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Arlington Park Barn Notes (7/8/04)

Contact: Graham Ross

In today's notes:


Seeking to make up lost time in his delayed career, William S. Farish, James A. Elkins Jr. & W. Temple Weber Jr.'s Alumni Hall faces seven more seasoned rivals in Saturday's $75,000 Black Tie Affair Handicap at nine furlongs over Arlington Park's main track.

Alumni Hall, a 5-year-old son of A. P. Indy out of an Alydar mare, will be making only his fifth lifetime start, all this year, after winning three out of his first four. A full brother to 2000 Kentucky Oaks winner Secret Status -- who was also owned and bred by the same connections and was another Neil Howard trainee -- Alumni Hall missed what would have been his first three seasons of racing with a variety of ailments and minor problems.

However, his current season has been notable. The chestnut broke his maiden at first asking April 5 at Keeneland, raced wide to finish second in his second start at Belmont May 5, returned to Kentucky to win his next start at Churchill May 19, and made it two in a row as he advanced through his conditions June 9, also at the Twin Spires oval. That most recent tally was by a nine-length margin as he drew off from his rivals with hand urging.

Jockey Robby Albarado, Arlington's jockey champion in 1996, aboard Alumni Hall in all three of his winning efforts but not for the lone loss, returns to Chicago and handles the reins once again Saturday and makes up the 116 pounds assigned.

One of those capable of providing strong competition for Alumni Hall is Harry T. Rosenblum's River Mountain Rd, front-running winner of Prairie Meadows $50,000 Jim Rasmussen Memorial Stakes at last asking May 29. The altered son of Deputy Commander, who was also away from the races for eight months until returning January 31, won two straight this year before a loss in the Grade III Fifth Season Stakes at Oaklawn.

River Mountain Rd must shoulder the top impost of 118 pounds in the Black Tie Affair 'Cap, but has the riding services of Arlington's defending jockey champion Rene Douglas.

Others named to Saturday's main attraction include William Pacella, Ronald Schwed & Joe Rizza's Wiggins, Illinois 3-year-old male champion last year, with Eddie Razo Jr. aboard at 117; Louie J. Roussel III's Intern, adjudged winner of Arlington's $42,375 Mister Gus Stakes on May 31, also 117 with Randy Meier up; and R N R Breeders II's Act of War, hero of last year's $86,150 Cardinal Handicap, with regular rider Chris Emigh making up most of the 115 pounds.

Completing the Black Tie Affair 'Cap, named for the 1991 Horse of the Year who was based at Arlington Park, are Butterfly Stables' Scooter Roach, 115, Jesse Campbell up; Allen E. Paulson Living Trust's Stratostar, 113, Larry Sterling Jr. aboard; and Linne & Nancy Calkins & C. B. Racing Inc.'s Fighting Indians, 113, with Shane Laviolette astride.


Arlington Park guests get two chances to wager on huge guaranteed jackpots this Saturday when Hollywood Park offers a $1,000,000 Pick Six and Calder Race Course gives racing fans a chance at a $500,000 Pick Five.

Included among the races in Hollywood's guaranteed seven-figure Pick 6 pool will be the Grade I $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup, the Grade II $400,000 Swaps Breeders' Cup Stakes, and the Grade II $150,000 A Gleam Invitational Handicap.

Calder's half-million guaranteed pool is an all stakes race Pick Five during the North Miami oval's Summit of Speed, and includes the Grade II $500,000 Princess Rooney Handicap, the Grade III $500,000 Smile Sprint Handicap, the Grade III $300,000 Carry Back Stakes, the Grade III $300,000 Azalea Breeders' Cup Stakes and the $100,000 Calder Turf Sprint Handicap.

The Hollywood Gold Cup will also highlight Saturday's "Road to the World Thoroughbred Championships Powered by Dodge" on ESPN2 from 7-8 p.m. (CDT). Same day coverage of the Swaps Breeders' Cup Stakes as well as a recap of the Summit of Speed will also be included on that prime time telecast.


Saturday's "Get In The Game" handicapping forum at Arlington Park's Starting Gate Theatre will concentrate on bloodlines and how to interpret them for races at various distances and surfaces, while Sunday's "Get In The Game" forum will also concentrate on breeding.


Other Arlington Park offerings this weekend include Friday's Miller Lite Party In The Park featuring great American roots rock by the Jack Straw band beginning with Friday's special twilight 3 p.m. first post time.

Saturday's Budweiser Summer Bash and BBQ will feature the rock 'n' roll sounds of Loaded and an appearance by the Zone's Pete McMurray.

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