|Arlington Park Barn Notes
Contact: Graham Ross
(847) 385-7500 ext. 7319
In today's notes:
Trainer Burk Kessinger took a chance when he bought Arlington Handicap candidate Make No Mistake shortly after his last start May 19, but the conditioner may have done the right thing.
Make No Mistake, intriguingly named considering the recent sale, will fly in the colors of Bruce Barton & Alvin Haynes for the first time in Saturday's Grade III Arlington Handicap. If he runs well, the 6-year-old entire son of Darshaan, an Irish-bred, could use that performance as a final prep for the Grade I Arlington Million August 18.
"I bought the horse right after his last race," said trainer Burk Kessinger. "My owners and I decided to take a chance on a 6-year-old. I watched his last race on television, and I was impressed with his performance, and shortly afterward, I got the word that he was for sale."
Make No Mistake's last race was at Pimlico on Preakness Day in the Grade II Dixie Handicap, where he finished a good second to Allen E. Paulson Living Trust's Hap. That rival, trained by Hall of Fame conditioner Bill Mott, has since gone on to greater glory with a seven-length score in the Grade III New Hampshire Sweepstakes at Rockingham Park.
"Christophe (Clement, former trainer) is a friend of mine, and he told me this was a better horse than he showed last year," said Kessinger, when speaking of Make No Mistake. "He told me that they had to take a chip out of his leg, and that he had a good chance to improve. The people that owned him (Moyglare Stud), they sell everything, so we went ahead and bought him.
"If he does well here, we'll take a look at the Arlington Million," Kessinger concluded, "but we've got to get him over this hump first. He was supposed to work Wednesday on the grass, but with all that rain, he didn't get to go out. That won't be a problem, however. He's a 6-year-old, and he's fit. He'll be fine."
Trainer Beau Greely, who suffered from a terrible trip with runner-up Manndar in the Arlington Million last summer, was once again a victim of circumstance last week when Sligo Bay couldn't handle the soggy going in the American Derby.
However, on Saturday's Million Preview Day, Greely will try twice again with Columbine Stable, C. B. Greely, & Tom Nicholls' Takarian in the $250,000 Arlington Handicap and John Stewart's Jig in the $150,000 Modesty Handicap.
That pair of Grade III races will serve as the final local preps for the Grade I Arlington Million and the Grade I Beverly D. three weeks later. Along with the Grade I Secretariat and other lesser stakes, the showcased trio will make up Arlington Park's one-day International Festival of Racing August 18.
Takarian, who will share the top impost of 116 pounds with Make No Mistake in Saturday's Arlington Handicap, is coming off an impressive winning effort in the Grade II American Handicap at Hollywood Park on July 4.
"That last race was the best race he's ever run," said Greely of Takarian's most recent start. "Since he was a 3-year-old, the only place he has not run well is Del Mar. For some reason he's never done any good there."
Jig, an Irish-bred mare, most recently visited the winner's circle in Hollywood's $75,000 La Zanzara Handicap May 11.
"She got away with an early lead that day," said Greely of Jig, 'but she's a nice honest filly who has won five races at five different racetracks."
Greely, who returned to California on Monday, the morning after Sligo Bay's race in the American Derby, will be back in Chicago at Arlington Park Friday to prepare Takarian and Jig for Saturday's Million Preview Day.
Somewhere among 1.23 million vouchers mailed out in the United States recently is one worth $1 million, and it could be among the 100,000 mailed out within the state of Illinois.
The NTRA Mystery Mutuel Voucher promotion, to be conducted this Saturday, offers some Thoroughbred racing fan somewhere in the nation a chance to become a millionaire, but requires that the fan pass their voucher through a mutuel machine Saturday at one of the designated outlets.
In Illinois, those designated outlets would be Arlington Park or one of the five Arlington OTB locations, but the 100,000 fans who received them within Illinois' borders are all eligible for lesser prizes, because each voucher is worth at least $5.
However, one of the 100,000 vouchers mailed within Illinois is guaranteed to be worth $10,000, and an additional 19 Illinois vouchers are guaranteed to be worth $1,000.
The second leg of the 2001 Emirates World Series Racing Championships this Saturday will mark the beginning of expanded television coverage for international thoroughbred racing in the United States on the ESPN Sports Networks.
However, when the horses go to the post for the Group I King George and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes Saturday morning at 9:50 a.m. Central time, the race will also be simulcast to Arlington Park, with free past performances available at all program stands and guest information booths.
The mile and a half turf test from Great Britain's Ascot Racecourse precedes Arlington Park's Million Preview Day program, which begins with a special early post time of 12 Noon locally on Saturday.
The Grade I Arlington Million, three weeks after the King George, is the third leg of the Emirates World Series Racing Championship.
The King George and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes, sponsored by De Beers, will mark the first time that an Emirates World Series race from overseas will be seen "live" on national television in the United States. The British race will be seen in a special 10-minute cut-in of the race from Ascot on the ESPN News network.
Rene Douglas became leading rider at Arlington Wednesday when he piloted Stan Wilson's Toll Booth Willie to a length and a quarter score in the seventh race of the day.
Jockey Shane Laviolette had a riding double Wednesday, winning the third on Richard Robertson's Sheriff Reprice and the finale aboard Lazy Lane Farms, Inc.'s Vive Le Roi.
Jockey Eddie Razo Jr. also posted a riding double, winning the opener aboard Richard Termunde, Jack Hauzen & David Wcisio's Delightazuma, and the eighth astride Shania's Code, owned by B.J.K. Thoroughbreds.
On July 27, 1935, A. G. Vanderbilt's Discovery won the Arlington Handicap by five lengths as the odds-on choice while shouldering the top impost of 135 pounds. Discovery would go on to be voted Champion Older Horse in 1936.
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