Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Arlington Barn Notes: Wed., Sept.24, 2014

                                Contact: Michael Adolphson
(847) 385-7558
Barn Notes:  Wednesday, September 24, 2014     
In Toda y’s Notes: 
  • Euro Charline Fully Americanized, Ready for QE-II
  • Promising Nun the Less Has No Bad Habits, Keeneland-bound
Perhaps the most electrifying acceleration of the entire International Festival of Racing card on Aug. 16 at Arlington International Racecourse was that of Grade I Beverly D. winner Euro Charline.  A sophomore successfully taking on her elders – something especially unheard of in the Beverly D. because of the fixture’s ability to attract Breeders’ Cup-level contestants months prior to the ultimate event – Euro Charline inhaled her seniors and easily held their most heralded representative, Stephanie’s Kitten, at bay under world champion jockey Ryan Moore. 
The $750,000 summertime classic was her final race under the care of Newmarket, England-based Italian conditioner Marco Botti, as afterward owner Team Valor International transferred the British-bred daughter of French highweight 2-year-old Myboycharlie to multiple American champion trainer Todd Pletcher.  Such was the plan all along for the attractive bay, it just was not expected to occur after such a high profile race. 
Placed in an unlucky run in which she may have won with a cleaner trip in the Group I Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot, Euro Charline originally had been pointed toward a lesser event at Saratoga.  With arrangements not panning out optimally, the filly training up a proverbial storm in Newmarket and a convincing win at Ascot in a prep, Botti convinced Team Valor principal Marco Botti to take on a series of X-factors in the Beverly D.: an increase in distance and class and a trans-Atlantic ship for the already highly strung charge. 
The rest, as they say, is history.  Euro Charline not only hurdled the barriers with finesse, but did so in way that would excite anyone who catches a glimpse of a young, developing athlete just starting to exhibit their potential.  Now, the plan is to take the show on the road to the Grade I Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland on Oct. 11 without the dreaded ‘Euro-bounce’ phenomena which often accounts for the poor showings of ex-Europeans adjusting to American training in their second Stateside appearances. 
“The first two or three weeks, she had a little trouble adjusting to the track at Saratoga,” reported Irwin.  “She had some issues with joints and a little fluid, but she has come around really well since then.  She had a small easy breeze (on Sept. 14 at Belmont Park) and then (on Monday) went five-eighths (in 1:02 flat) and did her last quarter in :22 4/5 on yielding ground – which is unbelievable.  Todd called it ‘a seriously good work’ – which is a lot coming from him.  She’ll have two more works before the race.”
Irwin also spoke of the personal touch – despite his massive national-leading stable – Pletcher has been able to give the highly spirited and sometimes mercurial filly.  “Pletcher has worked with her and straightened her out,” he said.  “She gave them some trouble, but Todd is a good horseman and learned from the best and got her together.”
Euro Charline will also get a new rider at Keeneland in Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez, who traditionally rides first-call for Pletcher and rode Team Valor’s Animal Kingdom to victory in the 2011 Kentucky Derby.  “We originally did try to get Ryan (Moore), but we knew it would be tough to get him anytime.  He’s in such high demand and so busy internationally,” Irwin said.  “I think anyone can ride her, though.  You just have to relax her and place her properly and let her go.”
A filly with a mere seven starts, four wins and a profusion of star power, Euro Charline has Irwin thinking big with his race goals – but not exactly where you would expect.  Already earning an automatic berth to the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf with her Arlington victory, it is unlikely that she will take part in the event this year – especially with the event just three weeks after the Queen Elizabeth. 
“I tell you – I think so much of her.  She’s really special,” he said with a tangible sense of pride.  “If she wins the race, I might just back off and try to go over and run her in the (Group I $5,000,000) Dubai Duty Free (on March 28, 2015 at Meydan).  I know a lot have tried and failed to win that race; it’s hard to do, but I think the world of her ability.”
        Lothenbach Stable’s highly exciting 2-year-old maiden winner Nun the Less is headed to Keeneland, according to trainer Chris Block.  The Claiborne Farm-bred son of Candy Ride is exiting one of the most impressive juvenile races of the year, in which he dismantled a field of fellow juveniles by six lengths over seven furlongs and earned an 88 Equibase Speed Figure on Aug. 29.  The win came three weeks after finishing second on debut to Bourbon Cowboy, who subsequently finished a good fourth – beaten only two lengths – in the Grade III Arlington-Washington Futurity.
        “He’s doing really well,” said Block.  “He’s going to run at Keeneland on the turf an ‘a-other-than’ over a mile and I think he’ll like that really nicely.  He’s very laid back to be honest he’s really surprised me with his ability.  He’s very calm and there’s not a lot to read on him.  He just goes about his business and takes care of himself. 
“I had no idea that he was going to run as forwardly as he did, but I’ve seen a lot of effort out of him and he has a quite a bit of talent in his pedigree.  He should love the grass.  His mother (Waya Stakes winner Nunnery) was a stakes winner on the grass.  Hopefully he takes another step forward.”
David ZennerSenior Manager of Communications
Arlington International Racecourse
2200 W. Euclid Ave. Arlington Heights IL 60006-0007
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