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Arlington Park Barn Notes (5/31/04)

Contact: Graham Ross

In today's notes:


The Richard Hazelton-trained duo of Echota and Prairie King, both owned by the Asiel Stable of Richard and Gail Radke, are considered as likely starters in an early look at Saturday's Arlington Park highlight: the $38,000 Awad Handicap. The sophomore test is scheduled at one mile over the Arlington turf course.

Echota, assigned 116 pounds for Saturday by Arlington racing secretary and handicapper Frank Gabriel Jr., has won three straight, including his most recent turf debut over the lawn at Hawthorne May 7.

Stablemate Prairie King, who was given 115 pounds by Gabriel, captured Hawthorne's $100,000 Land of Lincoln Stakes in his last trip to the post April 10, but has not yet run over grass during his six lifetime starts.

Arlington-based Caiman, assigned co-highweight of 118 pounds for Saturday's Awad, will be in New York to face Smarty Jones in the Belmont Stakes as that horse attempts to become the first Triple Crown winner in 26 years. (Chicagoland Thoroughbred racing fans can come to Arlington to watch and wager on the 135th running of the Grade I Belmont Stakes Saturday.)

Intrinsic Worth, also assigned 118 pounds for Saturday's Awad, remains under consideration but is more likely to be a starter if the race is transferred to the main track.

Asked to carry 116 pounds in Saturday's Awad, and likely to accept the assignment, is Rails & Foster's Up Anchor, unstarted since seventh in Gulfstream's $60,000 Dave Feldman Stakes Jan. 18, and seventh in Calder's Grade III Tropical Park Derby before that on New Year's Day.

DiVito, Battaglia, Dowd & Leclair's Primm, slated to tote 113 pounds in the Awad and another likely starter, was most recently third May 21 at Arlington in a mile and an eighth race that was taken off the grass course.

Clinton C. & Susan A. Atkins' Saltire, also likely for the Awad and also with 113, won a six-furlong sprint at Arlington May 15. Previously, over Keeneland's grass course April 3, the Kingmambo colt made the pace but tired late when asked to go a mile and a sixteenth.

Virginia Inman's Respectabeau, with the Awad's lightest assignment of 112 pounds, is considered a likely starter Saturday after breaking his maiden impressively with a front-running four and a half-length score in his first grass start and most recent trip to the post May 9 at Hawthorne.


Arlington Park jockey Larry Sterling Jr., increasingly recognizable on the national scene after winning the 2002 Illinois Derby aboard War Emblem, was looking forward to a brief trip to Japan this weekend until time constraints procuring a passport forced him to decline the assignment Sunday.

Sterling, one of the most underrated riders currently keeping his tack in Illinois, was slated to ride Grade I winner Island Fashion in Sunday's $1.6 million Yaskuda Kinen Stakes at Tokyo Racecourse, but the short notice of the prospective mount did not allow enough time for completion of the proper paperwork.

"It's a shame," said Sterling Sunday at Arlington between races. "I really think she has an excellent chance to win that race. There just wasn't enough time for me to get a passport.

"I was out in California last week and Kent Desormeaux told me he wasn't going to be able to go, and for a little while it looked like I had the mount. It just didn't quite work out."

Trainer Marcelo Polanco has now named jockey Iggy Puglisi to ride Island Fashion when she faces males in Tokyo's one-mile Group I grass test.


Churchill-based trainer Pete Vestal, who saddled Charles J. Cella's Crafty Shaw to win Saturday's Grade III Hanshin Cup at Arlington Park, reported both good news and bad news when he returned a call to the Arlington press box Sunday afternoon.

The good news: "Crafty Shaw came out of the race very well," said Vestal from his Louisville barn. "I'm looking at him right now and his legs look clean and cold. He looks just great."

The bad news: "They just told us (over the loudspeaker in Churchill's barn area) that we are now under a tornado watch," the trainer said. (Churchill's Sunday program was subsequently cancelled after four races, although no tornado touched down at the Twin Spires oval)

Chris Block, trainer of Hanshin runner-up Apt to Be, also reported that his trainee, the 7-year-old gelding owned by Richard L. Duchossois, came out of the Hanshin "real well."

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