| Contact: Graham Ross
Friday, August 11, 2000
'MANNDAR THE MAGNIFICENT' AN ARLINGTON MILLION ARRIVAL
The early favorite for next week's Arlington Million - the Irish-bred but internationally campaigned Manndar - is on the grounds at Chicago's premier throughbred oval after an uneventful flight from Southern California.
Manndar, owned by Columbine Stable, J. Merrick Jones & Tom Nicholls, was an impressive winner in both of his last two starts, and both were Grade 1 events. The bay hitched a ride on a "red-eye" charter going on to other points Thursday morning. As the only equine passenger deplaning in Chicago, Manndar was the last one on the plane in California and the first one off.
"We went out and walked and jogged this morning," said Andy Durnin, an Irishman who is serving as trainer Beau Greely's assistant and accompanied Manndar on the flight. "We breezed a mile at Del Mar three days ago, so he really doesn't need to do much right now.
"Beau gets here on Sunday, so my guess is that we'll do something with the horse shortly after he gets here and that will be pretty much it in the way of any serious training," Durnin said. "We'll go get on the grass so he'll have a feel for it. That's what we did before his last two races - give him a breeze over the course. We think that it helps."
It certainly doesn't hurt. In his last trip to the post June 10 on Belmont Stakes Day, Manndar came from well back to capture the grassy mile and a quarter Manhattan Handicap by a length at the Long Island oval. The Grade 1 Arlington Million, centerpiece of the International Festival of Racing August 19, is also at the 10-furlong distance.
Manndar's previous trip to the post came on May 6, Kentucky Derby Day at Churchill Downs, and the four-year-old colt by Doyoun won the mile and an eighth Woodford Reserve Turf Classic that day by a length and a half after coming from just behind the early leaders.
"He's a dream, a kind horse to handle," said Durnin, who is a free-lance exercise rider, in addition to his current role as Manndar's traveling companion. "When we got here yesterday, he acted like he been here a thousand times before. He gave a little interested look around, and then settled right in."
Manndar spent most of his three-year-old season in Europe, winning at Newmarket and Bath during the first half of the year. Later in the season, he finished fourth in the Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes at Ascot, third in the Group 2 Prix Eugene Adam at Laffitte, and then third again in the Group 3 Prix du Prince d'Orange at Longchamp in September before coming to the United States. In his only two American starts as a sophomore, he was fourth in Santa Anita's Grade 2 Oak Tree Derby in October and then second in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby in November.
"But he'd just gotten off the plane before those starts," Durnin said. "He's become acclimatized this year, and has been getting a lot better with each start. He's really been improving lately."
A TANDEM TRIPLE THURSDAY - TRAINER KIRBY AND JOCKEY MACIAS
The first jockey-trainer tandem triple of the season was recorded Thursday at Arlington when trainer Frank Kirby and jockey Lupe Macias combined their talents to visit the winner's circle three times.
Their first score came with Tom Reagan's Mustabeen Moonglow in the second, followed by a win with Reagan's Ugotit in the sixth, and finalized by a tally with Jerrold J. Schwartz & Hondo Ranch, Inc.'s Yukan B a Lady Too in the ninth.
COUNTDOWN TO 1,000
Arlington jockey Eduardo Perez, closing in on the 1,000-win milestone, rode one winner Thursday. The new count: Eduardo Perez, 996 lifetime wins, Arlington Total: 25
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