08/18/2013 1:37PM

Arlington Million: de Kock agrees with disqualification of The Apache

Four Footed Fotos
Real Solution (outside) was elevated to first place in Saturday's Arlington Million after The Apache was disqualified for interference.

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. – Trainer Mike de Kock watched the Arlington Million from the office in his stables at Newmarket in England. As the race concluded, de Kock saw his runner, The Apache, cross the finish line first, holding clear a late challenge from Real Solution.

“It was only a side-on view, so it was difficult to see anything,” de Kock said. “Then there was the call to hold all tickets and the jockey’s objection. When we saw the head-on view, my heart sank.”

The Apache and jockey Christophe Soumillon, it became clear from the head-on replay, had drifted out several paths, pushing out and bumping Real Solution and taking away his momentum. A disqualification seemed inevitable to de Kock, and it came quickly.

“I thought it was clear we did unbalance the other horse,” de Kock said. “It’s not an easy thing to swallow, but you have to.”

Soumillon, who lost his riding crop in the last few yards of the race, said he thought The Apache had shied from the large video-projection board on the Arlington infield. The Apache, drifting right, also might have responded to left-handed encouragement from Soumillon.

“First time around the course, he was a little green,” said de Kock, who stayed in England to saddle Soft Falling Rain in the Hungerford Stakes at Newbury on Saturday.

De Kock, a South African with an operation reaching to Dubai and Europe, has had no luck at Arlington. Archipenko finished second in the 2008 Million after encountering trouble, and Iridescence was narrowly beaten in the 2007 Beverly D.

“We’ve had some frustrating experiences, but it’s not going to deter us,” de Kock said. “We’ll be back.”

The Apache, who appeared to have come out of the Million in good physical condition, will not be back in the United States again this year. De Kock said he plans to point the South African-bred to the Champion Stakes in October at Ascot, with a trip to Hong Kong in December also under consideration. The Apache will winter again in Dubai, where he finished second in the $5 million Duty Free this past spring.

The Apache and 10 other overseas shippers departed Arlington late Sunday morning for their return home. The France-based Visiyani, who was fifth in the Secretariat, was scheduled to leave Sunday night, while Duntle, a disappointing seventh in the Beverly D., leaves Tuesday to return to Ireland. First Cornerstone, who also shipped from Ireland and finished eighth in the Secretariat, is bound for the barn of trainer Rick Mettee at Fair Hill in Maryland.

Side Glance, the English horse who finished third with mild trouble in the Million, is being pointed for an Australian campaign this fall, trainer Andrew Balding said, with his main goal perhaps the Cox Plate over 1 1/4 miles.

Neither of the two Million favorites ran to form Saturday, particularly 5-2 favorite Indy Point, who never got untracked and finished a distant last of 13. Indy Point, trainer Richard Mandella said Sunday, stepped on the bulbs of his front hooves with his rear feet when put in tight quarters during the first quarter-mile of the race. Indy Point, an Argentine import with a sharp win in the Wickerr Stakes in his U.S. debut, never was comfortable thereafter, and jockey Gary Stevens wrapped up on the horse past the three-furlong pole. Mandella said Indy Point was moderately lame coming off the track but improved after returning to his stall and walked without pain Sunday.

“We’ll give him a week off and get back to work,” Mandella said.

Grandeur, the Million’s second choice, could finish only an even seventh while failing to show the flashy acceleration he’d displayed last fall in California. Grandeur, a gelding, become somewhat agitated and sweaty in the paddock and post parade and was reluctant to load into the starting gate.

Marketing Mix in good shape after loss

Trainer Tom Proctor said Sunday that beaten Beverly D. favorite Marketing Mix had come out of her race without incident. Marketing Mix pressed a solid early pace in the Beverly D. but had no finishing kick, barely holding on for fourth.

“She’s fine; everything’s good,” Proctor said. “Some days are better than others. She doesn’t owe us anything.”

Proctor said Marketing Mix would fly back to his California base Monday and will be pointed for the Grade 1 Rodeo Drive Stakes on Sept. 28 at Santa Anita.

Dank, trained by Michael Stoute and ridden to victory by Ryan Moore, could return to the United States this fall for the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf, though that is far from a certainty at this early date. Dank set a stakes record of 1:53.38 for 1 3/16 miles while beating fellow English shipper Gifted Girl by 4 1/4 lengths. Gifted Girl also will be considered for the Breeders’ Cup.

Moore scored a lucrative double Saturday, winning the $750,000 Beverly D. and the $400,000 American St. Leger on Dandino. Moore’s mount in the Million, Hunter’s Light, drifted left in midstretch, clipped heels, and nearly went down. He wound up finishing 10th.

Dandino remains on course for a trip to Australia this fall and likely will have one prep race in advance of the Melbourne Cup. His trainer, Marco Botti, has won both editions of the American St. Leger, having captured last year’s race with Jakkalberry.

Jack Milton eyes Jamaica Stakes

The top three finishers in the Secretariat Stakes – Admiral Kitten, Stormy Len, and Jack Milton – all came out of the race in good physical condition, their trainers said, but only Jack Milton has a specific goal in the near term, with his next start likely to come in the $500,000 Jamaica Stakes on Oct. 5.

Admiral Kitten, whose sire, Kitten’s Joy, also won the Secretariat, will be considered for turf races across the country, trainer Mike Maker said. Where he runs next will depend to a great extent on what owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey decide to do with their other turf-stakes runners late this summer and fall, Maker said.

Trainer David Donk said he was very pleased with the runner-up finish of Stormy Len, who had the lead for much of the stretch before being run down by Admiral Kitten.

“Down the road, he’s a horse that will run a mile and a half, I think,” Donk said. “He’ll have two or three more races this year and then get a freshening.”