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Arlington Park Barn Notes (6/9/04)

Contact: Graham Ross

In today's notes:


Pope McLean's Princess Pelona, no disappointment when victorious in Arlington's $38,000 Reluctant Guest Handicap May 22 as the odds-on choice of the fans, is likely to try again in Saturday's headliner -- the $75,000 Estrapade Handicap -- regardless of weather and track conditions.

The Reluctant Guest, originally scheduled for the turf course, was taken off the grass and run over a muddy track. Princess Pelona made the pace throughout and splashed home four and a half lengths in front of her nearest rival.

The Estrapade is scheduled at a mile and a sixteenth over the Arlington lawn, but forecasts of rain in Chicagoland later this week could once again preclude the 4-year-old daughter of El Prado's grass debut this Saturday.

"We're anxious to see if she likes the grass," said Greg Geier, conditioner of Princess Pelona, "but if it rains, you know we're going to run anyway."

El Prado has enjoyed success as a sire of grass runners, but Princess Pelona has already proved herself on the main track. The homebred was third beaten only two and a half in the $100,000 Chou Croute Handicap on the main track at the Fair Grounds Feb. 21 following three straight earlier wins over that New Orleans surface.


Butterfly Stable's Hail Hillary breezed a half-mile in :48 Tuesday morning at Arlington in preparation for Saturday's $75,000 Estrapade Handicap.

"We're planning on running," said trainer Dave Kassen. "However, if it comes off the grass I don't think we'll go. Also, I don't think she likes the turf course if it's real, real soft."

Hail Hillary won her last start by two and a quarter May 13 in a one-mile turf test at Churchill Downs over a course rated "good."

Barr H. Inman's Delicatessa, another projected starter in the Estrapade, also breezed four furlongs locally on Tuesday, getting the distance in :50.60.

Although fourth in her last two trips to the post, Delicatessa surprised in last summer's Estrapade, lighting up the tote board with a $72.40 win mutuel over a course rated "yielding."


"NTRA Super Saturday," five shows of horseracing coverage airing on ABC or ESPN for the first time this year, will make its debut Saturday on ESPN with a two-hour telecast (3-5 p.m. CDT) featuring five graded stakes from four different tracks with reporters stationed at each venue. "NTRA Super Saturday" will air one Saturday a month, except for a special Sunday edition, through October.

With the 2004 Visa Triple Crown Challenge now in the history books, this week's "NTRA Super Saturday" show ushers in the second half of the horseracing season: the run up to Oct. 30 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, to be held at Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie outside Dallas. Featured on the "NTRA Super Saturday" will be live races from each of the eight Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships divisions. These races are critical in determining which horses make it to Lone Star Park at the end of October.

In addition to presenting the races, which will carry total purses worth more than $2 million each week, each show will also feature a $400,000 guaranteed National Pick 4 wager, a bet that allows fans to pick the winners of four of the televised races. These wagers can result in hefty payoffs.

Headlining Saturday's program is a pair of Grade I events: the Stephen Foster Handicap from Churchill Downs in Louisville, and the Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap from Hollywood Park in Southern California. Also scheduled are three Grade II contests: the Brooklyn Handicap from New York's Belmont Park, the Fleur de Lis Handicap from Churchill Downs and the Ohio Derby from Thistledown in Cleveland.


Although Cresran LLC's Sue's Good News is among the nominees to Saturday's $75,000 Estrapade Handicap on the grass, the heroine of last year's Grade III Singapore Plate is more likely to be a participant in the Grade III Chicago Breeders' Cup Handicap one week later on June 19 over the main track at Arlington.

"We'll try it again one of these days," said trainer Steve Hobby, speaking of a second start over the Arlington lawn for Sue's Good News following a seventh-place finish in last year's Grade III Pucker Up Stakes, "but right now we're looking at that seven-eighths race June 19."

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