Chicago Barn to Wire


Arlington Park Barn Notes

Contact: Graham Ross (847) 385-7500 ext. 7319

In today's notes:


Allen E. Paulson Living Trust's Astra, the multiple graded stakes-winning mare who looms the choice in the Grade I Beverly D. August 18, remains on target for that sister race to the Arlington Million, trainer Simon Bray confirmed Wednesday.

"She has been coming along very well," Bray said over the phone from Del Mar concerning the status of Astra, who won the Grade I Beverly Hills Handicap at Hollywood Park in her last trip to the post on June 24.

In that last Southern California outing, the daughter of Theatrical dominated her competition by four lengths as the odds-on choice of the fans. Now a 5-year-old mare, Astra came from just off the early pace in the Beverly Hills to take command inside the furlong grounds while making only her second start of the year. Astra had used the same tactics in the Grade II Santa Barbara Handicap April 14 in her seasonal bow.

"She'll work one more time out here at Del Mar before the Beverly D.," said Bray. "I'm not sure when, but it will be Saturday, Sunday or Monday. I'll just breeze her three quarters."

Jockey Kent Desormeaux is the regular rider for Astra, and it remains a possibility that he will be aboard for the move.

Bray hopes to ship Astra to Chicago from Southern California on a Tex Sutton flight on or about August 15.

"We don't have to train her too much," Bray said of the projected choice in the Beverly D. "She just seems to do everything on her own."

Also coming to Arlington for Bray on that flight will be Allen E. Paulson Living Trust's Startac, who is being pointed for the Grade I Secretariat that same afternoon. Together the Million, Beverly D. and the Secretariat are the only three Grade I races offered in Illinois.


John J. Greely III, Tom Nichols & Columbine Stable's Takarian, a projected starter in the Grade I Arlington Million August 18, breezed three-eighths of a mile over the Arlington grass course in :40 4/5 Wednesday morning at Chicago's premier Thoroughbred oval.

Takarian, who finished second, beaten a neck in the Grade III Arlington Handicap here July 28, galloped out a half-mile in :56 under exercise rider Lara Robinson over the firm going with the "dogs" up well out from the rail.

"He went very well," Robinson said, following the move. "I didn't ask him for much but he did everything without effort."

Columbine Stable's Sligo Bay, a candidate for the Grade I Secretariat, breezed five furlongs in 1:06 4/5 and galloped out three-quarters in 1:21 2/5 under exercise rider Tommy Strang on the Arlington grass course Wednesday moments before Takarian's move.

"Sligo Bay finished very well," said Arlington clocker Bobby Belpedio.

Takarian and Sligo Bay are both trained by Beau Greely, who has a number of stakes horses currently based at Arlington. The conditioner, however, was still at Saratoga Wednesday. On Sunday at the upstate New York oval, Greely had captured Sunday's Grade II A. G. Vanderbilt Handicap with Columbine Stable & Kitchwa Stable's Five Star Day.

Other Greely horses working Wednesday over the grass included Columbine Stable's Raypour and John Stewart's Jig, who are being pointed for lesser events during the week of the International Festival of Racing. Raypour breezed a half-mile in :40 3/5 while Jig accomplished the same distance in :40 4/5.


  Three Plus U Stable's The Seven Seas, trained by Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel, has had her status upgraded to probable as a candidate for the Grade I Beverly D. August 18.

  European campaigner Boismorand, trained by Melchior-Francois Mathet, has been withdrawn from consideration for the Grade I Beverly D.

  Jockey Thierry Thulliez has been named as the rider for Grundy Bloodstock's Di Moi Oui in the Grade I Beverly D.

  Dr. Michael Smurfit's Maumee is no longer under consideration for the Grade I Secretariat.

  Trudy McCaffery, John Toffan & Robert Sangster's Bienamado, the possible favorite in the Grade I Arlington Million, worked seven-eighths in 1:26 handily at Santa Anita on Sunday in preparation for his upcoming engagement in the showcase event of the Arlington season.

  Michael Paulson & Edward White's Hap, one of the prime candidates for the Grade I Arlington Million, breezed five furlongs in 1:03 2/5 on Saratoga's main track Monday.

  Juddmonte Farm's Senure, a projected starter in the Arlington Million, worked three-quarters of a mile in 1:15 2/5 handily over the main track at Del Mar on Sunday.

  Jockey Andrache Starke has been named as the rider for Gary A. Tanaka's Caitano in the Grade I Arlington Million.

  Jockey Andreas Suborics has been named as the rider for Stiftung Gestut Fahrhof's Silvano in the Grade I Arlington Million.

  Gary A. Tanaka's Hesiode, a possibility for the Arlington Million, breezed three-quarters in 1:21 4/5 over the turf with the "dogs" up Wednesday morning at Arlington.

  Richard L. Duchossois' National Anthem, a possibility for the Arlington Million, worked a half-mile in :48 handily at Del Mar Monday over the grass with the "dogs" up.

  Elizabeth H. Alexander's Package Store, a possibility for the Secretariat, breezed three-eighths in :38 4/5 at Belmont Park Sunday.


Jacks Or Better Farm's Monsieur Cat, a good second in the Grade II American Derby at Arlington at last asking July 22, looms a strong choice in Friday's $60,000-added Awad Stakes at Chicago's premier Thoroughbred oval.

If the field of eight remains intact in the mile and a sixteenth grass test restricted to 3-year-olds, the race will have a gross value of $64,000, with a $38,400 share of that sum going to the owners of the winner.

In that American Derby outing at a mile and three-sixteenths, Monsieur Cat dueled for the early lead, could not stay with the winner over the soft going but saved the place.

Craig Perret, aboard Monsieur Cat in the American Derby, is named to handle the reins once again in Friday's main event.

Opposing Monsieur Cat are: Stonecrest Farm's Wudantunoit, Frank Lovato Jr.; John Trippi's Altered Birdie, Rene Douglas; Lauer, Merritt & Uligian's Heptagone, Eddie Razo Jr.; Keith Plaisance's Rahy's Secret, Robby Albarado; W. Dean West's Lil Mephistopheles, Ray Sibille; Barbara R. & John E. Smicklas's Miesque's Encore, Chris Emigh; and Alan Drey's Bahroba, Marlon St. Julien.


  Jockey Rene Douglas had a riding triple on Sunday's Arlington program, winning the opener on Peter Abruzzo & Jerry Hollendorfer's Talknow; the seventh on Tim Langley's Dotsie's Doll; and the ninth on Jorge Suarez' Snow Landing.

  Jockey Corey Lanerie and conditioner Steve Asmussen posted a riding/training double on that same afternoon with Nelson Bunker Hunt's McKinney in the fifth and with Richard Englander's Lampsas County in the finale of the day.

  Jockey Eddie Razo also had a double with Vogt, Ramey & McVey's Gonandunit in the fourth and Tom Boy Stable's Robin de Nest in the eighth.

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