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Arlington Park Barn Notes (6/4/04)

Contact: Graham Ross

In today's notes:


Lewis G. Lakin's Saltwater Runner, heroine of Oaklawn's $50,000 Dixie Belle last winter and Prairie Meadows' Goldfinch Stakes this spring, will shoulder the starting top impost of 119 pounds when she heads a field of seven sophomore fillies named to Sunday's featured $38,000 Ribbon Handicap at Arlington Park.

Saltwater Runner, a New Jersey-bred daughter of Salt Lake, made her most recent trip to the post April 29 in Churchill's Grade III La Troienne and finished fifth when asked to extend her speed to seven and a half furlongs. However, she was clearly best in both the Dixie Belle and the Goldfinch when kept to three-quarters of a mile.

Arlington's defending jockey champion Rene Douglas is slated to handle the reins on Saltwater Runner and make up most of the highweight assignment.

Capable of providing strong competition for the probable choice in the wagering is Ashby Thoroughbreds' Bad Kitty, an Illinois-based daughter of Mt. Livermore who is unstarted as a 3-year-old but captured Hawthorne's $40,000 Miss Mommy Stakes as a juvenile last fall. After breaking her maiden at the end of August, the Hugh Robertson trainee finished eighth in the Grade III Arlington-Washington Lassie on closing day of Arlington's 2003 season.

Bad Kitty, who shares the next highest Ribbon impost of 116 pounds, has Chris Emigh listed for the saddle.

Also with 116 pounds in Sunday's Ribbon is Alnoff Stable's undefeated Home Court, who broke her maiden at first asking last summer at Saratoga, then made her sophomore bow May 16 at Churchill Downs and tallied by a half-length in that allowance race at six furlongs. Veteran reinsman Craig Perret, aboard last time at the Twin Spires oval, is named in the irons once again astride the Ken McPeek trainee.

Completing the Ribbon field are Overbrook Farm's Fashion Girl, 115, Greta Kuntzweiler in the saddle; Russell L. Reineman Stable Inc.'s Silver Crown, 115, James Graham doing the booting; Ladnier Stables Inc.'s Bold Bayou Baby, 116, current leading rider Cruz Contreras listed in the saddle; and Richard H. Glander's Anapest, 113, Eddie Razo Jr. up.


Apprentice jockey Cruz Contreras, currently leading rider at Arlington Park, will be honored Friday in winner's circle ceremonies as Jockey of the Month for May at the Chicago oval.

Trainer Christine Janks, whose conditioning skills were highlighted in May when she visited the winner's circle twice with first time starters on a single program, was named Arlington's Trainer of the Month, and James B. Tafel was selected Arlington's May Owner of the Month. Janks and Tafel also have races named in their honor during Friday's program.

Contreras won 18 races from 77 mounts in May, also finished second six times and rode eight third-place finishers.

Janks saddled four winners from seven starters in May, while also saddling one runner-up as well as two third-place finishers.

Tafel, whose silks were represented five times in May, won three of those races and finished second in another.


With showers predicted in the New York area Saturday on Belmont Stakes Day, Arlington-based trainer Angel Medina was asked how he expected Caiman to run if the track were muddy for the final leg of the Triple Crown.

"I don't know," Medina said Friday morning, speaking over the phone from Belmont Park "He's never run on it, but he'd never run on grass either before his last start at Hawthorne May 1, and he won that race. You'll never know how they are going to do in any race if you stay in the stall."

Chicago Thoroughbred racing fans can watch and wager on Saturday's Belmont Stakes at Arlington Park, where a simulcast of the race will be offered at 5:38 p.m. (CDT) in addition to 10 live races from Arlington.

Racing's current super star, Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Smarty Jones, could become the first Triple Crown winner in 26 years should he win Saturday's Belmont Stakes.

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