Ponies on Parade

 Contact: Graham Ross
(847) 255-4300
Wednesday, August 02, 2000
59th Day


The Grade 1 Arlington Million, centerpiece of the season at Arlington International Racecourse, will be contested for a $2 million purse for the first time this summer when the field goes postward later this month.

That means that the winner's share of Arlington Million XVIII, to be run at a mile and a quarter over Arlington International's world famous turf course August 19, will be $1,200,000.

"When you own a horse, the thing you most want him to do is win lot's of 'mula'," said owner Steve Gula, when asked how he named Mula Gula. He bought the horse for $6,000 as a weanling at Keeneland in 1996. "The word 'mula' rhymes with 'Gula', and my young son thought that would be an excellent name for our first horse."

Apparently, $1,200,000 is enough incentive for Gula to bring Mula Gula back to Chicago's premier oval. Mula Gula finished second, beaten a length by Stonehedge Farm's Blazing Sword in the Grade 2 $250,000 Washington Park Handicap here July 22.

"I said all along that if Mula Gula ran well in the Washington Park, we'd bring him back for the Arlington Million," said Gula, over the phone from his Seattle home. "We feel he didn't run that badly. I was pleased with our horse's effort. The winner got through along the rail and we didn't.

"Also, the Washington Park was a dirt race, and the Million is on the grass," Gula said. "Historically, our horse has run his best races on turf. "I talked to your Racing Secretary, Dave Bailey, the other day," said Gula, "and he said that Manndar would be the likely Arlington Million favorite because of his wins in Belmont's Manhattan Handicap and Churchill's Woodford Reserve Turf Classic in his last two starts.

"That would be all right with us," Gula continued. "We've already beaten Manndar once last October in the Oak Tree Derby at Santa Anita. That's a signal for me to want to be in the Arlington Million.

"I would say we're definitely leaning toward bringing Mula Gula back to run in the Million," Gula concluded, "and I'm going to make a prediction right now that this year's Arlington Million will be won by a longshot." Gula was asked if the initials of that longshot would be M. G.

"Yes," he said. "It would be awesome to come back to Chicago and win a race with the prestige and the history of the Arlington Million."


The pony "Arlington" - one of 27 pony figures currently being displayed throughout Arlington Heights as part of the village's "Ponies on Parade" - will be auctioned off August 18 in downtown Arlington Heights. The auction will be part of the Central Business District "Block Party" which begins at 6 p.m. The "Block Party" will be held in conjunction with the "Pony Auction" and other activities.

Arlington International Racecourse will be sponsoring SINE - The Band who will provide the musical entertainment.

Food will be provided by Chin's Restaurant and Home Run Inn Pizza, and The Lions Club of Arlington Heights will provide soft drinks and beer for refreshments at this event with the proceeds donated to the Lions Club Human Services Fund.


Arlington jockey Eduardo Perez is closing in on the 1,000-win milestone. The count through Sunday: Eduardo Perez - 995 lifetime wins, Arlington Total: 24

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