|Arlington Park Barn Notes
Contact: Graham Ross
(847) 385-7500 ext. 7319
In today's notes:
The hero of the Grade II American Derby - Patricia Miessler & Cliff Raber's Fan Club's Mister - returns to the races Sunday at Arlington Park.
It has been a month since the 3-year-old's competitive run in the Grade I Secretariat August 18, when the son of Mr. Greeley was beaten less than five lengths at the wire.
"I think he came back from the Secretariat even better than he was doing before," said trainer Rickey Harris, who has Fan Club's Mister entered against older horses in Sunday's featured $45,000 Tex's Zing Handicap, a grass race at nine furlongs.
In the Secretariat, part of the one-day International Festival of Racing on Arlington Million Day, Fan Club's Mister broke from the outside post position, dueled for the lead until the stretch run and then weakened gradually to finish sixth, beaten four and three-quarter lengths for all the money.
"It wouldn't bother me to hook up against those horses again," said Harris when speaking of the international sophomore stars faced in that last outing. "I just wish that we had gone a little slower the first part of it in the Secretariat. When you're going a mile and a quarter, you can't go that fast, but we had the #12 hole and that didn't help."
When Fan Club's Mister won the American Derby, he made or forced the pace throughout and drew off late for a three and a half-length score July 22 over a course rated "soft." In the Secretariat, the course was "yielding," and even when he won the Canterbury Derby in June, the course was listed as "good." Harris was asked if her bay colt needed less than firm going to perform at his best.
"I don't think so," said Harris. "He won that race at Hawthorne last spring over a firm track. He ran a good race then, and that was his first time on the grass. He also has always worked well over it.
"What I'm really anxious to see is how he'll do against older horses," said Harris. "I don't think Sunday is an easy race. There are some very good older horses in there and the race will give us a good idea how he matches up against them.
"I think he'll do all right," Harris concluded of Fan Club's Mister on Sunday. "He definitely knows what he's doing. He's very mature. If he sees any other horse out there on the track in the mornings, he wants to beat him."
Asking trainer Gene Cilio about his 2-year-old in the upcoming stakes, he responded, "Which one do you mean? The filly or the colt?"
James Tafel LLC's Tinker finished a fast-closing third in the $75,000 Spectacular Bid Stakes last week, and is a prime candidate for the Grade II Arlington-Washington Futurity September 29.
However, Cilio also is the conditioner of Mount Joy Stables, Inc.'s Lemon Haze, and she is being pointed for the Grade III Arlington-Washington Lassie next Saturday.
The $100,000 Lassie, which is Arlington's main event of the season for juvenile distaffers, will be contested at one mile and will be observing its 67th renewal.
Lemon Haze, a Kentucky-bred chestnut, broke her maiden by two and three-quarter lengths at last asking in the slop August 19 and had finished a good second, beaten a head, in her career debut a month earlier here.
"She's been training well enough lately," said Cilio of the bold step into stakes competition next weekend. "She was only beat a head the first time we ran her, and she won off by herself that last time. We beat Jilbab (a highly regarded Godolphin filly) in that last race. She's training super and she won that last race on a wet track so convincingly that she's earned a chance to run in the stake."
In addition to Jilbab, Lemon Haze is likely to face Ron & Ricki Rashinski's Vicki Vallencourt in the Lassie. That gray daughter of Regal Classic won the $75,000 Top Flight Stakes here September 1. The Top Flight, contested at six furlongs, was the final local prep for the Lassie.
Also likely in the Lassie against Lemon Haze is Dr. & Mrs. Smiser West & Mr. & Mrs. Mackenzie Miller's Don't Ruffle Me who finished second, beaten only a head by Vicki Vallencourt in the Top Flight.
Randy Walker, head coach of the Northwestern football team, and Zak Kustok, senior quarterback and captain of the Wildcats, head a list of prominent athletic celebrities that will be on hand for Sunday's "Walk, Roll and Run for Rob" benefit Sunday at Trackside Arlington Park.
The event, on behalf of Rob Komosa, a Palatine teenager who was seriously injured in a football accident in 1999, will be held to provide funds to make Rob Komosa's 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 in the benefit, for which check in begins at 9 a.m. Sunday at Trackside.
Others from Northwestern who will be on hand at Trackside for Komosa include Justin Chabot, director of football operations, and senior linebackers Kevin Bentley and Billy Silva.
In all, nine players will participate, wearing game jerseys and greeting participants in the 5K Run, the 2K Wheelchair Roll and the 2K Walk at the finish line.
Concluding awards ceremonies will be held at Trackside Patio at 11 a.m.
One day after a season-high quinella payoff was recorded at Arlington Park, season highs for a trifecta, an exacta, a place wager and a show wager were all recorded following Friday's fourth race, when Wayne Wiarda's Shaack won the race at almost 60-1.
Shaack returned $66.80 to place and $29.60 to show, and kicked off an exacta worth $2,689 and a trifecta worth $58,116.20. All payoffs were based on a $2 wager.
Jockey Robby Albarado recorded a riding triple on Friday's twilight racing program, winning the fifth with Peter Abruzzo, Jerry Hollendorfer & Robert Chapman's Grey Velvet, the sixth with Marta Racing Ventures & T. Frandsen's My First Lady, and the finale aboard Flying Column Stable's Tactical Sun.
Jockey Chris Emigh rode his second riding double in two days, winning the third with Mary M. Zimmerman's Silver Top and the eighth on Nancy A. Vanier's Carpet Slipper.
Conditioner Eusebio Razo Sr. had a training double, as did Jerry Hollendorfer.
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