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Arlington Park Barn Notes (5/29/04)

Contact: Graham Ross

In today's notes:


Act of War, Ivan Jay Perry and Stormy Impact all merit consideration among a field of 11 older horses named to Monday's $40,000-added Mister Gus Stakes at Arlington Park.

The featured Memorial Day event, run on one of three Monday racing days at Chicago's Northwest Thoroughbred oval this summer, will be contested at one mile over Arlington's world famous turf course. The race will have a gross value of $42,750 if the field remains intact, with a $25,650 share of that sum going to the owners of the winner.

Act of War, owned by R N R Breeders II, is a 6-year-old son of Lord At War who has been equally at home on both grass and dirt during his career. The Greg Geier trainee was most recently third, beaten less than a length for the win, in the $100,000 Milwaukee Avenue Stakes April 10 over the main track at Hawthorne, but was a fast closing fourth, beaten less than four lengths, in his previous start over the Fair Grounds lawn Feb. 28. Chris Emigh is named to handle the reins Monday, making up most of the 118 pounds.

Ivan Jay Perry, who races in the silks of Steve Sawatske, finished second beaten less than three lengths in his last start May 16 at Arlington when negotiating a turf course labeled "yielding." Previously, over firm going at Hawthorne May 2, the Harvey Vanier-trained 8-year-old gelding finished fifth, but was beaten less than two lengths for the win. Eddie Razo Jr. has the riding assignment at 118.

Stormy Impact, owned by Jerrold Schwartz, finished third, a neck behind Ivan Jay Perry in that May 16 race over the yielding going at Arlington, and sixth, a half-length behind him May 2 at Hawthorne. Trained by Frank Kirby, Stormy Impact will have Arlington's defending jockey champion Rene Douglas aboard at 118 pounds.

Completing the field for Monday's Mister Gus are Mark & John Sutherland & Whipoorwill Farm Inc.'s Missme, 122, Jason Lumpkins; Frank C. Calabrese's Flamin' Jolie, 118, Earlie Fires; Chris Jean's Gigawatt, 118, Carlos H. Marquez Jr.; J S Cubed Stables' Holy Conflict, 120, Frank Lovato Jr.; Louie J. Roussel III's Intern, 120, Randy Meier; Richard A. Kaster's Play It Out, 118, Cruz Contreras; Millard Seldin & the Estate of Hoss Inman's Purplest, 118, Jesse Campbell; and Gordon, Gonzalez & Knapp's Sir Joe Kelly, 118, Eduardo Perez.


Victor Achar's Caiman, nominated to Monday's Mister Gus Stakes at Arlington following two straight wins at Hawthorne this spring, was not entered in that grass test but is currently being considered for a possible start in the 135th running of the Belmont Stakes June 5.

"The owner told me earlier this week he wanted to run there," said trainer Angel Medina Saturday morning at Arlington. "The news came like a bomb to me, but so far we have not been able to find the right rider. If we don't hear by tonight from one of the jockeys we have in mind, we will not go. If we are going to New York, the van would leave early tomorrow, so we have to make a final decision by tonight."

Caiman broke his maiden as a 2-year-old last Aug. 30 in Mexico and graduated from the non-winners of two ranks there Oct. 17 with an impressive eight-length score.

Brought to Gulfstream last winter for the Grade III Holy Bull Stakes Jan. 17, Caiman was jostled around in the early going and finished eighth behind Triple Crown hopefuls that included Friends Lake, eventual winner of the Grade I Florida Derby. Then he finished third, three and a half lengths behind the ill-fated Wynn Dot Comma and the Zito-trained Eurosilver in the Grade III Swale Stakes March 13.

Shipped to Hawthorne, Caiman won an allowance race at first asking April 9 and followed that with another Southside tally May 1 in his first effort on the grass.

"This would be a lifelong dream for me," said Achar, 72, a Mexican businessman, Friday evening at Arlington. "To run in a race like this would be very, very special. Smarty Jones is a top horse and I like his chances of winning the Triple Crown. I am not saying we can beat him but I would like to try."

Caiman breezed five furlongs in 1:05 Saturday morning at Arlington Park.

"After every work, he's not even tired," said Medina, a 62-year-old native of Caracas, Venezuela. "I think this horse can go any distance."

Included among Medina's upsets during his American training career: My Luck Runs North defeated two-time Breeders' Cup Mile winner Lure in Keeneland's Grade II Lexington Stakes in 1992. Also, in 1988, Medina's All Sincerity defeated 1985 Belmont Stakes winner Crème Fraiche in Calder's Grade II W. L. McKnight Handicap.

Most recently, in 2001 the Medina-conditioned American Halo beat multiple Grade I winner Sir Bear in Gulfstream's Grade III Skip Away Handicap.


Apprentice jockeys James Graham and Cruz Contreras shared riding honors Friday at Arlington Park. Each rode three winners on the twilight racing program.

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