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|Arlington Park Stakes Advance: Stars and Stripes Breeders' Cup Turf (GIII)
Contact: David Zenner
BALLINGARRY SEEKS STARS AND STRIPES REPEAT
California Invader Looms Solid Choice in Holiday Headliner
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (July 2, 2004) -- Marsha Naify, Port Trust & San Gabriel Investments' Ballingarry, a half-length victor in the 2003 Stars and Stripes Breeders' Cup Turf, will carry high weight of 120 pounds as the likely favorite in his attempt to become the first repeat winner in Arlington Park's traditional holiday headliner since Rossi Gold in 1981-83.
The $200,000 Stars and Stripes, a Grade III race for older horses at the marathon distance of a mile and a half on the turf, is part of the Breeders' Cup stakes program and includes $75,000 in purse money for horses eligible to the Breeders' Cup program. Of the nine entrants in Sunday's feature, all but two (the Brazilian-bred Prodigus and Art Variety) are eligible for the purse enhancement.
A 5-year-old son of Sadler's Wells, Ballingarry is winless since capturing last year's Stars and Stripes. The bay horse has been racing in graded stakes company since that race and most recently rallied to finish third in the 11-furlong Grade III Louisville Handicap at Churchill Downs and should appreciate the added distance here. Trained by Laura de Seroux, Ballingarry will have the services of Arlington's leading jockey Rene Douglas and will spot his rivals from four to eight pounds.
Douglas rode the winners of the last three renewals of the Stars and Stripes Breeders' Cup: Falcon Flight in 2001, Cetewayo in 2002 and Ballingarry last summer.
A trio of runners -- Mansell Stables LLC's Quest Star, Chrysalis Stables LLC's Silverfoot and Midnight Cry Stable and Team Victory's Art Variety -- shares the second high impost of 116 pounds in racing secretary Frank Gabriel's weight assignments.
Of these, Quest Star may bring the most impressive set of credentials to the table. The son of Broad Brush most recently ran seventh in the Grade I Manhattan Handicap at Belmont Park on June 5 but was beaten only four lengths for all of it. Earlier this year, the Elliott Walden charge utilized a ground saving trip to win the Grade II Pan American Handicap at Gulfstream Park by a half-length. C. H. Marquez Jr. picks up the mount aboard Quest Star, who will break from the rail, for the first time in the Stars and Stripes.
The Dallas Stewart-trained Silverfoot invades in search of his third straight turf victory and his fourth in his last five trips to the post. Last time out, the son of With Approval rallied from off the pace to win the Louisville Handicap by a nose less than a month after taking top honors in an allowance race over the Churchill Downs turf course. He also captured a pair of allowance races at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans. Former Arlington Park riding champion Robby Albarado makes his first trip of the season to the local oval to guide Silverfoot.
Art Variety may benefit from having a trip over the course. The Pleasant Variety horse prevailed by a head over soft going in the $38,000 Mac Diarmida Handicap contested at the mile and a half Stars and Stripes distance. The Ken McPeek trainee will ridden by Brice Blanc.
McPeek will also send out Prodigus for the Stars and Stripes. The son of Kenetico ran third to his stablemate in the Mac Diarmida. The Brazilian-bred 5-year-old, who is still in search of his first victory in the United States, has been assigned 114 pounds and will be ridden by Eusebio Razo Jr.
Completing the field for the Stars and Stripes (with jockey and weight assignment) are: George Brunacini's Grey Beard (Frank Lovato Jr., 112 pounds); Jerrold Schwartz' Cloudy's Knight (Eduardo Perez, 112); Hiram Polk Jr. & J. David Richardson's Balustrade (James Lopez, 112); and James Messineo's Major Rhythm (114, Earlie Fires).
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 www.arlingtonpark.com.
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