|Arlington Park Barn Notes
Contact: Graham Ross
(847) 385-7500 ext. 7319
In today's notes:
John Greely, Tom Nichols & Columbine Stable's Takarian, the 6-year-old who finished second by a neck in Saturday's Grade III Arlington Handicap, came out of the race in good order and will stay at Arlington Park to prepare for his next engagement in the Grade I Arlington Million August 18.
"I thought he ran great," said trainer Beau Greely Sunday morning in the track kitchen. "I couldn't have been happier, other than the fact that we didn't win it. He tried. The other horse (winning Make No Mistake) just got to the wire ahead of us.
"He's a real nice horse," Greely said, speaking of Bruce Barton & Alvin D. Haynes' Make No Mistake. "We beat him in Ireland, and he got us yesterday. I have a tape of that Irish race. It was in the Group III Meld Stakes at The Curragh in July of 1998. They're both good horses, very similar. They're both Irish-breds and both 6-year-olds.
"We're going to stay here and give the Million a shot," Greely said. "Takarian has had a run over the track now. He's doing great, and the distance of the Million is the same at a mile and a quarter."
The Arlington Million, centerpiece of the season at Chicago's premier Thoroughbred oval, will be contested as part of the one-day International Festival of Racing exactly three weeks after the Arlington Handicap, along with the Grade I Beverly D. and the Grade I Secretariat.
Team Block's Ioya Two held on by a nose to capture Saturday's Grade III Modesty Handicap in the final local prep for the Grade I Beverly D. August 18, but despite that courageous performance, remains unlikely for the sister race to the Arlington Million.
"At this point, no," Ioya Two's trainer Chris Block said in response to the obvious question about the Beverly D. on the Sunday morning after the Modesty. "That's likely to be a whole different bunch of fillies in there. We (Team Block) had zeroed in on this race (Modesty), all along.
"This was the biggest win of my career, my first graded stakes win," said Block, who was still hoarse from cheering. "But even more important, I had always wanted to get one of our homebreds graded stakes status. That was the best feeling, that it was one of our homebreds that did it. I got a little emotional when we won.
"I was particularly close to the mare (a daughter of Naskra named Ioya) that dropped this filly," Block said. "She's gone now, we lost her recently as a result of complications during foaling, but we have one more foal by her coming along. She's a 2-year-old by Louis Quatorze that, hopefully, you'll see next year.
"The entire family went out to dinner and celebrated Ioya Two's win," Block said. "Plus it's my son David's fifth birthday this week, so we had a little party for him.
"When Mark (Guidry, Ioya Two's rider) came into the paddock, he was really focused," Block concluded of the Modesty score. "We had two plans. One was to get her covered up and get her to relax. But Plan B was to let her run if she broke well, and if she had the lead - so be it. That's how it turned out. When I saw her with her ears straight up going down the backstretch, that's an excellent sign with her. I knew we had a good chance to win it. She looked like she was really enjoying herself."
Bruce Barton & Alvin D. Haynes' Make No Mistake, victorious in the Grade III Arlington Handicap, final local prep for the Grade I Arlington Million August 18, cooled out well following his exciting neck tally in Saturday's stakes and left Chicago at 5 a.m. Sunday to return to Lexington.
"He was pretty proud of himself last night," trainer Burk Kessinger said over the phone Sunday.
Asked about the possibility of the Arlington Million for Make No Mistake, Kessinger stuck by the comments he had made Saturday in post-race interviews.
"We'll have to see how he's doing after I get him back to the track in a few days," Kessinger said. "Assuming he continues to do well, his next start will either be in the Million or the Man o' War (Grade I at Belmont September 8). I'll probably make a decision somewhere around late next week.
"I really wish we had about one more week between (the two races)," Kessinger said. "Most people have the dream of winning the Kentucky Derby, but I've always wanted to have a horse that could win the Arlington Million or the Beverly D."
Jones, Nichols & Columbine Stable's Raypour, adjudged winner of Friday's feature at Arlington Park and an Arlington Million nominee, will bypass that Grade I event in favor of an easier spot.
"I need to get another win for him before I throw him back in against Grade I competition," said trainer Beau Greely. "There's nothing wrong with him. He's a good horse. He just needs his confidence back."
Similarly, Jeff Amling & John Stuart's Jig, a Beverly D. nominee, will not now be pointed for that co-featured highlight of the International Festival of Racing.
The Irish-bred Jig finished seventh in Saturday's Grade III Modesty Handicap, final local prep for the Grade I Beverly D.
"She's a nice filly," conditioner Greely said, "but I'd like to earn some money with her while I have her. I think fillies like Astra (potentially this year's Beverly D. favorite) are probably just a notch above her. She's not quite in that class."
Jockey Lonnie Meche had a riding triple Saturday at Arlington Park, winning the third race on Larry F. Telle's Double Zero Seven, the seventh aboard Mark Corrado & Mark Hanna's On Your Mark, and the ninth astride Larry Bielfeldt & Ed Weaver's Salty Farma.
Jockey Corey Lanerie, riding champion at the recently concluded Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie meeting, is named on his first local mount of the season Wednesday.
Saturday's daily double payoff of $792.80 was the highest double price recorded at the current session. That payoff on the 7-6 combination was based on a $2 wager.
Grade II Washington Park Handicap winner Guided Tour, an Arlington Million nominee owned by Morton Fink, finished third behind Albert the Great and Include in the NTRA Champions Series points standings.
James Tafel LLC's Scoop, winner of the $150,000 National Jockey Club Oaks at Sportsman's Park earlier this year, breezed five-eighths in 1:02 at Arlington Park Sunday.
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