Chicago Barn to Wire


Contact: Graham Ross
(847) 255-4300
Wednesday, September 6, 2000
85th Day


The inaugural running of the $75,000 Top Flight Stakes Saturday will serve as the final local prep for the Grade 3 Arlington-Washington Lassie on Arlington's closing day September 30, and a large field is likely for this weekend preamble.

The connections of nine two-year-old fillies have expressed definite interest in Saturday's six-furlong affair - a sister race to last week's $75,000 Spectacular Bid. The trainers of at least four other juvenile distaffers are still considering a start in this tune-up.

Saturday's feature is named for C. V. Whitney's Top Flight, a foal of 1929 who was elected to the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame in 1966. The filly won the Arlington-Washington Lassie in 1931 and returned to Chicago to capture the Arlington Oaks the following season. She was the only filly to garner both events until Thunderhead Farm's Mariah's Storm equaled that accomplishment in 1994.

Nancy & Pierce D. Boyd's Dixie Kitten, undefeated in two trips to the post, heads those likely for Saturday's Top Flight Stakes. The daughter of Dixie Brass invades from Louisiana Downs where she broke her maiden by six lengths at first asking July 1 and returned August 3 to tally by eight in non-winners of two company.

Brian Griggs & Mike Goetz' She's a Devil Due is the other filly considered likely for the Top Flight that has a two-for-two record, and her two wins came locally. The daughter of Devil His Due out of a Fappiano mare broke her maiden here by six lengths over a sloppy oval July 30, and returned to the winner's circle August 24 after scoring by a length and three-quarters over a fast track.

Choctaw Racing Stable's Spavinaw, a daughter of Allen's Prospect, won the lone start of her career at Saratoga August 12 with a 12-length score in a maiden race restricted to New York-breds. She is trained by Jeff Jacobs.

James Tafel LLC's Scoop, a daughter of Gone West out of a Temperance Hill mare, won her lone trip to the post at six furlongs here August 12 when she was up to be best by a neck. Scoop is conditioned by Gene Cilio, leading trainer in two-year-old starters here through Labor Day with six wins from 15 starters.

Others considered likely at this time for Saturday's sprint are: Stoneaway Farm's Awe That, James W. Orr Jr.'s Dare She Goes, Emily T. & Thomas E. Tabb's Foryoumylove, Premier Equine's Pionjewel, and Rick Scarberry's Star Engagement.

Still possible for the Top Flight are K. & L. Trout Racing LLC's Copewiththiscoyote, Janelle Y. Hembree's Early and Bright, Tom & Joan Roberts, et al's Gold Huntress, and John Wieczorek's Hidden Gem.


Arlington statistician Dave Zenner compiled the following statistics based only on starts during the Summer Festival at Arlington July 12 through September 4.

Leading jockey was no surprise, with Mark Guidry posting 44 wins. Guidry has dominated throughout the summer.

However, the leading trainer was Harvey Vanier, who has been gradually advancing in the overall standings in defense of the leading trainer honors he has garnered for the last five Arlington seasons. Vanier saddled the winners of 14 races.

Second in the jockeys' standings based solely on races during the Summer Festival was jockey Corey Lanerie with 31 wins. Third in the standings was Chris Emigh with 29 trips to the winner's circle.

Second place in the trainers' standings from July 12 through September 4 was a three-way tie between conditioners Wayne Catalano, still leading trainer here in the overall standings, and two other popular and talented veterans - Tom Dorris and Gene Cilio. Those three posed in the winner's circle 12 times during the Festival.

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