Over the weekend, trainer Ignacio Correas, IV sent out Kasaqui (ARG) and Dona Bruja (ARG) for their final works on the dirt at Keeneland prior to their starts on Aug. 12 at Arlington International Racecourse. The Argentine duo will make their next starts at the Arlington International Festival of Racing in Breeders' Cup “Win and You're In” events.
Pre-entered in the Grade I Beverly D., Dom Felipe's Grade III Modesty Handicap winner Dona Bruja earned her fourth consecutive bullet work on the morning of Aug. 6 when the 5-year-old daughter of Storm Embrujado (ARG) drilled four furlongs in 48.40 seconds.
“She does it on her own,” said Correas. “We never let her use any of her speed in the morning; if you asked the rider they would think she went a second slower even, because she just gallops so easily.”
A Group I winner in Argentina, she finished first or second in all of her 10 starts in South America before coming north. Undefeated in her two North American starts, she draws an imposing figure on paper that has been backed up with her strong runs over the turf.
“She has the tactical speed and a big turn of foot,” said Correas. “We just have to hope for a good trip. She was a Group I winner in South America, now we will see if she can do it here.”
Wimborne Farms' 2016 Grade I Arlington Million runner-up will try to go one better this year, as Kasaqui will aim to become the first Argentine-bred horse to win the Million. After earning his first graded-stakes victory last year in the Grade III Arlington Handicap, the 7-year-old son of Lasting Approval finished second by a neck to Mondialiste in the Chicagoland oval's premiere race.
Coming off a win in the Grade II Wise Dan Stakes at Churchill Downs on June 17, Kasaqui was able to grab third in the 2017 Arlington Handicap and secure his entry to the Million. In his final tune-up, Kasaqui covered five furlongs the morning of Aug. 5 in 1:01.00.
“He is where we want him to be,” said Correas. “He's in very good shape, he's feeling good. We didn't have the best luck in the Arlington Handicap, but we didn't want to do too much either. He always shows up – he'll run his race, and hopefully it's enough to win.”
The first two sets of European runners for the 2017 Arlington International Festival of Racing on Aug. 12 arrived yesterday afternoon at Arlington International Racecourse and entered quarantine for the required 36-48 hour period before they join the general population, likely Monday afternoon. Arriving on the first plane was Godolphin's Charlie Appleby trainee Scottish (IRE) and Touch Gold Racing's Marco Botti-trained Fanciful Angel (IRE), both pre-entered for the Grade I Arlington Million.
Also coming off the same flight was Grade I Beverly D. contender Sarandia (GER), owned by Gestuet Faehrhof and trained by Peter Schiergen. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed al Maktoum's Grade I Secretariat probable Permian (IRE) made the trip as well for trainer Mark Johnston to complete the first quartet.
Later in the evening, French trainer Jean-Claude Roguet's duo arrived for Al Shaqab Racing. Afandem (FR) will be contesting the Secretariat, while Mekhtaal (GB) is pre-entered for the Million.
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