Chicago Barn to Wire


Arlington Million updates

Arlington Park Barn Notes

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

In today's notes:


Bruce Barton & Alvin D. Haynes' Make No Mistake, winner of the Grade III Arlington Handicap here July 28, was reintroduced to the local lawn Tuesday with a turf gallop designed to bring him up to Saturday's Grade I Arlington Million at his finely-tuned peak mentally and physically.

"We just wanted to give him enough to do to take the edge off," said Susan Kessinger, who was aboard Make No Mistake for the exercise and is also the wife of Make No Mistake's trainer Burk Kessinger. "We didn't want him to do too much, just stretch his legs a little."

Make No Mistake outgamed fellow Arlington Million candidate Takarian for a neck tally in the Arlington Handicap. The 6-year-old Irish-bred will attempt to become the first horse to parlay a win in the final local prep for the Million with a repeat score in the showcase event of the Chicago Thoroughbred racing season.

To date Arlington Handicap winners Evanescent and Fanmore in 1993 and 1994 respectively each finished second in the Arlington Million for the best back-to-back record in the pair of Arlington staples.

"Basically, I just 'two-minute-licked' him a mile today," said Susan Kessinger shortly after dismounting from Make No Mistake Tuesday morning. "I picked it up a little the last three-eighths, getting him to use himself a little bit without actually breezing.

"I'm very happy with the way he galloped," the trainer's wife added. "If you breeze him too hard, it takes him awhile to recover. He's an older guy now. You can't hammer him too hard. Now, we'll probably gallop again Thursday or Friday and just jog in between."

Make No Mistake is intriguingly named considering he was bought by Kessinger for his present owners shortly after a second-place finish to Million candidate Hap in the Grade II Dixie Handicap at Pimlico May 19.

"My owners and I decided to take a chance on a 6-year-old," said Burk Kessinger shortly before the Arlington Handicap. "I watched his last race (the Dixie) on television, and I was impressed with his performance. Shortly after that, I learned he was for sale."


Victoria Racing Stable Inc.'s Saint Damien completed his major work for his upcoming engagement in Saturday's Grade I $400,000 Secretariat Stakes with a half-mile turf work around the dogs with exercise rider Al Hassan in the saddle Tuesday at approximately 9:30 a.m. The son of Saint Ballado went the distance in :51 4/5 and galloped out five furlongs in 1:06 2/5.

"That was a pretty good work," said Sally Schu, assistant to trainer Ken McPeek. "Those cones (dogs) were way out there. Al said that he did it pretty easy. That makes me feel good. He galloped out good. We're right on schedule with him."

As one of four Secretariat Stakes candidates based at Arlington for a considerable amount of time, Schu views that as an advantage in a race as deep and competitive as Saturday's mile and quarter co-feature.

"He really seems to like it here," Schu said. 'He's always trained good here."

Saint Damien has made only one previous start on turf, a second-level allowance race here July 27. He was first through the wire in the mile and an eighth race but was disqualified from the victory and placed second behind Columbine Stable's Raypour for interference in the stretch. Despite the eventual official outcome, Schu was pleased with his grass debut.

"He ran a winning race," she said of Saint Damien's effort against older horses that day. "One of the owners joked that he'd rather win and get taken down than get beat a nod. We were happy with his race."

That race was his first start since finishing second to Dogwood Stable's Distilled in the Grade II Illinois Derby at Sportsman's Park.

"We gave him 30 days off after the Illinois Derby and then brought him back," Schu said. "We had planned on waiting a little longer (to bring him back), but we didn't want to have to ship him, so we thought we'd just run him in that (allowance) race to get him a prep for the Secretariat."


  Allen E. Paulson Living Trust's Hap breezed five furlongs Monday in 1:02.70 at Saratoga in preparation for his upcoming engagement in Saturday's Grade I Arlington Million.

  Juddmonte Farms, Inc.'s Senure worked six furlongs handily in 1:14.20 at Del Mar Monday in preparation for his upcoming engagement in Saturday's Grade I Arlington Million.

  Trudy McCaffery, John Toffan & Robert Sangster's Bienamado worked five furlongs handily in 1:00 at Santa Anita Sunday for his engagement in the Arlington Million.

  Stonerside Stable's Kalatiara worked five furlongs handily in 1:03.40 Monday at Del Mar in preparation for her upcoming engagement in Saturday's Grade I Beverly D.

  Bentley L. Smith Revocable Trust's Solvig breezed five furlongs in 1:03 Monday at Churchill Downs in for her upcoming engagement in Saturday's Beverly D.

  Allen E. Paulson Living Trust's Astra worked five furlongs handily in 1:01.20 Sunday at Del Mar in preparation for her upcoming engagement in Saturday's Beverly D.

  Charles Kenis' The Seven Seas worked five furlongs handily in 1:01 at Del Mar Sunday in preparation for the Beverly D.

  Sam-Son Farm's Only to You breezed six furlongs in 1:13.40 Saturday at Woodbine over the turf in preparation for her engagement in the Beverly D.

  William Bloom, John Behrendt & Charles Marquis' Sharp Performance breezed five furlongs at Saratoga Sunday in preparation for his engagement in Saturday's Grade I Secretariat.

  Sam-Son Farm's Strut The Stage worked six furlongs handily over the grass at Woodbine Saturday in preparation for Saturday's Grade I Secretariat.

  Jockey Kent Desormeaux will ride Gary A. Tanaka's Caitano in the Arlington Million.

  Jockey Michael Fenton will ride Erik Penser's Compton Bolter in the Arlington Million.

  Jockey Gary Stevens will ride Newgate Stud's (executors of Prince Fahd Salman) Aldwych in the Grade I Secretariat on Saturday.

  Jockey Rene Douglas will ride Victoria Racing Stable, Inc.'s Saint Damien in the Secretariat.

  Jockey Michael Fenton will ride Lord Blyth & R. P. B. Michaelson's Snowstorm in the Secretariat.

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