|Arlington Park Barn Notes
Contact: Graham Ross
(847) 385-7500 ext. 7319
In today's notes:
K. K. & Vilasini Jayaraman's Royal Spy, who went to the post as the 12 to 10 choice in Sunday's Grade II American Handicap but finished third over the soft going, has remained on the Arlington Park grounds to prepare for the Grade I Secretariat August 18.
"It looked like how they broke was how they finished," said trainer Cole Norman over the phone from his headquarters at Louisiana Downs, where he has been leading trainer the last three years. "Going into Sunday's race, we thought we might have the edge because Royal Spy ran so good over soft ground at Lone Star, but when we asked him Sunday, he just couldn't make up any ground.
"We've been stalking instead of being on the lead in his last few races," said Norman, "but maybe we should have gone right after the leader from the beginning. He seemed to be getting a hold of the track fine when we took him back, but when we asked him for his run he couldn't handle it. His feet seemed to keep sliding out from under him. But Royal Spy came back fine. We left him there with my assistant Tom Howard and we'll try 'em again in the Secretariat."
The Secretariat is the final leg of the Arlington's Mid-America Triple, and will be one of three Grade I races, along with the Arlington Million and the Beverly D., presented during the International Festival of Racing on Arlington Million Day.
Although last Sunday's American Derby was the final local prep for the Secretariat, the corresponding prep races for the Arlington Million and the Beverly D. are offered this Saturday as part of Million Preview Day.
Saturday's Grade III Arlington Handicap is run at the Arlington Million distance of a mile and a quarter over Arlington's world famous grass course, while Saturday's Grade III Modesty Handicap is contested at the mile and three-sixteenths distance of the Beverly D. over the same lawn.
Also remaining at Arlington Park in preparation for the Secretariat Stakes is Columbine Stable's Sligo Bay, who shipped from Southern California in the days prior to the American Derby last week.
"Sligo Bay didn't handle the ground at all," trainer Beau Greely said the morning after the American Derby, shortly before catching his own return flight to Southern California. "We didn't want to scratch him because he really needed the race to be ready for the Secretariat.
"We're going to keep him (Sligo Bay) here. He came out of the race super, and we'll shoot for the Secretariat, but if it rains that day like it did the other day, we'll scratch him and run him where it's dry. We'll take him back to California and run him at Del Mar. It never rains in California.
"Not to take anything away from the winner (Fan Club's Mister)," Greely added. "He ran a super race, and we all had to run over the same track, but Laffit (Pincay, Sligo Bay's jockey) said the ground was just too heavy to make up any ground, especially when you let the leader get away with 18 and change for three-quarters."
Greely is due back in Chicago Friday to saddle Columbine Stable, C. B. Greely & Tom Nichols' Takarian in Saturday's Arlington Handicap and Jeff Amling & John Stuart's Jig in the Modesty Handicap later that afternoon.
American Derby winner Fan Club's Mister, owned by Patricia Miessler & Cliff Raber and trained by female Chicago conditioner Rickey Harris, also remains on the grounds to prepare for the $400,000 Secretariat.
The trainer, however, is also presently on the West Coast, enjoying a brief vacation while visiting her daughter in Band, Oregon. Harris will journey to Santa Barbara, California on Saturday to visit her mother before returning to Chicago on Tuesday.
"I figured I might as well sneak away while the horse was just walking," said Harris over the phone from the Beaver State on Friday. "Yes, we are looking at the Secretariat. That's kind of what we're pointing for. Fan Club's Mister is doing well. Actually, he galloped this morning and was in a very good mood. My rider said he tried to dump him."
Trainer Vickie Foley, who saddled James English's Gal On the Go to finish second, beaten a head in the $64,000 Winning Colors Stakes last weekend, has announced plans to bring that daughter of Irgun back to Arlington Park for the Grade III Singapore Plate August 11.
That mile and an eighth stakes, restricted to 3-year-old fillies, was formerly known as the Arlington Oaks and is the highlight of the local season for sophomore distaffers.
Gal On the Go returned to her Churchill Downs homebase with Foley, who is the daughter of trainer Dravo Foley and sister of Greg Foley, another conditioner based primarily on the Kentucky circuit.
"She broke to the inside and got off slow," said Vickie Foley of Gal On the Go's most recent effort. "She was much further back than normal and raced wide. But we're planning on coming back for the Singapore Plate. We'll ship in a couple of days before the race."
Gal On the Go's only poor performance came in the Grade I Ashland at Keeneland when she finished a well-beaten 10th.
"She never got a chance to run that day," said Foley of that Lexington outing April 7. "She got bumped at the start and was never in contention. I dismiss that race entirely. She's a better horse than she showed that day."
Jockey Rene Douglas, now the leading rider at the current session who went over the $1 million mark in purse earnings Wednesday, had a riding double on Thursday's card, winning the third with Gary Tussey & Tom Dorris' Cajun Crane and the sixth aboard James Ryan & Miles Childers' Double Affair.
Jockey Frank Lovato Jr. posted a consecutive riding double on Thursday, winning the fourth race aboard J. B. Stables, Inc.'s Crack the Vault, and coming right back to the winner's circle in the fifth astride Michele Rodriguez' Super Striker.
Jockey Larry Sterling and trainer Michael Reavis combined for a jockey/trainer double, each registering their first multiple-win days at the current session. Reavis saddled Special Dash, owned by Frank Mancari & Mark Triffler, to win the second event of the day with Sterling aboard, and the pair came back in the Thursday finale to pose for a photo on Richard Englander's Oval.
On July 28, 1951, exactly 50 years ago Saturday, Calumet Farm's Citation, then the world's leading money-winning Thoroughbred, was paraded before a crowd of 28,000 at Arlington Park in his last public appearance at a track before being retired to stud.
On Saturday, July 28, 2001, Arlington Park's inaugural Million Preview Day, Arlington will observe a special early post time of 12 Noon. There will also be a special simulcast of the Group I King George and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes from England's Ascot Racecourse broadcast live to Arlington Park at 9:50 a.m. Central time.
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