3) will conclude it as Race 12 when a field of 13 sophomore fillies goes nine furlongs on the green.

BEYOND BLAME tops this group for trainer Brad Cox off a 1 1/2-length win in the Regret Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs on June 16. The Blame lass has gone 6-3-2-0 in her career thus far, with her only unplaced run coming in the Edgewood Stakes (G3) at Churchill on Kentucky Oaks Day. Florent Geroux has been aboard for all but one of her career starts and stays in the irons.

DARK ARTIST brings a three-race win streak into the Pucker Up, including scores in the Boiling Springs Stakes and Open Mind Stakes at Monmouth Park in her past pair. The Jane Cibelli-trained daughter of Paynter is 4-3-0-0 on turf thus far in her career.

Honeybee Stakes (G3) heroine COSMIC BURST just returned off a three-month break last out in the Iowa Oaks (G3), finishing second. The Violence filly could improve in this second start off the break under regular rider Richard Eramia. A. A. AZULA’S ARCH makes her first start outside of Woodbine here for trainer Kevin Attard. The bay daughter of Arch was second last out in the Ontario Colleen Stakes (Can-G3) in her first try on grass, and gets a rider switch Mitchell Murrill. IN THE MOOD is a Grade 3-placed stakes winner who wired an allowance at Presque Isle Downs by 5 1/4 lengths last out. Trainer Stephen Sandy has tabbed Jose Valdivia Jr. to ride the Eskendereya filly.

PRINCESS WARRIOR and PAMINA bring last-out allowance/optional claiming wins into the Pucker Up. Princess Warrior was fourth in the Herecomesthebride Stakes (G3) in her sophomore and turf bow in March. Pamina is 4-2-2-0 in her career and faces black-type rivals for the first time here. DIAMONDCOAT and MADAME MILAN each captured an allowance/optional claimer before finishing off-the-board in a stakes next out. For Diamondcoat it was a last-of-seven in the Indiana Oaks (G3) while Madame Milan ran fifth in the Hatoof Stakes.

Completing the Pucker Up field are DEADLINE, second at 12-1 in the Tawee Stakes most recently; SECRET MESSAGE, who since transferring to trainer Graham Motion has finished second in the Hilltop Stakes at Pimlico and fourth in the Regret at Churchill; stakes winner KABELLA, seventh in the Regret last out; and SMART SHOT, who brings a pair of wins into her stakes bow.