|Arlington Park Barn Notes
Contact: Graham Ross
(847) 385-7500 ext. 7319
In today's notes:
Hall of Fame jockey Laffit Pincay Jr., who has ridden more winners than any other reinsman in Thoroughbred racing history, will return to Arlington Park for the International Festival of Racing on August 18, Arlington Million Day.
Pincay, the only rider to have surpassed the 9,000-career win-milestone, scored the first American win of his career at Arlington Park 35 years ago during the summer of 1966. The Panamanian-born jockey has made a commitment to return to Chicago's premier oval to ride Columbine Stable's Sligo Bay in the Grade I Secretariat on that day.
As part of the one-day International Festival of Racing, the Secretariat is only one of three Grade I races contested on that day, leaving open the possibility that Pincay might also get riding assignments in the Grade I Arlington Million and/or the Grade I Beverly D.
The Secretariat is also the final leg of Arlington's Mid-America Triple. Pincay last appeared locally July 22, when he rode Sligo Bay to a fourth-place finish in the Grade II American Derby, the middle leg of that local series.
"Laffit said the ground was just too heavy for him to make up any ground that day," trainer Beau Greely said of Sligo Bay's race in the American Derby. "I'm really pleased that he has not lost confidence in the horse, and has chosen to come back and ride (Sligo Bay) again in the Secretariat."
Columbine Stable's Sligo Bay breezed three-eighths of a mile in :40 4/5 Wednesday on the grass at Arlington Park in preparation for his upcoming engagement in the Grade I Secretariat Stakes August 18.
Sligo Bay was never asked for a serious effort from exercise rider Andy Durnin Wednesday, and toured Arlington's world-famous turf course well out from the rail with the "dogs" up.
Sligo Bay won the Grade III Cinema Handicap at Hollywood Park in May in his first start in the United States, but was fourth in the Grade II American Derby at Arlington July 22 when unable to handle the going of the turf course made soft by torrential reins.
"He just couldn't handle the course," said Sligo Bay's trainer Beau Greely. "If it rains on the day of the Secretariat like it did during the American Derby, we'll scratch him and take him back to California where it's dry. It never rains in California."
Victoria Racing Stables' Saint Damien, who crossed under the wire first over the grass course here last Friday only to be disqualified and placed second, will attempt to make amends for that infraction in the Grade I Secretariat, trainer Ken McPeek said Wednesday.
"I thought that race Friday was a nice race for him," McPeek said. "It was his first race on the grass. I thought he handled it well, and he was racing against older horses. We're planning on bringing him back for the Secretariat."
In Friday's race, Saint Damien was disqualified for bumping with Jones, Nichols & Columbine Stable's Raypour, an Arlington Million nominee, but prevailed to cross under the wire a nose in front of that older rival. In the Secretariat, Saint Damien will be racing against other 3-year-olds.
"It was good to get a grass race under his belt," said McPeek. "The whole idea of racing him on the grass was something that just kind of came up. I didn't think he was quite ready for the Round Table (a Grade III race on the main track Saturday), and I wanted to try him on grass, and that allowance race was a good opportunity for him."
As a 2-year-old last fall at Arlington, Saint Damien finished fifth in the Grade II Arlington-Washington Futurity, beaten almost 12 lengths over a muddy track.
"I just throw that race out," McPeek said, speaking over the phone from Saratoga. "He came out of it with a lung infection.
"I don't think this horse has reached his peak yet," McPeek said. "He's an extremely nice horse with a big future. He's there at Arlington with Sally (assistant trainer Shue) who is doing a fantastic job with him. We'll probably breeze him a couple of times before the Secretariat, but I'm not quite sure yet exactly when that will be."
Jacks Or Better Farm's Monsieur Cat, overlooked at 26 to 1 in the Grade II American Derby July 22, made or forced the pace most of the way in that middle leg of Arlington's Mid-America Triple and held on late to save the second position.
Would Monsieur Cat, a son of Tabasco Cat out of the Lyphard mare Mais Oui, be a candidate for the Grade I Secretariat, final leg of the Mid-America Triple on August 18?
"But of course," said owner Jane Brei, translating the dam's name from the French while answering the question concerning Monsieur Cat's next start.
"We watched the simulcast of the American Derby down here in Florida," said Brei, who along with husband Fred owns Jacks Or Better Farm "We were very proud of him.
"Actually, we also had him in the first leg of that series," she added, speaking over the phone from the Ocala farm. "We were watching that race (the Grade II Arlington Classic June 30) on the simulcast at Calder that day, saying how good he looked in the paddock, and suddenly it was announced there was a late scratch. It turned out our horse wasn't wearing the right shoes.
"Craig (jockey Perret) told us he thought Monsieur Cat ran very well in the American Derby," Brei said. "He said Monsieur Cat doesn't realize yet just how good he is, although, since he is a 3-year-old, it would be nice if he started figuring it out fairly soon."
Owner, Trainer and Jockey of the Month Awards for July at Arlington, as well as Barn Of The Month, will be announced Thursday, with presentation ceremonies for the awards conducted Friday in the winner's circle.
Saturday will be "T-shirt Giveaway Day" at Arlington, with free T-shirts given away to the first 3,000 Twin Spires Club members in attendance that day. However, fans may sign up for the Twin Spires Club after passing through the gates Saturday and still get the free T-shirt.
On Sunday, the Chicago chapter of The Porsche Club of America will display approximately 40 classic Porsches in the Park Area.
Jockey Chris Emigh and trainer Jere Smith Sr. combined to win Sunday's opening daily double, winning the opener with W. & S. Dobozi Partnership's Honest Venture, and coming right back in the second with Sweep Away, who is owned by Smith.
Jockey Robby Albarado also had a consecutive riding double, winning the third with Arthur B. Hancock III's Magoffin, and coming right back in the fourth with Michele Boyce, Lorraine Arturi & Sam Belpedio's Fiery Diablo.
Leading rider Rene Douglas posted a Sunday double, winning the sixth on Carolyn & Harry Disko's I Can Go Go and the finale aboard Kissoon Thoroughbreds, et al.'s Chandi Tara.
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