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Arlington Park Stakes Advance: Hanshin Cup (Grade III)

Contact: David Zenner


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (May 27, 2004) -- Apt to Be, who races in the colors of Arlington Park Chairman Richard L. Duchossois, has accepted co-starting highweight of 119 pounds in defense of his title in the Grade III Hanshin Cup Saturday at the suburban Chicago oval. The $100,000 Hanshin Cup is a one-mile race for 3-year-olds and up and will be run as the ninth of 10 races on the Saturday card.

Trained by Chris Block, Apt to Be is making just his second start of the season in the Hanshin. In his lone prep for this year's running, the 7-year-old gelding finished seventh in an allowance race at Hawthorne Race Course on the turf, which is not his preferred surface.

In his 2003 campaign, which was highlighted by his Hanshin score, the son of Rahy was three for five with all of his victories coming over the Arlington dirt, where he is eight for 11 overall. Equally impressive is his record at the Hanshin distance of one mile: six wins and two seconds from nine starts at the distance.

C. H. Marquez Jr. picks up the mount on Apt to Be, who starts from the outside post in the field of seven.

Sharing the top impost with Apt to Be is Charles J. Cella's Crafty Shaw. The son of Crafty Prospector comes into the Hanshin off a runner-up finish in the Grade III Fifth Season Stakes at Oaklawn Park. Previously, the Peter Vestal-trained horse ran second in the Grade III Razorback Handicap and third in the Grade III Essex Handicap, also at the central Arkansas oval. His lone victory of the year came in his first outing when he captured a one-mile allowance race there. Craig Perret comes in to ride Crafty Shaw, who starts from post five.

Slated to face the highweights (with jockey and weight assignment) are: Pacella, Rizza & Schwed's Wiggins (Eusebio Razo Jr., 118 pounds); Lee Battaglia & James P. DiVito's Coach Jimi Lee (Rene Douglas, 117); Linne & Nancy Calkins & C. B. Racing Inc.'s Fighting Indians (Ray Sibille, 113); Farefellow Farms Ltd.'s Kodema (Jose Martinez Jr., 116); and Michael & Judy Crowe's Attack the Books (Shane Laviolette, 115).

Wiggins, champion Illinois-bred 3-year-old of 2003, returns to his homebase after scoring a front-stepping victory in an allowance race at Prairie Meadows in Iowa in his most recent start on May 4. In his only other trip to the post this season, the Tony Granitz-trained 4-year-old ran second in the $92,000 Milwaukee Avenue Handicap over Illinois-breds at Hawthorne on April 10.

Last year, the son of Cartwright was five for seven including open company stakes scores in the $100,000 Round Table Stakes here and the $76,000 Prairie Meadows Derby. He has three wins over this course and has never finished worse than third in six starts at Arlington.

The speedy Coach Jimi Lee will try to stretch out to a mile for the Hanshin. Last time out, he finished a close second after making the pace for most of the way in the 5-furlong Prairie Express Stakes at Prairie Meadows. Earlier this year, the Jim DiVito charge was competitive against graded stakes rivals in Florida, finishing third behind Alke and Cajun Beat, last year's Breeders' Cup Sprint victor, in the Grade III Deputy Minister Handicap at Gulfstream Park. He also posted a runner-up finish in the Grade II Richter Scale Breeders' Cup Handicap at that Hallandale Beach, Florida, racetrack.

Last season, the son of Roar won five races including a track record setting performance at Hawthorne when he covered six furlongs in a blistering 1:07.27. He also had stakes tallies in the Lost Code Breeders' Cup and Zany Tactic stakes at Hawthorne, and the Shecky Greene and Forward Pass stakes at Arlington.

Arlington Park -- the Chicago area's premier Thoroughbred racetrack located in Arlington Heights, Ill. -- will run a 96-day meet in 2004 from Friday, May 14 through Sunday, Sept. 19. Arlington Park, whose parent company is Churchill Downs Incorporated (Nasdaq: CHDN), also operates eight off-track, simulcast-wagering facilities: Trackside Arlington Park (Arlington Heights), Trackside Quad City Downs (East Moline), Trackside Chicago, Trackside McHenry, Trackside Rockford, Trackside South Beloit, Trackside Waukegan and Longshots featuring Trackside OTB in South Elgin. Information on Arlington Park can be found online at

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