|Arlington Park Barn Notes
Contact: Graham Ross
(847) 385-7500 ext. 7319
In today's notes:
David P. Holloway Racing Stable, Inc.'s Bet On Sunshine will shoulder the top impost of 123 pounds in Saturday's fourth running of the $100,000 Arlington Sprint, and should he win it, as he is expected to, he will have won 75 percent of the renewals of the six-furlong dash.
When was the last time that happened at any track at any time - that one horse was responsible for three-quarters of the winner's circle photos in any "hundred-grander" stakes?
Even in the 74-year history of Arlington Park, only one horse has ever won any of Arlington's present-day stakes races three years in a row, and that was Leslie Combs II's Rossi Gold, who accounted for the Grade III Stars and Stripes from 1981-83.
Bet On Sunshine, who dead-heated for the win with Ken Spraggins & Joseph Lombardo's Hunk of Class during the 1997 renewal of the Arlington Sprint, returned following Arlington's two-year hiatus to win last year's running by a length and a quarter as the fans' favorite. This Saturday, although Bet On Sunshine is now a 9-year-old, the steady gelding looms a strong choice once again.
How long will he keep running?
"Forever," said trainer Paul McGee when asked. "At least, he's still doing very well this year, and is coming up to the race on Saturday as well as he has ever done. As long as he shows us that he still wants to run, we'll let him.
"We've always spaced his races out quite a bit," McGee said, "and he still gives us his best when we do that."
For the second year in a row, Bet On Sunshine will come into Saturday's six-furlong sprint off a winning effort in the Grade III Aristides Handicap at Churchill Downs, and McGee was asked if that was by design.
"Not really," McGee answered from his Louisville base at the Twin Spires oval. "There's just not a whole lot of opportunities for sprinters, unless you look for a race at Saratoga or Philadelphia Park, and they're just so far from Churchill. So it's really kind of a no-brainer to go in those two races."
Once again this year, McGee's eventual goal for Bet On Sunshine will be the Grade I Breeders' Cup Sprint, and he should not be easily dismissed. Last year, despite being overlooked at 20-1 in that final race of his season, Bet On Sunshine closed boldly in the late stages to finish third, beaten only a length for all of it.
"He ran a big race in the Breeders' Cup Sprint," McGee said, "and we'll probably point for the Phoenix (G3 at Keeneland) after Saturday and shoot for the Breeders' Cup again."
Arlington stakes coordinator Chris Polzin checked the names of seven other rivals to oppose David P. Holloway Racing Stable, Inc.'s Bet On Sunshine in Saturday's $100,000 Arlington Sprint.
Likely to oppose the 123-pound highweight as of Wednesday were: Tom Boy Stable's Robin de Nest, 116; Wilton E. Scott's Boots On Sunday, 114; Prestonwood Farm's Dash for Daylight, 113; Crown's Way Farm, Peter Cappas, Founders Group et al.'s Out of My Way, 113; Stonecrest Farm's Proven Cure, 113; Cresran LLC's Chindi, 112; and Robert L. Beck's Vinnie's Boy, 112.
Robin de Nest has two wins at the current session at Chicago's premier Thoroughbred oval. The 4-year old Robin des Pins colt won the $55,000 Dr. Fager Handicap here by a length at last asking August 5, and had accounted for the $42,000 Barry Shipp Handicap on opening day June 13. In between those two local outings, the Tom Amoss trainee was fifth, beaten eight lengths, by the victorious Bet On Sunshine in Churchill's Aristides June 30.
Boots On Sunday, bred in Texas by his owner, has accounted for his last two in a row. The entire son of Pine Bluff won Retama's $35,000 J. R. Strauss Memorial in his last trip to the post August 3 at that San Antonio-area oval, and had captured an allowance race at Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie in his previous outing June 29.
Dash for Daylight won the $50,000 Don Bernhardt at Ellis Park in his last outing July 28, and had been third, beaten a little less than four lengths by Bet On Sunshine in the Aristides.
Out of My Way was most recently second behind Robin de Nest, beaten a length in the Dr. Fager here, but had won an allowance race for 'non-winners of three other than' by three and a quarter lengths July 18.
Proven Cure finished third behind Dash for Daylight in the Don Bernhardt July 28 in Western Kentucky, beaten two and a quarter lengths, and was sixth behind Bet On Sunshine before that in the Aristides.
Chindi, now a 7-year-old, has not visited the winner's circle since winning the Grade III Ack Ack Handicap last October 29 at Churchill Downs, but the gray gelding remains a crowd favorite known for trailing far behind the field early and then closing with a tremendous late burst.
Vinnie's Boy returns to the main track after two recent outings over the grass. The altered son of Sejm was sixth at last asking in the $100,000 Calder Turf Sprint Handicap at that North Miami course but had won the $100,000 Lone Star Turf Sprint Handicap before that during a three-race Texas campaign in the spring.
Lost in the shuffle on the day before the International Festival of Racing was last Friday's ninth race, which set season-high mutuel records for an exacta, quinella, daily double and $2 show price. Winning the race was Marc Goldish & Savoy Stable's Savoy's Prince, at better than 38-1, and finishing second was Wexler Stables, Inc.'s Zeal With A Kiss at better than 22-1. Together, the pair was responsible for an exacta worth $1,339, while a quinella involving those two returned $461. Combined with Arthur I Appleton's Galic Boy, who won the eighth race at 19-1, the late daily double paid a season-high $1,183.80 for a $2 wager. Savoy's Prince paid a show price of $23, also a record at the current session.
Jockey Rene Douglas, currently the leading rider at Arlington, had a riding double on Sunday's program, and has now recorded multiple wins on each of the last six racing days.
Four years ago, starting on August 23, 1997, dead-heat finishes in stakes races were recorded on back-to-back days. On the 23rd, My Own Lovely Lee and Barn Swallow finished on even terms in the Anita Peabody Handicap, and the following afternoon, the photo finish camera could not separate Hunk of Class and Bet On Sunshine in the second running of the Arlington Sprint.
James Cassels & Bob Zollars' Big Numbers, second choice in Thursday's feature attraction at Arlington, was third in the $500,000 Lone Star Derby a year ago and third in the Grade III Lone Star Park Handicap this spring.
At the conclusion of Wednesday's 51st day of racing at Arlington this summer, the 102-day session will be officially at the half way mark.
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