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Arlington Park Barn Notes (6/23/04)

Contact: Graham Ross

In today's notes:


Arthur I. Appleton's Icy Atlantic, who came from off the pace to capture Monmouth's Grade III Jersey Derby by a length and a quarter on Memorial Day, heads a list of seven late nominations to the Mid-America Triple, Arlington's traditional three-race summer turf series for grass favoring sophomores stars.

The Grade II Arlington Classic, presented by Woodford Reserve, is the first leg of this summer's Triple and will be run at a mile and a sixteenth July 3. Next comes the Grade II American Derby, presented by Jack Daniel's, at a mile and three-sixteenths over the Arlington lawn July 24. The series concludes with the Grade I Secretariat at a mile and a quarter Aug. 14.

The Secretariat is one of three Grade I races that make up the International Festival of Racing at Arlington Park on Arlington Million Day. Also run that day along with the Million and the $400,000 Secretariat is the $750,000 Beverly D., restricted to fillies and mares, an event long considered the sister race to the Million.

The American Derby, Arlington's oldest stakes race, is observing its 90th running this summer, and is part of Arlington's Million Preview Day. Also slated for that afternoon are the Grade III Arlington Handicap, the final major local prep for the Million, and the Grade III Modesty Handicap, which serves in that same capacity for the Beverly D.

Jersey Derby hero Icy Atlantic is trained by Todd Pletcher, who saddled J. J. Pletcher & Barry Simon's Lismore Knight to win last year's Arlington Classic.

Another interesting late nomination to the Mid-America Triple is the European-campaigned filly Mystical Girl, owned by T T Bloodstocks. The Kentucky-bred daughter of Rahy finished third to male rivals in the Vodaphone Live! Stakes on Epsom Derby Day June 5.

Other late nominations to the Mid-America Triple are David E. Garner's Cool Conductor, conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott and third in Churchill's Grade III Jefferson Cup June 12; Jerry Crawford's Count On the Tuna, a winner of his last two at the Twin Spires oval; and Tom R. Durant's No Place Like It, hero of the Pin Oak Stud USA Stakes at Lone Star Park on May 31.

Other late Mid-America Triple nominations: Gene Voss, Abbott Properties & Hardeman LLC's Old Deuteronomy, a winner of his last in Louisville over the grass last Sunday, and Greg Besinger's Summer Book, who broke his maiden with a five-length tally at Arlington June 16.


Judy Cristel & Charles J. Sigrist's Samantha B., who is being asked to shoulder the top impost of 119 pounds in Saturday's $75,000-added Lincoln Heritage Handicap, and Carolyn & Harry Disko's I Can Fan Fan, next in the weights at 118 for that filly and mare turf test, are both trained by Illinois-based Mark Cristel and both are scheduled to participate.

Samantha B. won at last asking May 29 here over a turf course rated "yielding,' and was claimed by her present connections out of that race.

"She (Samantha B.) can win when it's yielding, but she also won over 'firm' going at Gulfstream last winter," said Cristel Wednesday morning.

"I Can Fan Fan will also run in the Lincoln Heritage," said Cristel. "She really loves the turf course at Arlington. She didn't run well in her last race, but that was at Hawthorne. She likes it much better here."

Richard Otto Stable Inc.'s Summer Mis, the 2003 Illinois Horse of the Year assigned the highweight of 128 for Saturday's $75,000-added Isaac Murphy Handicap, will not be a starter in that six-furlong sprint for members of the distaff set.

"We're not going to enter," said trainer Tony Mitchell Wednesday morning. "The biggest reason is the safety thing. She can't keep carrying all this weight she has been getting in her recent starts. I can't keep doing that to her. I've got to look after her and protect her for her career as a broodmare. It's a shame, but my number one concern is the horse."

Team Block's Mystery Giver, 2002 Illinois Horse of the Year, and highweight of 127 pounds in Saturday's $75,000-added Cardinal Handicap, will be entered but whether or not he will run remains a question.

Mystery Giver, third at last asking in the Grade I Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day, won the Grade II Mervyn Muniz Jr. Handicap in New Orleans in his previous start. The Dynaformer gelding breezed in a half in :48 3/5 a little after 10 a. m. Monday at Arlington, with Eddie Razo Jr. in the irons.

"He's doing fine and he's ready to run," said trainer Chris Block Wednesday morning, "but because of the weight we'll decide when we get a little closer to the race if he'll go."

Ben Dover Stable's Take Achance On Me, assigned the highweight in Saturday's $75,000-added White Oak Handicap at Arlington, left by van for Canada Wednesday morning for an alternate engagement in Woodbine's Grade III Highlander Handicap. That six-furlong sprint on Sunday offers a purse of $200,000-added.

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