|Arlington Park Barn Notes
Contact: Graham Ross
(847) 385-7500 ext. 7319
In today's notes:
Saturday's second running of the $75,000 Top Flight for 2-year-old fillies is the feminine precursor of things to come, for juvenile colts and geldings get their first stakes exposure one week later in the second renewal of the $75,000 Spectacular Bid Stakes.
The two sprints at three-quarters of a mile were introduced to the local stakes schedule last season to serve as baby steps for a pair of time-honored stakes at Arlington, and that road continues when the Arlington-Washington Lassie is run September 22, and the Arlington-Washington Futurity follows September 29.
Both of those fixtures, now with Grade III status, are run at a mile, so the more immediate six-furlong sprints give horsemen final prep races over the local oval as well a barometer of how their youngsters will perform at longer distances.
Seventeen colts and geldings were nominated to this year's Spectacular Bid, which was won a year ago by Bill & Dee Davenport's Spectacular Cat.
Among them is Peter Abruzzo, Roger Samson & John Carver's Treasure Run, a chestnut son of Tejano Run who broke his maiden by five and a half lengths August 25 at Arlington in his second trip to the post.
"He won that race very handily, and came out of it real good," said trainer Tom Swearingen, noted for his exceptional abilities with young horses. "If he continues to do well, we'll probably go in the Spectacular Bid, or take a look at it anyway.
"He's a very happy horse," Swearingen said. "He's doing good now, and he's an easy horse to ride. He's real intelligent, and has never made a wrong move."
Although Treasure Run was much the best in his maiden score, the race was contested over a sloppy track. In his previous trip to the post in his career debut, the Illinois-bred had used the same front-running tactics on a fast track but weakened in the final furlong to finish second. Did the colt need sloppy going?
"I don't think so," Swearingen said. "We've worked him in different kinds of going, and he seems to handle all surfaces equally well. It doesn't seem to make any difference to him."
Another local horseman with designs on next Saturday's Spectacular Bid is conditioner Gene Cilio, who trains James Tafel LLC's Tinker.
This Kentucky-bred colt by Binalong out of a Fappiano mare has only made one trip to the post, and won that bow on Arlington Million Day by a length over muddy going.
"He worked in 1:00 4/5 the other day, and galloped out three-quarters in a way that was very much to my liking," said Cilio, when speaking of Tinker.
"I really think he'll be a better route horse than a sprinter," Cilio said. "If he runs well in the Spectacular Bid we'll go in the Futurity. You'd like to win (the Spectacular Bid), but the way he runs is very important, since the next one is at a mile."
Carolyn Friedberg's Minor Wisdom, winner of the Grade III Hawthorne Derby in 1999, is expected to make his second start off a half-year layoff in the $121,300 Sea O'Erin Breeders' Cup Mile on Labor Day, one of two special holiday Monday programs on the Arlington Park racing schedule this season.
After being absent since January, Minor Wisdom returned to competition in the $40,000 John Bullitt Handicap at Canterbury Park on July 21 and finished third after drawing off during the early going.
"He's kind of a strange horse," said trainer Richie Scherer, when talking about Minor Wisdom. "I'm not blaming the rider for that race at Canterbury, because he's a hard horse to ride, but the horse opened up by nine lengths before he got tired.
"But he's been working well lately," said Scherer, "and I expect that he'll run well on Monday, even though that's a good solid field he's in against."
Scherer was also asked about Sabathani, Minor Wisdom's full sister, who ran Friday at Arlington and finished fourth in the featured race of that late afternoon program.
"Every time a rider tries to save some ground with her, something happens," said Scherer of Mrs. Friedberg's Sabathani, who was beaten a little less than three lengths for all of it despite some traffic problems. "I think next time I'm just going to give instructions to the rider to take her outside. I think she's a good filly - a better filly than her record. She just keeps having trouble in her races and hasn't really broken out yet."
Concerning Carolyn Friedberg's Freeway Ticket, who was entered in Sunday's featured $55,000 Native Dancer Handicap, Scherer did not sound as optimistic.
"I'm not sure I'm going to run him," said Scherer of the Deposit Ticket colt who finished fifth in open company at last asking August 23. "I'll have to talk that over with the owner later today. I didn't like the way he was this morning (Saturday)."
Jockey Robby Albarado, who switched his tack to Arlington shortly after the end of the spring meeting at Churchill Downs, was the Jockey of the Month for August at the local oval, returning to the track where he was the leading rider in 1996.
Albarado registered 37 wins from 143 mounts during August at Arlington, riding four winners in a single afternoon twice during the month. The Louisiana-born reinsman also recorded three triples and eight riding doubles during August.
Trainer of the Month for August at Arlington was Don Von Hemel, who saddled five winners from 13 starters during the month.
Owner of the Month for August at Arlington was Tom Durant, whose silks were in the winner's circle four times following nine trips to the post.
Durant will be presented with his award after the sixth race on Sunday, while Von Hemel's presentation will be after the seventh event, and Albarado's after the ninth on that day.
Admission will be free for Sunday's racing program during the long holiday weekend of racing at Arlington Park.
Also, for Monday's Labor Day special program of racing, Arlington guests will be presented with a "bounce-back" coupon for free admission during any of the remaining days of the season at Chicago's premier Thoroughbred oval.
Jockey Shane Sellers journeys to Cincinnati for the Pepsi Bassinet Stakes on Saturday at River Downs, and will return to that southern Ohio oval on Monday for a mount in the Miller Genuine Draft Cradle Stakes.
Jockey Lonnie Meche will also be at River Downs for a mount in Monday's Cradle Stakes.
Jockey Alfredo Juarez Jr. posted a riding double on Friday's program at Arlington Park.
On September 2, 1974, trainer Jimmy DiVito recorded his first Arlington training victory with Greg & Mary Besinger's Rush Home in the third race of the day.
On September 2, 1990, Golden Pheasant's score in the Arlington Million enabled Hall of Fame trainer Charlie Whittingham to become the first trainer to win the Million three times.
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