Chicago Barn to Wire


Arlington Park Barn Notes

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

In today's notes:


Team Block's Reno Rumble, who launched a dramatic late closing bid to capture the $75,000 Cardinal Handicap on June 23, Prairie State Festival Day at Arlington Park, will try to regain those winning ways despite shouldering the top impost of 120 pounds in Sunday's $45,000 Tex's Zing Handicap.

The mile and a sixteenth turf test is restricted to 3-year-olds and upward who are Illinois registered, conceived and/or foaled, and has attracted a field of eight.

Reno Rumble, a 7-year-old homebred gelding by Vigors, has a pair of fourth-place finishes in two starts since his dramatic victory in the Cardinal. In his most recent trip to the post August 17 in the $60,000 John Henry here, the gray came from far back to miss by two lengths over a "yielding" course. In his previous start Reno Rumble was beaten almost four lengths in allowance company when asked to negotiate "less-than-firm" going.

Seven others, including two couplings, are named to oppose the highweight. The Richard Scherer-trained entry of Carolyn Freidberg's Minor Wisdom and John Binyon & Merrill R. Scherer's Grandpa Two are weighted at 119 and 115 pounds respectively. The Richard Englander-owned coupling of G All Day and Court Lite Kenny, both trained by Michael Reavis, are in with 112 and 113 pounds in that order.

Others named to Sunday's Tex's Zing include Horse Cents Stable's Mister Volare, 115; Patricia Miessler & Cliff Raber's Fan Club's Mister, 117; and Mrs. & Michael P. Brickman's Smilin' Slew, 116.

Sure to provide strong competition for Reno Rumble is Fan Club's Mister, hero of the Grade II American Derby over "soft" going and a competitive sixth in the Grade I Secretariat over a "yielding" course August 18 as part of the International Festival of Racing. When last appearing over a "firm" grass course, Fan Club's Mister was fourth in the Grade II Arlington Classic, first leg of Arlington's Mid-America Triple.


Twenty-four 2-year-old fillies have been nominated to the Grade III Arlington-Washington Lassie, highlight of the season for juvenile distaffers. The $100,000 Lassie will observe its 67th renewal when contested at one mile on Saturday, September 22.

Heligbrodt Racing Stable & Team Valor's Cashier's Dream, front-running six-length victress in the Grade I Spinaway at Saratoga August 31, highlights the list of Lassie nominations. Before that she had finished second, beaten only a neck, in the Grade II Adirondack at that upstate New York oval.

Ron & Ricki Rashinski's Vicki Vallencourt, heroine of the $75,000 Top Flight Stakes, final local prep for the Lassie, heads the local list based on that recent accomplishment September 1. She had won her previous start by 11 lengths.

Dr. & Mrs. Smiser West & Mr. & Mrs. Mackenzie Miller's Don't Ruffle Me, second by a head behind Vicki Vallencourt, is also prominent on the Lassie nominations list. Previously, that daughter of 1992 Preakness winner Pine Bluff had broken her maiden at first asking by 12 lengths.

Northwest Farms' Strong Credentials, third in the Top Flight and undefeated in two previous trips to the post at Emerald Downs, has also been nominated to the upcoming Lassie.

Also notable among Lassie nominations is Dan Martin & Jerry Ayres' Joanies Bella, who captured the $100,000 Pepsi Bassinet at River Downs in Cincinnati by two and a quarter lengths on September 1.


Trackside Arlington Park will host a "Walk, Roll and Run for Rob" benefit on Sunday benefiting "The Make Room for Rob Trust."

Rob Komosa, a Palatine teenager, was seriously injured in a football accident in 1999. The community has rallied to support Komosa in many ways and Sunday's event will help raise funds to make his home accessible given his special needs.

The event is open to runners and walkers of all ages and will include a special division for wheelchair participants. Komosa plans to participate.

Check in for Sunday's event will begin at 9 a.m. at Trackside, with a 5K Run starting at 10 a.m. At 10:10 a.m. a 2K Wheelchair Roll begins, and at 10:15 a.m. a 2K Walk begins.

Concluding ceremonies with an awards ceremony at Trackside Patio will be at 11 a.m.


Earl Bellamy's Southern Tour, undefeated in her first three starts, finished second, beaten a half-length in her most recent trip to the post in the Grade III Azalea Breeders' Cup at Calder Race Course July 14.

The daughter of Tour d'Or will be one of the primary choices in Saturday's $54,500 Miss Oceana, co-feature of Saturday's program at the local oval despite that two-month layoff.

"She shipped all the way down there (South Florida) and missed her first ride coming home," said conditioner Hal Wiggins, over the phone from Louisville. Wiggins has taken over Southern Tour's training since that last outing where she was beaten a half-length for all of it. "She was a little wore out so we decided to give her a little time.

"Looking at her size, I would say there is a good chance she is strictly a sprinter," Wiggins said of the Florida-bred who has never been further than six furlongs in her career. (Saturday's Miss Oceana is also at three-quarters of a mile.) "We may try her long if the right race comes up either later in this 3-year-old season or early in her 4-year-old year."

Trainer Lon Wiggins, son of Hal who currently has the filly in his barn at Arlington Park, said, "She just got here a couple of days ago, but she seems to have handled the shipping and the track real good since she's been here."


  The largest quinella of the Arlington Park season was recorded in Thursday's third race when Bluestem Farm, Inc.'s Moocher won and Frederick Kuen's Golden Pistol finished second. Together the pair returned a quinella worth $2,761.

  Last year's leading rider Mark Guidry, who left Arlington Park for Saratoga this season, returned Thursday for the first time since the upstate New York meeting and regained sole possession of third place in the current local standings when he won aboard Steve H. Lewis's Chartwell in the finale.

  Current leading rider Rene Douglas had a riding triple Thursday, winning the second on Hondo Ranch, Inc.'s Timesafleeting, the fourth on William Stringfellow's Big Storm Comin, and the eighth astride Yoshio Fujita's E Z Glory.

  Jockey Chris Emigh had a riding double on the same program, winning aboard the longshot Moocher in the third, and coming back with Nancy A. Vanier's Cottage Rose in the seventh.

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