08/15/2012 7:46PM

Arlington Park notes: Million Day siblings quite different

Four-Footed Fotos
Crackerjack King, to start in the Arlington Million, is out of the same dam as Jakkalberry, who should be favored in the American St. Leger.

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill - Out on the Arlington main track for the first time Wednesday stepped the pair of Marco Botti-trained horses here for two Million Day races, Crackerjack King, who runs in the Million, and Jakkalberry, who should be favored in the American St. Leger.

Crackerjack King, who is 4, is by Shamardal, and Jakkalberry, 6, by Storming Home, but both horses were produced by the mare Claba di San Jore, making them half-brothers.

That's something one would never guess from looking at the pair. Jakkalberry is a large, robust bay horse, while Crackerjack King is smaller and gray. Clearly, each horse was stamped by its sire line more so than the mare. And the lack of family resemblance extends beyond mere appearance.

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"They're totally different in personality, too," said Keith Williams, a head traveling lad for Botti who travelled to Arlington from England with the pair.

Crackerjack King gets very territorial in his stall, Williams said: Get too close to his front end and he's liable to bite you, and stand too near his hind end and you may be kicked. Around the barn, Jakkalberry is the cool customer, but out on the track, the older horse has a greater tendency toward nerves than his 4-year-old sibling.

Both horses remained relatively calm during their first morning out of the quarantine barn. Crackerjack King was fitted with blinkers that had a hood to cover his ears, but that equipment is for training only, and not racing, Williams said.

Crackerjack King, who was transferred to Botti from his brother, Stefano Botti, when he came to England from Italy earlier this summer, has won 7 of his 9 starts, including a defeat of top-class Danedream in the 2011 Italian Derby. His two losses have come in his only races outside Italy, but soft going, rather than tougher competition, might have been to blame.

Jakkalberry, meanwhile, raced against the likes of Sea Moon and Dunaden in his most recent start, the Hardwicke Stakes at Ascot, and will be taking a significant step down in class in the $400,000 American St. Leger.

Duchossois has new look, old spirit

Arlington chairman Richard Duchossois is sporting brown-framed glasses, a noticeable change from years of wearing wire frames. What hasn't been altered is his impeccable style nor his tireless work ethic, as he was on the Arlington apron early Wednesday helping take care of prerace details alongside general manager Tony Petrillo.

"This is always a great time of year for us," said Duchossois.

Duchossois, 90, provided one of the greatest moments in the history of the International Festival of Racing two years ago as a horse owner when he descended from the grandstand to raucous cheers and heartfelt tears after his Eclaire de Lune won the Beverly D., the race named for his late wife.

- additional reporting by Marty McGee