Richard L. Duchossois, the driving force behind Arlington Park, had been trying for more than two decades to win the Beverly D., a race named for his late wife. Saturday, to tears of joy and a standing ovation from a crowd of more than 30,000, he finally got to the winner's circle.
And, to put an exclamation point to the event, Duchossois and his family shared the moment with trainer Ron McAnally -- a friend since the conditioner sent out John Henry to win the inaugural Arlington Million in arguably the suburban Chicago track's signature moment.
"I would rather win this race than win the Kentucky Derby," Duchossois said after his Eclair de Lune caught early pacesetter Romacaca at mid-stretch and held on to win the 21st running of the Beverly D. by 1 1/2 lengths over Hot Cha Cha. South African-bred Gypsy's Warning finished third with a late rush.
"This is one race I've wanted to win for that man," McAnally added. "He's a first-class man and I knew he wanted to win this race for his late wife. He's the greatest guy and very generous to everyone."
The victory was so emotional and so stirring that it easily eclipsed the outcome of the next race -- the Arlington Million, even when Debussy charged up along the hedge to deny Gio Ponti an unprecedented second straight win in that event.
Typical of his attention to detail and commitment to Arlington fans, Duchossois let his family and friends head off the victory celebration while he remained behind in the winner's circle to participate with the bugler and a blues singer in welcoming the crowd to the 28th running of the Million.
Eclaire de Lune, purchased for Duchossois last year in France, is a 4-year-old, German-bred Marchand de Sable filly. She got the 1 3/16 miles on "good" turf in 1:56.56. Junior Alvarado had the winning ride and had tears in his eyes, too, as he brought the filly back to Duchossois.
The race was a "Win and You're In" event for the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf -- a bigger prize for just about anyone other than Richard L. Duchossois.
Other weekend events in the distaff turf division:
-- Midday got to the front with 2 furlongs to run in Thursday's Group 1 Darley Yorkshire Oaks and went on to win by 3 lengths over Snow Fairy. Midday covered the 1 1/2 miles in 2:30.53 over "good to firm" going but did not have to contend with her recent nemesis, Sariska, who refused when the gates opened. Sariska had beaten Midday three times running before the Yorkshire misadventure. Midday, winner of last fall's Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf, finished second to Sariska in her first start back in May in the Middleton Stakes at York, then won the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood last month. Trainer Henry Cecil said he is looking at the Prix Vermeille on Sept. 12 or the Prix de l'Opera on Oct. 3 as potential preps for a Breeders' Cup defense on Nov. 5. He said Thursday's race "was as good as she has ever been and it was her best run ever."
-- Stacelita, who finished second to Midday in the Nassau Stakes, rebounded to win Sunday's Group 1 Darley Prix Jean Romanet at Deauville by a desperate head over Antara. Board Meeting was third, 1 length farther back. Stacelita, a 4-year-old daughter of Monsun, stayed close to the pace before being sent to the lead by jockey Christophe Soumillon at the top of the lane. The, it was a matter of holding off the onrushing Godolphin standard-bearer. "You'll see her again in another group race," winning trainer Jean-Claude Rouget said. "Probably the E.P. Taylor Stakes, then Hong Kong." The E.P. Taylor is Oct. 16 at Woodbine. The Cathay Pacific International Races run in mid-December at Sha Tin.
-- Evening Jewel stalked the pace in Saturday's $300,000 Del Mar Oaks, waited for running room at the top of the stretch, finally got through on the inside and prevailed by 1/2 length over Harmonious, who rallied from last. Perfect Shirl was third. Evening Jewel, a California-bred Northern Afleet filly, ran the 9 furlongs on firm turf in 1:47.27 with Victor Espinoza in the irons. Evening Jewel improved her record to six wins and five seconds in 12 starts. She has lost twice this year by a nose to Blind Luck. "This was one of her best races, if not the best," winning trainer James Cassidy said. "Usually, she has room to run, but today she was boxed in and even though she saved ground it was still a little scary … . When Victor had to take her inside, it showed me how athletic she is."
-- Tottie sat well off the pace until the stretch turn in Saturday's $100,000 Omnibus Stakes for fillies and mares at Monmouth Park, began a steady drive toward the leaders and finally caught pacesetting Speak Easy Gal in the final yards, winning by a neck. Tarrip finished third. Tottie, a 4-year-old, British-bred Fantastic Light filly, ran the 11 furlongs on firm turf in 2:15.11 with Alan Garcia up for trainer Chad Brown. "Alan gave her a nice, patient ride," Brown said. "This filly has a tendency to lug in a little bit in the lane and Alan did a great job of correcting her. He made all the difference."
Other weekend racing with potential implications for the Breeders' Cup World Championships Nov. 5-6 at Churchill Downs:
Debussy, one of the lightly regarded foreign contenders, rallied inside the heavy favorite, Gio Ponti, in deep stretch Saturday and went on to win the 28th running of the Arlington Million by 1/2 length. Another European, Tazeez, made all the going and held on for third, 2 lengths farther back. With William Buick up for trainer John Gosden, Debussy ran the 1 1/4 miles on Arlington Park's "good" turf course in 2:03.01. Debussy, a 4-year-old, Irish-bred Diesis colt, came into the race off a fourth-place finish in the York Stakes in England last month. In his last two races, he had finished behind two other Million starters -- Tazeez and Summit Surge, who got home fifth Saturday. Overall, he now has five wins from 14 career starts. "We were too tight for room early," Buick said. "I thought, 'Oh no, I'm not going to have room.' But then we finally got clear and he was able to run his race." Gosden echoed his rider's emotion. "He had nowhere to go," Gosden said. "The pace was decent enough for this kind of ground. I think they just tired the last part of it and he dashed up the rail and done it very well." Jockey Ramon Dominguez, trying to make Gio Ponti the first-ever back-to-back winner in the Million, said he "thought I had enough to hang on. Once I got clear, the horse was idling a little bit, maybe looking at the stands or something. The trip was great. I had a lot of horse turning for home. He couldn't hang on the last sixteenth when he was looking around."
Paddy O'Prado got to the lead at mid-stretch in Saturday's $400,000 Secretariat Stakes for 3-year-olds at Arlington Park, then held off European invader Wigmore Hall to win by 1 1/4 lengths. Workin for Hops, winner of the American Derby in his last previous start, led briefly at the top of the stretch and held on for third, another 3/4 length back. Early leader Cherokee Lord, Dean's Kitten and Mister Mardi Gras completed the order of finish. Paddy O'Prado, a Kentucky-bred son of El Prado, ran the 1 1/4 miles on turf rated "good" in 2:04.71 after tracking very slow fractions. The winner finished third in this year's Kentucky Derby and sixth in the Preakness before trainer Dale Romans switched him to the green course. Since then, he has reeled off three graded stakes wins in a row. "Now it's on to Belmont Park to try him against older horses and the, hopefully, on to the Breeders' Cup," Romans said after the Secretariat. Winning jockey Kent Desormeaux said Paddy O'Prado has been underrated. "I think he's by far the best 3-year-old and I don't just mean on turf," he said. "I think he should have won the Kentucky Derby but I got shut off at the quarter pole." Jamie Spencer, who rode Wigmore Hall, said the pace didn't suit his mount but added, "No excuses. The best horse won. I had plenty of time to get him through the straight." Francisco Torres, aboard Workin For Hops, noted, "The winner beat him by 3 lengths in Virginia and only a length and a half or two here. So we're gaining on him."
American invader Marsh Side dominated Saturday's $250,000 (Canadian) Sky Classic Stakes at Woodbine, drawing off at the end to win by 5 lengths, ridden out by Edgar Prado. Windward Islands was second, 2 lengths better than Your Round. Marsh Side, a 7-year-old, Kentucky-bred son of Gone West, traveled the 10 furlongs on soft turf in a plodding 2:08.99. "It looked as though there was not much speed in the race," Prado said as Marsh Side won for the first time this year in his fourth try. "All I had to do was help him a little bit out of the gate and then let him do his thing. He's an old pro and he knows the track. He was having a lot of fun out there." Racing manager Patrick Lawley-Wakelin said Marsh Side, when he runs at Woodbine, "just changes into a different horse. He relaxes. He just loves being here." Marsh Side won the Pattison Canadian International on the Woodbine green in 2008 and returned to capture the Northern Dancer Stakes last year. "I think there's no doubt in our mind the horse belongs here," Lawley-Wakelin added. He said the Sept. 19 renewal of the Northern Dancer "is definitely on our schedule."
Memorial Maniac rallied outside rivals into the stretch and won a furious stretch drive to capture Saturday's $100,000 Stars and Stripes Handicap at Arlington Park by a neck over Lemonade Kid. Free Fighter was third and the even-money favorite, Perfect Shower, got home fourth. Memorial Maniac, a 5-year-old Lear Fan gelding, ran the 1 5/8 miles on a "good" turf course in 2:44.29 with Jesse Graham riding for trainer Larry Demeritte. Memorial Maniac came into the race off a win in an optional claiming event at Arlington – his first score in more than a year. He now has four wins from 25 lifetime starts.
Duke of Mischief put in his bid on the stretch turn of Saturday's $300,000 Philip H. Iselin Breeders' Cup Stakes at Monmouth Park, blew by the favorite, Redding Colliery and went on to post a 2 1/4-lengths upset. Redding Colliery held second, 4 lengths ahead of I Want Revenge. Duke of Mischief, a 4-year-old Graeme Hall colt, ran 9 furlongs on a fast track in 1:51.15 with Eibar Coa in the irons. It was his sixth career win and followed a runner-up effort in the Salvator Mile over the same track. "One thing about this horse," Coa said. "When he shows up and runs his A-1 race, I don't think there's anyone that can beat him. I moved him to the outside and let him go. That was the plan from the beginning and I wasn't going to change that." Winning trainer David Fawkes agreed. "This horse likes to get an outside trip," he said. "Going down the backside, I got a little nervous because he was still on the inside, but (Coa) said he was just biding his time."
Blind Luck rallied from last and was just up at the wire to win Saturday's $500,000 Betfair TVG Alabama Stakes at Saratoga by a neck over long shot Havre de Grace. Acting Happy carved out the early fractions and held on for third, 2 3/4 lengths ahead of the odds-on favorite, Devil May Care. Blind Luck, with Joel Rosario up, ran the 1 1/4 miles on a fast track in 2:03.89. "I thought when Joel made his move coming into the lane he would have a good chance to run them down," winning trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said. It was the fifth win from seven starts this year for Blind Luck, a daughter of Pollard's Vision. The wins include the Kentucky Oaks, the Delaware Oaks and the Las Virgenes. "It seems like we have the best 3-year-old filly, right now," Hollendorfer said. "I hate to make those kinds of assessments. We'll see what she can do the rest of the year. We've had a very consistent filly all year long. She got the job done on a slow pace. I'm very proud of her the way she did it."
Biofuel, a 3-year-old filly tackling older horses, squeezed out a nose victory over Askbut I Won'ttell in Sunday's $100,000 (Canadian) Belle Mahone Stakes at Woodbine. Rallying from last of six, the Kentucky-bred Stormin Fever filly just put a whisker in front for the camera. Much Obliged finished third. Biofuel, with Eurico Da Silva aboard, covered the 1 1/16 miles on the all-weather track in 1:44.27. "I was concerned again," said winning trainer Reade Baker. "We keep getting in these pace-less races. I don't think she's run her big race here yet. We need a real pace to run at." He added, "These are nice old mares. It's quite an accomplishment for a 3-year-old. She ran a super race."
Atta Boy Roy went quickly to the lead in Saturday's $200,000 Remington Park Sprint Cup and extended the advantage throughout, winning by a tidy 5 1/2 lengths over Wando Redd. Greeley's Conquest finished third. Atta Boy Roy, a 5-year-old, Washington-bred Tribunal ridgling, finished the 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:09.29. Calvin Borel was in the irons for trainer Valorie Lund. Atta Boy Roy's earlier victories this year included the Grade II Churchill Downs Handicap during the spring meeting. He now has 10 wins from 21 starts.
Filly & Mare Sprint
Sweet August Moon sat off a moderate early pace in Sunday's $150,000 Rancho Bernardo Handicap at Del Mar, came to the leader at the top of the stretch and went on to win by 3/4 length over Alpha Kitten. Silver Swallow and Taste's Sis completed the order of finish. Sweet August Moon, a 5-year-old, Pennsylvania-bred daughter of Malibu Moon, negotiated the 6 1/2 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:16.40 with Victor Espinoza up. It was her seventh win in 17 career starts. "She's back where she was at 4," said winning trainer Brian Kornier. "I just hope she keeps it up. We're trying to get to the Breeders' Cup and it's tough to keep a filly in form for four straight races. I think we'll go to a race at Colonial Downs for her next start. That way we'll already be in the east and won't have to ship again." The Rancho Bernardo was a "Win and You're In" for the Breeders' Cup, so he doesn't have to worry about a spot in the starting gate.
Love That Dance loved that race in Sunday's $100,000 Trenton Stakes at Monmouth Park. Under jockey Elvis Trujillo, the 4-year-old, New Jersey-bred Not For Love filly stalked the pace, dueled her way into contention in the stretch and surged to the front in the final sixteenth, winning by 1 1/2 lengths over pacesetting long shot All Giving. The favorite, Lady Alexander, ran evenly to finish third. Love That Dance finished the 6 furlongs in 1:09.81 on a muddy track. "I told Elvis to use his judgment," winning trainer Ben Perkins Jr. said. "We were on the outside so just break and go from there. I thought she would run real well today. She got in lighter than the others in there and I know she fits well with these." The win was Love That Dance's sixth from 20 starts.
Sole Power posted a 100-1 upset in Friday's Group 1 Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at York in England, outfinishing multiple Group1 winner Starspangledbanner by 1 1/2 lengths. Piccadilly Filly was third, 1 1/4 lengths farther in arrears. Sole Power, with Wayne Lordan up, got the 5 furlongs in 57.14 seconds on "good to firm" going. A 3-year-old gelding, Sole Power scored his first win of any kind on grass or in a stakes event. His only two previous wins came on all-weather surface at Dundalk. "I didn't think I'd have much of a chance" to win, Lordan said. In addition to Starspangledbanner, previous Group 1 winners Kingsgate Native, Borderlescott and Equiano were among those trailing the long-shot winner across the finish line.
Green for grass, flash for speed. California Flag had that winning combination in Wednesday's $75,000 Green Flash Handicap at Del Mar. With Mike Smith up, the 6-year-old, Cal-bred Avenue of Flags gelding rallied between rivals in deep stretch and snatched a nose victory. Quick Enough and My Summer Slew dead-heated for place and show. Three others were just a half-length back. California Flag, defending champion in the Turf Sprint, ran the 5 furlongs on firm going in 55.58 seconds. It was his first start since finishing third in the $1 million Al Quoz Sprint in Dubai in March.
Awakino Cat caught Ravallo in the final strides of Wednesday's $70,000 Troy Stakes at Saratoga and scored by a neck over that rival. Yield Bogey ran well late to take third and the favorite, Silver Timber, got home fifth after experiencing traffic problems. Silver Timber ran sixth in last fall's Turf Sprint. Awakino Cat, a 5-year-old, Kentucky-bred Stormy Atlantic gelding, ran the 5 1/2 furlongs on firm turf in 1:01.90 with Alan Garcia up. "This is a colt I bought as a 2-year-old in training," winning trainer Linda Rice said. "He made his first start here as a 2-year-old. Through the years he's developed, and it's really a pleasure to have a horse come back year after year and do as well as he has."
Noosa Beach battled to the lead in Sunday's $250,000 Longacres Mile at Emerald Downs, got off to a daylight lead at the head of the lane and held well to win by 1 1/2 lengths over Jersey Town. Assessment finished third. Noosa Beach, a 4-year-old, Washington-bred Harbor the Gold gelding, ran the 1 mile on a fast track in 1:34 4/5 with Ricky Frazier on board for trainer Doris Harwood. He picked up his fourth stakes win of the Emerald Downs meeting. The race was a "Win and You're In" event for the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile but Noosa Beach is not eligible and would have to be supplemented for $90,000. "It feels fantastic. It's really the highlight of my career," said Harwood, who began training two decades ago after a riding career at the old Longacres.
Dream Ahead, a Kentucky-bred Diktat colt, stepped up to Group 1 company smartly with a handy, 1 1/2-lengths victory in Sunday's Darley Prix Morny at Deauville. Dream Ahead came to the front-runners with about 200 meters to go and finished 1,200 meters in 1:09.60. Tin Horse was second at long odds and the filly, Pontenuovo, finished third after leading briefly. Dream Ahead was ridden by William Buick, who hurried back across the Atlantic after winning Saturday's Arlington Million on Debussy and finishing third in the $750,000 Beverly D. aboard Gypsy's Warning. Trainer David Simcock said Dream Ahead will be considered for the Middle Park Stakes Oct. 1 at Newmarket or the Dewhurst Stakes two weeks later.
In other weekend racing:
Sunday's $150,000 Woodford Reserve Lake Placid Stakes for 3-year-old fillies came off the turf and half the field scratched. At the end, It's Tea Time was easily the best of the remaining trio, trailing early, then drawing off in the stretch to win by 7 1/4 lengths. Hatheer was second and it was another 13 1/2 lengths back to the trailer, Triple Cream. It's Tea Time, a Dynaformer filly, ran the 1 1/8 miles on a sloppy, sealed track in 1:54.42 with Julien Leparoux up. "I didn't really have a preference where to have her in the race," Leparoux said. "She was most comfortable behind horses, so we just settled in the back. She ran very well and was very relaxed. I didn't have any worries about the off track because I had breezed her on the dirt before and she traveled over it well." Added winning trainer George Arnold, "You're always happy to win a race here. Any race."
Straight Story pressed the pace aggressively in Thursday's $100,000 West Point Stakes for New York-bred 3-year-olds, surged to a solid lead at the top of the lane and prevailed by 1 length over Pocket Cowboys. Icabad Crane finished third. Straight Story, a Giant's Causeway colt, finished 9 furlongs on the firm inner turf in 1:48.58 under Javier Castellano. Winning trainer Alan Goldberg said he has trouble keeping his colt calm on race day. "I'm not sure where we'll go next," he said. "We'll see how he does from here."
Meriwether Jessica got the wake-up call from jockey Alan Garcia turning for home in Friday's $100,000 Yaddo Stakes for state-bred 3-year-old fillies and responded gamely, beating late-running You Go West Girl by a neck. Chestoria finished third. Meriwether Jessica, a Freud filly, ran the 9 furlongs on the firm inner turf in 1:46.98. Winning trainer Rick Violette said he "might get braver with her. She's gorgeous and truly a nice mare. We might pick an open spot. She deserves to win a graded race."
Bran Jammas got to the lead with a furlong left in Sunday's $100,000 Solana Beach Handicap for California-bred fillies and mares and hung on late to win by a neck over Ultra Blend. My Maloof Rocker showed the way early and salvaged third. Bran Jammas, a 5-year-old In Excess mare, got the 1 mile on firm turf in 1:35.08 with Alonso Quinonez riding.
Go Forth North and Warren's Jitterbug hit the wire together at the end of Friday's $75,000 Sandy Blue Handicap for 3-year-old fillies, both only a head in front of the favorite, Fortunia. Got Forth North, a Kentucky-bred daughter of North Light, and Warren's Jitterbug, a California-bred Affirmative filly, got the 1 mile on firm turf in 1:34.27.
Presque Isle Downs
Fugitive Angel was a fugitive from the rest of the field in the stretch run of Thursday's $75,000 Malvern Rose Stakes for 3-year-old fillies. After stalking the pace, the Pennsylvania-bred daughter of Alphabet Soup opened up and got away to a 7 1/4-lengths victory over Outlaw Dancer. You Need Me was third. Fugitive Angel, under Rosie Napravnik, ran 1 1/16 miles on the all-weather track in 1:46.65.
Ryan's Gift pressed the pace in Thursday's $75,000 Lil E. Tee Handicap for 3-year-olds, edged by the early leader into the stretch and won by 1 1/2 lengths over Runaway Brute. Quechee was third. Ryan's Gift, a Pennsylvania-bred Bernstein gelding, got the 1 1/16 miles in 1:46.79 for jockey Daniel Centeno.
No Hesitation didn't hesitate when asked to run going down the backstretch in Saturday's $300,000 (Canadian) Canadian Derby, dueling around the turn before drawing off in the stretch to win by 1 1/2 lengths. Kara's Orientation provided the competition and finished second, 11 3/4 lengths ahead of Distorted Dave. No Hesitation, a California-bred Siberian Summer colt, ran the 11 furlongs on a fast track in 2:23 2/5 with Rico Walcott aboard. Three horses went down on the turn for home but all horses and riders appeared to have avoided serious injury.
Alywyn outfinished Lemon Pepper in a battle of closers in the final yards of Saturday's $75,000 (Canadian) City of Edmonton, winning by a neck. Kaweah Princess, always close, was another neck back in third at the end. Alywyn, a 4-year-old, California-bred Benchmark filly, ran the 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:46 4/5 with Walcott up.
Notoriously dueled Audzeezee into submission in Sunday's $50,000 (Canadian) Sonoma Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, then drew off easily to win by 8 lengths. No one else was better than Audzeezee, who finished 3/4 length ahead of third-place finisher Shifty Time. Notoriously, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Cherokee Run, got the 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:46 3/5 with Tony Maragh in the irons.
Shadowbdancing led all the way to a 1/2-length win in Saturday's $150,000 Governor's Cup. Kick On chased all the way and finished second, 3 1/4 lengths ahead of the favorite, Going Ballistic. Shadowbdancing, a 5-year-old, Florida-bred son of Montbrook, ran the 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:43.78 with Eddie Razo Jr. up for trainer Terrel Gore. Shadowbdancing came into the race off a win in the Grade II Cornhusker Handicap at Prairie Meadows.
Jacally dueled to the lead in Saturday's $125,000 (Canadian) Eternal Search Stakes for Ontario-sired 3-year-old fillies, then held well to win by a neck over Dancing Raven. Venus Bay finished third. Jacally, a daughter of Bold Executive, ran the 1 1/16 miles on the all-weather track in 1:44.80 with Eurico Da Silva in the irons.
Calder Race Course
Sincero stalked the pace in Saturday's $55,000 The Vid Stakes, took the lead turning for home and edged clear, winning by 1 1/2 lengths. Grand Cash had the best late punch, getting up for second, a head better than Bim Bam. Sincero, a 4-year-old, Florida-bred Repent colt, ran the 1 1/16 miles on yielding turf in 1:43.95 with Daniel Coa up.
Hop Skip and Away, last of seven early, rallied around the leaders into the stretch in Sunday's $100,000 Colts Neck Stakes for New Jersey-breds and was up in time to win by 1 length over the odds-on favorite, Unwritten. Evenings End finished third. Hop Skip and Away, a 5-year-old Gold Fever gelding, finished the 6 furlongs on the muddy track in 1:10.59 under Pedro Cotto Jr.
Kimmyv pressed the pace in Sunday's $75,000 Emerald Distaff, surged to the lead in the stretch and battled on to win by 1 length over the late-running Summer Song. Christmas Ship finished third. Kimmyv, a 4-year-old, Kentucky-bred filly by El Corredor, got the 9 furlongs on fast track in 1:49 1/5 with Chad Hoverson riding.