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Arlington Park Barn Notes (7/2/04)

Contact: Graham Ross

In today's notes:


Internationally renowned conditioner Laura de Seroux has invaded from California to saddle the morning line favorites in both graded stakes at Arlington Park this America's Birthday weekend, and those two turf stars, as well as a third de Seroux trainee, schooled in Arlington's paddock Thursday afternoon while she gave an approving overview of the local lesson.

First to the paddock Thursday and first up during the coming weekend assignments was Saturday's Grade II Arlington Classic favorite Toasted, owned by a trust set up by native Chicago nonagenarian Sidney L. Port.

"If you look at Toasted's past performances, you will see that the only blot on his record was when we gave him a try on the dirt course," said de Seroux, who arrived in Chicago hours earlier on a flight from the West Coast. "We just wanted to give him a look-see to find out if he would handle it. When he didn't, we quickly regrouped."

Although a Kentucky-bred, Toasted began his career in France, and posted two wins and two thirds during his 2-year-old season there before coming to the United States for his current 3-year-old campaign. In his last trip to the post May 22, Toasted was clearly second best in Hollywood Park's Grade III Will Rogers Stakes despite being squeezed back at the start and forced wide. Before that, however, he had captured Santa Anita's $110,000 La Puente Stakes April 10. Both those races were over the lawn.

Saturday's Arlington Classic, presented by Woodford Reserve, is the first of three grass races restricted to sophomores that make up Arlington's Mid-America Triple. The second leg, the Grade II American Derby, presented by Jack Daniel's, will be run as part of Arlington's Million Preview Day July 24, and the final leg, the Grade I Secretariat, will be contested Aug. 14 along with the Grade I Arlington Million and the Grade I Beverly D., as part of Arlington's International Festival of Racing.

This Sunday, on Firecracker Day, the Grade III Stars and Stripes Breeders' Cup Turf, an Arlington Million prep, has attracted the de Seroux-trained Ballingarry, the race's defending champion owned by Liberty Road Stable and San Gabriel Investments in conjunction with Port.

"To me, he looks better physically than he did last year," said de Seroux as she observed Ballingarry's calm demeanor in the paddock Thursday. "He had a really odd trip in his last race (Churchill's Grade III Louisville Handicap May 31, where he finished third). "He dropped way back and then came running late but had to check. It cost us the race."

Also schooling Thursday under de Seroux' tutelage was a maiden named Johnny Red Kerr (after the Chicago Bulls former coach and current announcer.) Johnny Red Kerr is owned by the Port trust in conjunction with Marsha Naify and San Gabriel Investments. Leading rider Rene Douglas, who will also ride Ballingarry and Toasted, was aboard Johnny Red Kerr in one of his starts at Hollywood Park and will be in the irons once again in Sunday's ninth race.

"That was by design," said de Seroux of Douglas's previous assignment on Johnny Red Kerr during a rare Douglas riding day in Southern California. "We knew he was coming here because of his namesake, and we thought Rene gave him a great ride out there. It's because he is such a big horse that it took him so long to come around."


A pair of Pick 4s -- each with a guaranteed pool of $400,000 -- will be available to Arlington Park guests during this extended holiday weekend honoring America's Birthday.

On Saturday, the NTRA's National Pick 4, with its guaranteed $400,000 pool, will be available for wagering as Belmont Park's Race 10 with a $1 minimum wager. Comprising the NTRA National Pick 4 are Belmont's Grade I Suburban Handicap, Churchill's Grade II Firecracker Breeders' Cup Handicap, Monmouth's Grade I United Nations Handicap and Hollywood's Grade I American Oaks.

On Monday, the second of three rare Monday racing days at Arlington this season, Hollywood Park, which offers full-card simulcasting to Arlington, offers its own Pick 4 with a guaranteed $400,000 pool.

Regular Arlington Pick 4s have offered handsome returns in recent days, with a $13,706.20 payoff last Sunday, and numerous Pick 4s within the last fortnight when three out of four winners was enough for to receive a cash payoff.


Willmott Stables Inc.'s Aud, winner of Arlington's Grade III Pucker Up Stakes last year, heads a field of nine fillies and mares named to Monday's $42,250 Possibly Perfect Stakes as Arlington hosts its second of three Monday racing days during the 2004 season.

Aud, trained by Tony Reinstedler, is being primed for an appearance in the Grade III Modesty Handicap July 24, final local prep for the Grade I Beverly D. on Aug. 14. That sister race to the Arlington Million will be run along with the Million and Grade I Secretariat to make up Arlington's one-day International Festival of Racing on that day.

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