|Arlington Park Barn Notes
Contact: Graham Ross
(847) 385-7500 ext. 7319
In today's notes:
Saturday's centerpiece event of the season for 2-year-old fillies has perked the interest of numerous horsemen, and a full field of juvenile distaffers could go postward in the Grade III Arlington-Washington Lassie.
The 67th running of the $100,000 Lassie last showcased a 2-year-old filly champion nine years ago when Allen Paulson's Eliza took down winning honors, but other recent winners have gone on to remarkable careers.
After winning the Lassie in 1993, Thunderhead Farm's Mariah's Storm went on to win the Arlington Oaks as a sophomore and the Arlington Matron as a 4-year-old, and is now one of the most prominent broodmares in the world. Five years ago, Nancy Vanier's Southern Playgirl went on to win Keeneland's Grade II Alcibiades by five lengths after a score in the local fixture. However, that filly's promising future was cut short during her 3-year-old season.
Again this year, the possible Lassie field is promising, and should be headed by Ron & Ricki Rashinski's Vicki Vallencourt, heroine of the $75,000 Top Flight here September 1.
Dr. & Mrs. Smiser West & Mr. & Mrs. Mackenzie Miller's Don't Ruffle Me is also likely for the Lassie, after finishing second, a head behind Vicki Vallencourt, in that final local prep for the Lassie at the beginning of the month.
Richard, Bertram & Elaine Klein's Exotic Wager, who won her only career start by more than 22 lengths at Turfway Park September 5, is also being pointed for the Lassie by trainer Bernie Flint, as is the Flint-trained Emeraldforajudge, owned by Miles Childers & L.T.B. Inc. That filly was fourth in the Top Flight.
Edgar Diaz' First Again, a Michael Reavis trainee who broke her maiden at Calder Race Course but disappointed in the $100,000 Ellis Park Debutante, is being considered for the Lassie. Reavis won the 1994 Lassie with Flaxbeard, Oliphant & Sharp's Shining Light.
Dan Martin & Jerry Ayres' Joanies Bella, victress in the $100,000 Pepsi Bassinet at River Downs September 1, is a Lassie likely, after winning the $40,000 Tah Dah at the Cincinnati oval earlier in the summer.
Keith Asmussen & Ocean Front Property's Miss Indiana, undefeated in two career starts, one at Keeneland and one at Saratoga, is scheduled for the Lassie, according to trainer Steve Asmussen.
Northwest Farms' Strong Credentials, who was third in the Top Flight after winning the first two starts of her career at Emerald Downs, will try to make amends for that recent defeat.
Mount Joy Stables, Inc's Lemon Haze, who broke her maiden by two and a half lengths on Arlington Million Day, August 19, is another Lassie candidate, as is Ken Spraggins & MWM Stable's Miss Spragg. That Ken Spraggins trainee won the second start of her career impressively.
Trainer Michael Stidham is considering the Lassie for both Three King Stable's Brief Bliss, and Craig B. Singer's Leeward City. Brief Bliss just missed in her most recent start at Turfway September 8 after breaking her maiden by six and a quarter at Churchill Downs when in for a $50,000 tag. Leeward City is still a maiden but has finished on the board in each of her four career starts.
Keith Asmussen & Ocean Front Property's Miss Indiana broke her maiden at first asking with a nose tally in a four and a half-furlong dash last April 11 at Keeneland and was put away for four months.
The daughter of Clever Trick out of a Baldski mare returned to the races August 29 at Saratoga and scored a front-running tally by three and a quarter in allowance company.
Now, she will step up to the plate once again in Saturday's Grade III Arlington-Washington Lassie on behalf of trainer Steve Asmussen.
"It's time to start sorting these fillies out," said Asmussen, when confirming his plans for Miss Indiana's upcoming appearance in this weekend's local highlight. "It's funny. We reward these fillies after a good race with a tougher one the next time."
Sportscaster Lou Canellis, who provides commentary on ESPN Radio each day, will make an appearance at Arlington Park from 3 to 5 p.m. on Friday, September 21. Arlington Park will provide Canellis with a $1,000 bankroll to wager on the second through the fifth races, with all proceeds to be donated to a fund for the New York City firefighters and police offcers, and will guarantee a minumum $500 donation.
Canellis will ask fans at Arlington to help him with his selections, then will announce his wagers before each of the four races on Arlington's in-house TV with Christine Gabriel. In addition, on ESPN Radio's website www.espnradio1000.com, Canellis has requested that patrons at any of Arlington's five Trackside OTB facilities make a $2 donation to the cause.
Jilbab, the prime Lassie candidate of five 2-year-old fillies nominated by Godolphin Racing, Inc., for the Grade III event, will not be a starter according to Dave Duggan, Arlington-based assistant for trainer Eoin Harty.
"She's a nice filly, and was being pointed for this event," said Duggan, "but that last race was a hard race for her and it's a little too soon to bring her back."
Jilbab, a daughter of A. P. Indy out of a Machiavellian mare, closed with a bold move to win her most recent start by three-quarters of a length September 8. It was her third start here.
"We just missed too much time with her," said Duggan. "Several times we wanted to start her in races that did not fill.
"However, we are planning on starting Dubai Squire in the Futurity next weekend." Duggan said. The Grade II Arlington-Washington Futurity will be contested September 29 at one mile.
Starting Wednesday, September 19, Arlington is expanding its wagering menu to include superfectas in most races with at least eight betting interests, and no more than one entry. If scratches cause there to be less than eight betting interests, the superfecta will be cancelled.
This Saturday, September 22 is Arlington Park's final Twin Spires Club giveaway. The first 3,000 current or new Twin Spires Club members will receive an Arlington Park sports cooler bag. Registration is free and can be done at the track on Saturday.
Tumbleweed returns for an encore appearance at Arlington's final Miller Lite Party in the Park on Friday, September 21. First post time is 3 p.m.
On September 21, 1976, 16-year-old jockey Steve Cauthen set an Arlington Park record by winning five races on the card, the most by an apprentice jockey on a single program.
On September 21, 1985, less than three weeks after breaking his maiden, Saron Stable's Meadowlake won the $507,200 Arlington-Washington Futurity (GI) by eight and three-quarter lengths.
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