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Horse slaughter in Illinois
|Arlington Park Barn Notes (7/3/04)
Contact: Graham Ross
In today's notes:
Mansell Stables LLC's Quest Star, a candidate for winning honors in Sunday's Grade III Stars and Stripes Breeders' Cup Turf at Arlington Park, left High Point Training Center in La Grange, Kentucky, Saturday morning and was due in at Arlington Park before nightfall.
Quest Star, hero of the last two renewals of Gulfstream's Grade II Pan American Handicap, is not to be overlooked in Chicago's traditional America's Birthday feature at a mile and a half over Arlington Park's world famous turf course. The Pan American, South Florida's classic test for grass-favoring marathoners, is also contested at the 12-furlong distance.
"That's been his race," said Shannon Ritter, longtime assistant to trainer Elliott Walden when speaking of the Pan American. "I'll be traveling with Quest Star today. He looks great and I expect him to run well. We should be at Arlington sometime this afternoon."
After last year's Pan American victory, Quest Star's connections passed up the Stars and Stripes in favor of a New York summer campaign, and finished second by a half-length in Belmont's Grade II Bowling Green Handicap at 11 furlongs July 12. The entire son of Broad Brush was then second again, beaten two lengths, in Saratoga's Grade II Fourstardave Handicap Aug. 23.
Both of Quest Star's Pan American victories came when he made or forced a soft early pace, and the Kentucky-bred's chances Sunday could be enhanced if that scenario unfolds again.
Quest Star is also nominated to this summer's 22nd running of the Grade I Arlington Million, to be run as part of Arlington's International Festival of Racing Aug. 14.
Thoroughbred racing fans are reminded that Sunday's Stars and Stripes Day program has a special first race post time of 2:30 p.m. to minimize the time gap between the last race of the day and Arlington's tradional Fourth of July Fireworks Show, presented by LaSalle Bank.
Nine fillies and mares are entered in Monday's feature attraction -- the $42,250 Possibly Perfect Stakes -- during a rare Monday racing day this summer at Arlington Park. Four of them are nominated to Arlington's Grade I Beverly D., sister race to the Arlington Million to be run Aug. 14 as part of Arlington Park's International Festival of Racing.
Willmott Stables Inc.'s Aud, heroine of Arlington's Grade III Pucker Up Stakes last September; Pin Oak Stable LLC's Bedanken, winner of three straight stakes this winter in New Orleans; Nancy A. Vanier & Lyda Williamson's Beret, victress in two straight turf tests at Arlington last summer, and Pope McLean's Princess Pelona, winner of Arlington's $38,000 Reluctant Guest Handicap May 22, are all Beverly D. nominees.
Solid performances by any or all of this female foursome could lead their connections to consider nominating them the Grade III Modesty Handicap, to be run July 24 as part of Million Preview Day. The Modesty 'Cap serves as the final major local prep for the Beverly D.
PGA Tour player Matt Gogel, an avid Thoroughbred racing fan, entered Saturday's third round of the Cialis Western Open at Cog Hill Golf and Country Club in Lemont, Illinois, tied for the lead at six under par. Last Wednesday Gogel visited Arlington Park with a television crew from PGA Productions to shoot a feature for an upcoming segment comparing golf to racing on "Inside the PGA Tour" that airs each Tuesday on the Golf Channel.
During his visit, Gogel interviewed jockey Jerry La Sala about the putting green that the Arlington Park jockeys are growing in the backyard behind the jock's room and presented the trophy to jockey Carlos Montalvo following his seventh race win on Chadwick, Roberts & Emerald Green Acres' Phoneforchampagne. Gogel also spent time with track announcer John G. Dooley, chatted with jockeys E. T. Baird, Chris Emigh and Rene Douglas in the paddock before a race, watched a race in the jockeys' room and made a stop in the silks room.
Former jockey Bill Gavidia, who shared leading rider honors at Arlington Park in 1975 with Hall of Famer Earlie Fires, is visiting Chicago and Arlington this summer after resigning his steward duties at Hipodromo Las Americas in Mexico City last month.
The native of Caracas, Venezuela, won the 1974 Stars and Stripes Handicap aboard Hasty House Farm's Zografos, conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Harry Trotsek.
Following more than 500 trips to the Arlington Park winner's circle as a jockey, Gavidia served as the clerk of scales at Arlington for several seasons.
Gavidia is currently visiting his daughter Yaritza, a professor of psychology who has taught at Loyola University and Roberto Clemente High School in recent years.
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