Contact: Graham Ross
(847) 255-4300
Wednesday, August 16, 2000
Festival Draw Update


One irony resulted from the post position draw for this year's Arlington Million that was not lost on Hall of Fame trainer Ron McAnally. During the draw for the latest centerpiece event of the Chicago thoroughbred racing season, to be contested Saturday with a $2 million purse for the first time, Haras de la Pomme's Asidero, trained by McAnally, drew the favorable "one" post - an ideal spot along the inside rail.

When McAnally came to Arlington in 1981, with the preemptive inaugural Million favorite John Henry, the trainer was assigned post position "12" during the draw. The Dotsam Stable colorbearer left from the extreme outside.

Again in 1983, John Henry drew outside with post position "13". "We had to angle over (expending extra effort) from the outside, and the winner (Tolomeo, breaking from post position "five") was able to rate just off the pace (without effort.)"

John Henry finished second, beaten a neck by Tolomeo.

In 1984, John Henry became the only two-time winner in the history of the Arlington Million after breaking from post position "6". The legendary gelding won by a length and three-quarters after saving ground and being rated just off the early leaders.

From the inside, Asidero, a winner of his last seven races in a row and a colt with tactical speed, can be easily positioned to make or force the pace without much effort.

"He won't have to angle over," said McAnally of Asidero, following the draw.

In his only American start at Hollywood Park July 3, Asidero dueled for the early lead, took clear command in upper stretch and held sway late with a strong hand ride. It was his first trip to the post in almost seven months.

In his start before that on December 11, Asidero won the Group 1 Gran Premio Carlos Pellegrini at San Isidro after tracking the early leaders and prevailing by a head in a hard stretch drive. McAnally saddled Crystal House, who finished third beaten a neck and a head by Asidero in that South American effort. Shortly thereafter, Asidero also came under the Hall Of Famer's shedrow.


Trainer Paco Gonzalez, who will saddle Grade 2 Sunset Handicap winner Bienamado in the Arlington Million, discounted the importance of post position in the seven-horse field.

"The horse has tactical speed," Gonzalez said. "Slickly and Asidero should be out front, but we'll be close up after them.

"He'll gallop over the turf again Thursday and Friday, and even possibly on Saturday," Gonzalez said of Bienamado. "He worked over the main track at Hollywood last Saturday and galloped on the turf this morning. The flight was perfect, and he handled everything very well."


Arlington guests are reminded of the late 3:05 post for tomorrow's races during International Festival of Racing Week Thursday.

Admission for all women will be only $2 on Thursday. Also tomorrow, women wearing a hat will receive a free "bounce-back" admission coupon redeemable any day in September.


An Arlington Million Show, hosted by Jack Whitaker, will air at 7 a.m. Thursday. The show will be repeated Friday at 9:30 a.m. and again at 3 p.m. that day.

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Beverly D. Arlington Million Secretariat




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