08/12/2004 12:00AM

Deep Euro contingent has chance to sweep


The morning linemaker at Arlington Park apparently has difficulty interpreting European form, as he has affixed overly generous odds to many of the European invaders in Saturday's three International Festival of Racing stakes. If racegoers follow his example, the deep Euro group, with good chances in all three races, could put some surprising numbers on the tote board.

Arlington Million

Epalo fits the mold of his fellow German-invader and 2001 Million winner Silvano to a tee. Conditioned by Germany's leading trainer, Andreas Schutz, he has been pointing to the Million all year. His five-length victory in the 1 1/4-mile Group 1 Singapore Airlines International Cup compares favorably with Silvano's 5 1/2-length score in the same race in his Million year. Epalo will have Germany's top rider, Andrasch Starke, in the saddle. Do not discount Epalo's nose loss in a listed race at Cologne last time. That came after an 11-week absence to a horse, Foreign Affairs, who is a Group 2 type at his best. Epalo goes on any kind of ground but Starke must be sure to have something left in his front-runner's tank for the stretch run after racing on or near a faster pace than he is accustomed.

Powerscourt looms a tracking threat to run Epalo down late in a race that could have three or four vying for the lead. The Aidan O'Brien trainee took a subpar running of the 1 5/16-mile Group 1 Tattersalls Gold Cup in his seasonal debut off an eight-month layoff, but is best judged by his sharp second to Rakti in Royal Ascot's Group 1 Prince of Wales's Stakes over the Million distance. Do not discredit his narrow loss last time in the Bayerisches Zuchtrennen, a race Timarida won prior to her Beverly D. heroics in 1996. Powerscourt was giving the improving 3-year-old Intendant 11 pounds that day and will be sharper following that effort.

Vespone is the day's biggest question mark. If he can finally live up to the vast potential he showed when winning the Prix Jean Prat and the Grand Prix de Paris last year prior to being purchased by Godolphin, he will give Sheikh Mohammed, Saeed bin Suroor and Co. their second successive Million crown after Sulamani was placed first by the stewards last year. But a repeat of any of the six races in which he has worn Godolphin blue may not be good enough. In his favor he will have Frankie Dettori riding. However, a speed duel with Epalo, Mobil, or the ex-German-trained Sabiango, whose races in Germany were on a par with those of Epalo, could scuttle his chances.

Magistretti appeared to be on the same improving plane as Vespone last summer. Just 1 1/2 lengths behind that one in the Grand Prix de Paris, he was next second to Falbrav in the Juddmonte International. This year, however, he appears to have hit a wall. Experiments at 1 1/2 miles proved a failure and he was dull last time, finishing nearly eight lengths behind Vespone. This will be his last race for British trainer Neville Callaghan.

Selections: 1-Epalo; 2-Powerscourt; 3-Vespone

Beverly D.

Aubonne has made strides since being switched from Germany to the yard of Frenchman Eric Libaud, trainer of Group 1 winners Ange Gabriel and Terre a Terre. She was unlucky not to win the Group 3 Prix Allez France two back, then stepped up to beat males in the 1 1/4-mile Group 3 La Coupe at Longchamp. Unlike the ex-French fillies Musical Chimes, who likes eight to nine furlongs, and Commercante, who likes at least 1 1/4 miles, Aubonne should be perfectly suited by the 1 3/16 miles of this race.

Crimson Palace looked like Godolphin's lastest budding star when finishing a close fourth to colts in a hotly contested Dubai Duty Free. Her dull effort in a Group 2 mile at Royal Ascot against her own sex is hard to figure. A Group 1 winner in her native South Africa at 1 1/8 miles, she must be strongly considered if you can ignore her last, which at a mile may have been too short for her.

A Group 1 winner at 2, Necklace is a classic example of a filly who has failed to train on at 3. As an Aidan O'Brien trainee she offers no value.

Selections: 1-Crimson Palace; 2-Aubonne; 3-Musical Chimes


Those who think a lot of American Derby winner Simple Exchange should take a long look at Moscow Ballet. Trained by Aidan O'Brien, Moscow Ballet beat Simple Exchange by three lengths when winning the listed Hampton Court Stakes at Royal Ascot. Out of 1991 Beverly D. winner Fire the Groom, Moscow Ballet has been chasing tigers like North Light, Bago, and Grey Swallow this season. The Secretariat is a drop back to the class in which he won at Ascot.

Simple Exchange was Dermot Weld's third American Derby winner in the last five years. Neither Pine Dance nor Evolving Tactics could pull off the Derby-Secretariat double, while Weld's Jazz Beat was second in both races in 2002. A lightly raced, improving son of Danehill, Simple Exchange may have the right stuff for Weld this time around.

Hazyview, by the good young sire Cape Cross, has improved greatly this year. When judged against mutual rival Crocodile Dundee, he is 2 3/4 lengths ahead of Moscow Ballet. He is perfectly spotted and gets the services of Dettori.

Selections: 1-Hazyview; 2-Simple Exchange; 3-Kitten's Joy