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Festival lives up to international flavor among top performances
By John Leusch | Daily Herald Staff

Jockey R.R. Douglas gives a pair of racing goggles to young fans on the rail after he won the Secretariat Stakes aboard Winchester at Arlington Park Saturday.


John Starks | Staff Photographer

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Published: 8/9/2008 11:52 PM

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While Ioritz Mendizabal rode back to the winner's circle after winning the Arlington Million, ESPN commentators were trying to congratulate the French rider with a wireless microphone.

"I'm having a problem understanding you because I do not speak English," said an elated Mendizabal while in the saddle of Spirit One.

An international flavor seemed to be a pretty good theme for Saturday's festival as five foreign invaders landed among the top-three finishers in the three Grade I stakes, seen by 31,463 at Arlington Park.

The international honor roll included the 1-2-3 finishers in the Arlington Million (Archipenko was second and Mount Nelson third), the 1-2 finishers in the Secretariat (Winchester and Plan) and the third-place horse in the Beverly D. (Toque de Queda).

Local talent: For those who suscribe to HRTV, they were treated to live updates of the International Festival of Racing throughout the 12-race telecast. Caton Bredar (Barrington High School) and Bartlett native Scott Hazelton provided interviews with trainers and jockeys during the day.

A touch of Irish: Winchester's 7¼-length triumph in the Secretariat was the second-widest margin in the race's 32-year history. Winchester's trainer, Dermot Weld, won his first Secretariat but has won last three American Derbys at Arlington Park.

Rene Douglas was aboard for the winning ride on Winchester. Arlington's top jockey also was also second in the Beverly D. with 12-1 longshot Communique and fourth in the Million with 17-1 outsider Silverfoot, winner of the the Stars and Stripes Handicap on July 4 for trainer Dallas Stewart.

Master of the Beverly D.: With Mauralakana's victory Saturday, Christophe Clement became the only trainer to win the Beverly D. three times.

Clement won last year with Royal Highness and in 2000 with England's Legend.

Royal Highness and Mauralakana both won the race as 5-year-olds.

Owner Bob Scarborough said Mauralakana is most likely headed to the Breeders' Cup.

His jockey, Kent Desormeaux, thanked Arlington chairman Richard Duchossois for naming the race after Duchossois' late wife Beverly.

Desormeaux said he dedicated the win Saturday to his wife, Sonia.

Beverly D. runner-up Communique rewarded her backers at odds of 12-1, and show horse Toque de Queda was 53-1, sparking a $1,452 trifecta.

Fastbreak: Bobby Hurley, former Duke All-American basketball player, is a co-owner of Stream Cat, who placed sixth in the Million at odds of 5-1.

Familiar face: Bugler Bonny Brown was back in town Saturday to help sound the horses to post for Saturday's Million. Brown had been the regular bugler at Arlington before moving to Texas with her husband, Dan Leary, the former marketing director at Arlington Park.