|Arlington Park Barn Notes
Contact: Graham Ross
(847) 385-7500 ext. 7319
In today's notes:
Will trainer Niall O'Callaghan offer a "Guided Tour" for the mile and a quarter of Arlington Park's Grade II Washington Park Handicap July 21?
"I don't have to make a decision on that until a few days out from the race," said the Irish-born conditioner about Morton Fink's Guided Tour, "so I really don't know what I'm going to do right now." O'Callaghan was speaking over the phone from Churchill Downs while accepting belated congratulations on Guided Tour's victory in Churchill's Grade II Stephen Foster Handicap June 16.
In the Stephen Foster, Guided Tour defeated Grade I Dubai World Cup winner Captain Steve, outgunning that Mike Pegram colorbearer by a half-length in a courageous stretch run.
"I'll wait and see how they weights come up for the Washington Park (due out July 15) and for the (Grade I) Whitney at Saratoga on July 28 before I decide," O'Callaghan said. "I really don't have to make a decision until about two or three days before your race, and that's still nine or 10 days before the Whitney."
O'Callaghan had a similar decision to make prior to the Stephen Foster, opting correctly for the graded stakes worth $750,000 at Churchill over a $200,000 ungraded stakes at Pimlico. During the winter, O'Callaghan had to make a decision between Santa Anita's Grade II San Antonio Handicap and Gulfstream's Grade I Donn Handicap. He opted for the West Coast, winning the test at the Arcadia oval by a length and a half.
"You can't guess right every time," said O'Callaghan of his upcoming dilemma, "but I can wait awhile until I have a sense of who is going where, as well as what the weights are, before I decide."
Veteran reinsman Rene Douglas, riding full-time at Arlington Park for the first time this summer, scored a riding triple Sunday at the local oval, including a winning ride aboard Gary A. Tanaka's Falcon Flight in the Grade III Stars and Stripes Breeders' Cup Turf.
Earlier in the afternoon, Douglas had posed in the winner's circle following the fourth race astride Frank Mancari & Mark Triffler's Mt. St. Michel, and returned there after the ninth race of the day aboard Millsap Stables, Inc.'s Crowns Runner.
Douglas's local "hat trick" was well received at the TVG network by their hosts, who had a pre-races conversation with Douglas during which he advised Arlington fans that he liked all the horses he was slated to ride Sunday.
"It was a last minute decision to come here this season," Douglas said Wednesday morning as he sat astride Lady of Peace following a five-furlong turf work recorded in 1:05 2/5. "My family and my home are in South Florida, so I had to explain it to them, and to people like Mr. (trainer Eddie) Plesa, who I ride for on a regular basis down there.
"But Arlington is one of the best places in the United States to ride," Douglas said, "and riding at this meeting will give me a chance to get the kind of horse that might go on to the Breeders' Cup and take me to the next level. I couldn't turn down the opportunity I was given to come here."
Douglas, 34, a native of Panama, rode Caltech to victory in the 1989 Washington D.C. International and tallied with Editor's Note in the 1995 Belmont Stakes. Douglas, with riding engagements being handled by Dennis Cooper since his arrival at Arlington, is second in the local standings with 12 winners through Sunday, when the native of Panama became the third rider to post a triple at the meeting.
George Todaro, Howard Litt & Jerry Hollendorfer's Globalize, hero of the Grade II Turfway Park Spiral Stakes last year, is expected to be the starting highweight at 118 pounds in Saturday's Grade III Hanshin Cup at Arlington.
The 49th running of the Hanshin, which was known as the Equipoise Mile throughout most of its history, offers a purse of $100,000 and is once again contested at eight furlongs.
In his most recent trip to the post, Globalize finished fourth, beaten two and a quarter lengths, in the $42,000 Barry Shipp Handicap here on opening day, June 13.
Next in racing secretary David Bailey's list of weights at 115 pounds among the probable starters for the Hanshin is Lazy Lane Farms, Inc.'s Bright Valour. The son of Wild Again tallied by a length and a half in his last start in allowance company at Churchill Downs June 8 and breezed a half mile in :49 4/5 Tuesday at Arlington.
James W. Orr Jr.'s A'fire, who worked Wednesday morning at Arlington in :51 3/5, after being idle since a winning allowance effort at Hawthorne May 22, is assigned 114 pounds and is also expected to go postward in the Hanshin, as is Mike Langford's Fan the Flame, who also has that impost. Fan the Flame was second in the Grade III Lone Star Park Handicap at last asking May 28 at the Grand Prairie, Texas oval.
Cherrywood Racing Stables, Inc.'s Rocky Robyn, although also entered Friday here, is an expected Hanshin starter, also with a 114-pound assignment. Rocky Robyn was second in allowance company at Hawthorne May 28 after winning the Bosselman Gus Fonner Handicap in Nebraska before that.
Richard L. Duchossois' Apt to Be, a winner in allowance company at Arlington Park June 17; and Irv Weimer & John McLane's Kombat Kid, sixth in the Precisionist Handicap at Prairie Meadows May 26; are both expected to contest the Hanshin, and both are asked to carry 113 pounds.
Possible starters for the Hanshin at this time include: Henry Pabst's Nite Dreamer, 114, fifth in allowance company at Churchill June 24; Bob Austin & Ron L. Brandenburg's Tic N Tin, 114, hero of the $75,000 White Oak Handicap here June 23; Alan Drey's Miners Gamble, 113, ninth in Gulfstream's $60,000 Eillo Stakes last outing on February 18; and Richard F. Rudolph's Castlewood, 112, fifth in allowance company at Hawthorne May 22.
Although newcomer horseman Jerry Hollendorfer had the lead in the trainer standings through Sunday with eight winners, eight of the 10 conditioners listed in the top 10 of the trainer standings are local horsemen.
Everyone leaving Arlington following the seventh race and through the end of the fireworks Wednesday will receive a free admission "bounce back" coupon valid Thursday, Friday or Saturday this week.
During Saturday's "Jockeys Across America Day" at Arlington, the first 5,000 fans entering Arlington will receive this year's official Arlington Jockey Colony poster.
Also on Saturday, the local jockeys will hold their annual footrace breaking from the starting gate, and have their "dunk tank" outside the jockey's quarters, where for a donation fans can attempt to dunk their favorite jockeys.
At Noon in the Paddock, and throughout the afternoon in the Park area, jockeys will be available for autographs.
Friday's band during "Miller Lite Party In The Park" will be "A Brother John Band", playing a variety of blues and rock beginning at 3 p.m. The Party continues with "Party on the Patio" at Trackside Arlington Park. The outdoor Patio opens at 6 p.m. with music by "New Invaders" starting at 7 p.m.
On July 5, 1946, trainer William Hal Bishop recorded his first Arlington victory. Bishop would go on to win eight training titles and 465 races at Arlington.
On July 5, 1948, in his second and final Arlington appearance, Calumet Farm's Citation, fresh off his sweep of the Triple Crown, beat older horses in the mile and an eighth Stars and Stripes Handicap.
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