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Arlington Park Stakes Advance: Washington Park Handicap (GII)

Contact: David Zenner


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (July 29, 2004) -- Wertheimer & Frere's Olmodavor, highweighted at 121 pounds, and recent Grade I stakes winner Lakeside Farm LLC's Colonial Colony head a compact but classy field of five for the Grade II Washington Park Handicap Saturday at Arlington Park.

Saturday's historic headliner, run at a mile and three-sixteenths on the main track, is observing its 71st renewal. With its $350,000 purse, it is the richest dirt race of the 2004 Arlington Park season.

Past winners of the Washington Park include Hall of Fame horses such as Armed, Coaltown, Swaps, Round Table, Gun Bow, Dr. Fager, and Spectacular Bid, as well as Arlington-based Black Tie Affair, Horse of the Year in 1991.

Olmodavor invades from Southern California where the son of A. P. Indy most recently finished second to Total Impact in the Grade I $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup. Previously on the West Coast, the Richard Mandella-trained 5-year-old ran fourth in the both the Grade II Mervyn LeRoy Handicap at Hollywood and the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap. A winner in five of 14 starts including the Grade III Native Diver Handicap at Hollywood and the Grade III Whirlaway Handicap at the Fair Grounds, Olmodavor will be ridden for the first time in the Washington Park Handicap by Kentucky-based reinsman John McKee.

Colonial Colony ships in from Churchill Downs after upsetting his rivals at odds of 62-1 in the Grade I Stephen Foster Handicap in June. Following that score, the Walter Bindner-trained son of Pleasant Colony ran fourth in the Grade I Suburban Handicap at Belmont Park on July 3. In that mile and a quarter race, Colonial Colony was beaten only a length for all of it by Peace Rules. Rafael Bejarano, North America's leading rider in races won, has the mount aboard Colonial Colony, who shares second highweight of 118 pounds.

Also in with 118 pounds is John D. Murphy Sr.'s The Lady's Groom. A son of Runaway Groom, The Lady's Groom finished second in the $100,000 R. R. M. Carpenter Jr. Memorial Handicap at Delaware Park in his last start. Prior to that, the Michael Gorham-trained 4-year-old finished third, beaten only a neck by Offlee Wild and Funny Side, in the Grade II Massachusetts Handicap at Suffolk Downs. Norberto Arroyo Jr. gets the call.

Adele B. Dilschneider and Claiborne Farm's Congrats arrives from Belmont Park following a fifth-place finish in the Grade II Brooklyn Handicap last month at Belmont Park. Earlier this year, the A. P. Indy 4-year-old won back-to-back races in Kentucky including the $100,000 Alysheba Stakes at Churchill Downs on April 30. Rene Douglas, Arlington Park's leading rider, gets the call to ride the Claude McGaughey III-trained colt, who will carry 116 pounds Saturday.

Completing the well-matched field for Washington Park Handicap is John D. Gunther's Eye of the Tiger. A son of American Chance, Eye of the Tiger has been running middle distances of late, winning a third-level allowance race over one mile in his last start at Belmont Park. Earlier this year, the Kiaran McLaughlin charge finished third in the Grade I Carter Handicap at Aqueduct. Eye of the Tiger will carry 115 pounds Saturday including rider Eusebio Razo Jr.

Arlington Park -- the Chicago area's premier Thoroughbred racetrack located in Arlington Heights, Ill. -- is running 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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