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|Arlington Park Barn Notes (5/11/04)
Contact: Graham Ross
In today's notes:
Marley's Revenge, who breezed Monday at Arlington in preparation for Friday's opening day Arlington Park feature race, is one projected starter who won't be affected by the uncertain weather conditions predicted for the rest of the week in Chicagoland.
"He ran well when he won the Hansel Stakes on a sloppy track at Turfway March 20," said trainer Dale Bennett Tuesday morning outside Barn 9B on the Arlington backstretch, "and when he breezed here Monday on a fast track he went very well. Actually, he went a little faster than I wanted him to go (three-eighths in :35.40), but he was well within himself so I'm not too concerned."
Marley's Revenge, owned by Plaine Enterprises Inc. & Wayne Bessler, should be one of the choices in Friday's $38,000 Shecky Greene Handicap for 3-year-olds at six furlongs. The gray gelding is one of 26 horses Bennett will be campaigning at Arlington this summer. The 31-year-old Michigan native is the son of conditioner Gerald Bennett, one of Michigan's leading trainers. The younger Bennett increased the size of his own local string considerably since last summer, and is looking forward to Arlington's 2004 meeting.
"I think I'm sitting on a big season," said Bennett, who has been training on his own for six years. "I won eight races at Hawthorne this spring, and I'm hoping it will all carry over here. I've picked up some new owners, including the Savoy Stable, and my horses seem to be doing well right now.
"Last season, I didn't have as many horses as I do now, but I was able to claim a horse named Play It Again Leo for $14,000 and take him through all his conditions here so I was proud of that. As for 'Marley,' I expect him to run well Friday. He's been a sprinter so far, but assuming he runs the way I think he will, I may stretch him out to a mile and try him on the turf course in the Awad Handicap June 5."
Others expected for Friday's Shecky Greene are Stonerside Stable LLC's Danieltown, Pin Oak Stable LLC's Intrinsic Worth, Jaguar on The Run Stable's Jaguar Friend, and Dare To Dream Stable LLC's Wall Street Afleet.
Marc D. Goldish & Savoy Stable's Smoke Chaser, one of the projected starters in Saturday's $40,000-added Fit For A Queen Stakes on the second racing day of the 2004 Arlington Park season, breezed three furlongs in :36 flat at Arlington Monday.
"It was exactly what I was looking for," said trainer Dale Bennett. "She galloped out in :48 so she's as fit as she can get."
Smoke Chaser comes into Saturday six-furlong sprint for fillies and mares off a seven and three-quarter-length victory in a conditioned allowance race at Hawthorne April 23.
However, among the Kentucky-bred's projected rivals Saturday is Richard Otto Stable Inc.'s Summer Mis, Illinois Horse of the Year in 2003, and most recently heroine of Hawthorne's $100,000 Governor's Lady Handicap April 10.
Summer Mis won four races at Arlington last summer, including the $84,550 Isaac Murphy Handicap last June 21. The 5-year-old mare, a daughter of 1990 Preakness winner Summer Squall, captured Keeneland's Grade III Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes Oct. 12.
Other members of the distaff set expected for the Fit For A Queen are Cherrywood Racing Stables II's Pass the Pepper, second to Smoke Chaser last time, and Cobra Farm Inc.'s Fresh Tracks, third in Belmont's $65,000 Xtra Heat Stakes last June 27 before being sidelined until a recent fourth-place effort in the allowance ranks at Keeneland April 14.
Thoroughbred racing fans throughout Chicagoland are reminded that they can come out to Arlington Park Saturday to watch and wager on the Grade I Preakness Stakes, middle jewel of the 2004 Triple Crown, where Kentucky Derby winner Smarty Jones will attempt to continue his chance to become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.
However, Saturday is also Armed Forces Day throughout the nation, giving all Americans a chance to honor all members of the Armed Forces, past and present.
Armed Forces ceremonies at Arlington will include military vehicles on display at the grandstand entrance horseshoe driveway when the gates open at 11:15 a.m., recruiters with informational tables across from the Grand Staircase, the 20-piece Navy Band Great Lakes performing on the apron following Mrs. Ellen Irwin singing the National Anthem with the Black Sheep Squadron behind her, local talent Elle Gerdes and the Paulist Alumni Choir singing patriotic songs, and individual races dedicated to various branches of the Armed Forces throughout Saturday afternoon.
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