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Horse slaughter in Illinois
|Arlington Park Barn Notes (6/11/04)
Contact: Graham Ross
In today's notes:
Brazilian-bred Art Variety, stakes-placed in two Grade III affairs in Kentucky this spring, looms a strong choice when he heads a field of six named to Sunday's $38,000 Mac Diarmida Handicap, a mile and a half turf test for 3-year-olds and up that serves as the featured event on the program.
Trained by Ken McPeek and owned by Team Victory II, Art Variety was most recently fourth in Churchill's Grade III Louisville Handicap over a yielding course on Memorial Day at the Twin Spires oval. Before that the 6-year-old was third in Keeneland's Grade III Elkhorn over a course rated "good" in Lexington. The two outings were at a mile and three-eighths and a mile and a half respectively.
Last season, Art Variety was first under the wire in the Grade III Kentucky Cup Turf Handicap at Kentucky Downs but was disqualified and placed third. Late season efforts included disappointing efforts in the Grade I Canadian International at Woodbine and the Grade II W. L. McKnight Handicap at Calder. Jockey Jose Martinez Jr. gets the riding assignment on Art Variety and will make up most of the starting highweight of 119 pounds.
Next in the Mac Diarmida weights at 116 pounds are Late Night Stables LLC's Prodigus, another Brazilian-bred trained by McPeek, and Richard L. Duchossois' National Anthem, a British-bred conditioned by Chris Block.
Prodigus won three straight Group II outings in Brazil early last year before finishing far back in the Group I Sao Paulo in his final South American start. To date, the 5-year-old has not won in six American starts, but defending jockey champion Rene Douglas, a master of the turf, is named to handle the reins on Sunday.
National Anthem, third in Arlington's $100,000 John Henry Handicap two years ago over a "yielding" course, was sent to Southern California following that local appearance finished third in the Grade II San Fernando Breeders' Cup at Bay Meadows, again over "yielding" going. Carlos Marquez Jr. gets the riding assignment.
Completing the field for the Mac Diarmida is Michele Boyce's Blackinton, 115, Greta Kuntzweiler in the saddle; Louie J. Roussel III's Prospect Green, 113, Randy Meier listed in the tack; and Barr H. Inman's Apalachee Special, 112, Eddie Razo Jr. slated for the irons.
Two separate Pick 4s with exceptionally large guaranteed pools are available for wagering at Arlington Park Saturday.
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association, as part of its first "NTRA Super Saturday" program, is offering a $400,000 guaranteed National Pick 4 wager, and Churchill Downs is presenting a $250,000 guaranteed Pick 4 of its own on the same afternoon.
The Pick 4 is a wager that asks fans to pick the winners of four straight races, and the wager can result in hefty payoffs.
Saturday's initial "NTRA Super Saturday" makes its debut on ESPN (3-5 p.m. CDT) with a telecast featuring five graded stakes from four different tracks, and the guaranteed $400,000 National Pick 4 involves four of those televised races.
Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, is presenting a "Stephen Foster Super Saturday" program with six stakes races worth a total of $1.85 million as part of their 12-race card, and a guaranteed $250,000 Pick 4 involves four of those stakes: all of the graded variety.
Saturday's "Get In The Game" handicapping forum at Arlington's Starting Gate Theatre will feature lessons in how to handicap using equipment change angles, while Sunday's "Get In The Game" forum will feature trainers Christine Janks and Tony Granitz.
Sunday's Junior Jockey Club theme in the paddock at Arlington offers a horseshoe giveaway as well as the appearance of a blacksmith.
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