Chicago Barn to Wire


Contact: Graham Ross
(847) 255-4300
Friday, September 08, 2000
87th Day


Gregory D. Hawkins' Campanile, an Illinois-bred gelding who swept both of Saratoga's prestigious steeplechasing stakes a year ago, returns Sunday as a native son of the Prairie State to head a field of six in the first steeplechase event conducted at Arlington in 16 years.

The St. James Cup will be contested at about two miles and an eighth over National Fences and is restricted to four-year-olds and upward. Earlier in the afternoon, there will be a $25,000 Sport of Kings maiden hurdle race that has attracted nine entrants. That race will also be at 17 furlongs.

Steeplechasing, an integral part of thoroughbred racing that adds the thrill of jumping to the speed of flat racing, is a sport that originated in the British Isles around the time of the American Revolution. As a combination of horse racing and fox hunting, steeplechasing was introduced to Canada and the United States around the period of the Civil War.

In his most recent start in this year's Grade 1 New York Turf Writers Cup at Saratoga August 24, Campanile finished second, beaten three and a half lengths in the same race he had won in 1999. The six-year-old made the pace and continued on gamely to be easily second best although unable to stay with the winner.

Earlier during this year's summer season at the upstate New York oval, Campanile had captured the Grade 2 A. P. Smithwick Memorial Handicap by two and three-quarters lengths, his second straight score in that test.

Campanile, who won the Grade 1 Carolina Cup at Camden in his first start of the year, will shoulder the top impost of 158 pounds in the St. James Cup, most of which will be made up by jockey Blythe Miller.

Opposing Campanile, in order of highweights, are: Claytonville Stables' Golden Rule, 148, Craig Thorton; Warren R. Dempsey's Soaringoverseattle, 144, Roger Horgan; Augustin Stables' Invest West, 142, Arch Kingsley Jr.; The Fields Stable's Approaching Squall, 140, Cyril Murphy; and Vesta Balestiere's Rarity Bay, 138, Vincent Marzullo.

British-bred Golden Rule, beaten less than three lengths by Campanile in the A. P. Smithwick, when in receipt of four pounds, gets an additional four-pound advantage Sunday and appears the one to beat. The altered son of Emarati won the Grade 2 Marc Frost at Percy Warner by 12 lengths in May.

THIRD HIGHEST HANDLE HEADS ARLINGTON'S THURSDAY Yesterday's total handle on Arlington's races was $5,119,371 - the third highest of the current season at Chicago's premier thoroughbred oval. The highest total was wagered Arlington Million Day on Saturday, August 19, when $12,367,768 passed through the windows during the International Festival of Racing.

The second largest handle of the Arlington International season was recorded Friday, August 4 when $5,174,713 was wagered during a twilight racing program.


Word has been received of the death of Ray Freeark - one of the most influential people in Illinois racing - who died of Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma near his home in Rancho Santa Fe, California on August 12.

Freeark, born December 15, 1925 in Chicago, had a lifelong interest in horse racing and founded, edited and published the Illinois Thoroughbred magazine.

Freeark, a Belleville attorney, was appointed to the Illinois Racing Board in 1972. In 1975 he was selected as the Illinois Division HBPA Man of the Year, and in 1976 as the National HBPA Man of the Year.

His legal effort on behalf of breeders did much to establish and maintain the breeding industry in Illinois.

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