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Arlington Park Barn Notes (7/9/04)

Contact: Graham Ross

In today's notes:


Dare To Dream Stable LLC's Nicole's Dream, heroine of Churchill's $100,000 Mamzelle Stakes April 29, and WinStar Farm LLC's Dyna Da Wyna, victress in Keeneland's $75,000 Stravinsky Stakes April 17, share the top impost of 122 pounds and may vie for favoritism in Sunday's $38,000 J J'sdream Handicap at Arlington Park.

The five-furlong dash is restricted to fillies and mares and will be contested over the Arlington Park lawn as the featured event of the afternoon.

In her last trip to the post May 16, Nicole's Dream made the pace in a conditioned allowance race on the grass at the Twin Spires oval but weakened in the late stages over a yielding course to finish second by a half. Before that, however, when competing on firm going, she led every step of the way in the Mamzelle and held on late for a nose tally. Both those efforts were also at five-eighths.

Dyna Da Wyna failed to get the mile and a sixteenth distance over the Woodbine grass at last asking June 5 and finished fifth in the Grade III Nassau Stakes at the Canadian oval. Previously she had captured Keeneland's Stravinsky for her second straight score following an allowance victory at Gulfstream March 26.

Arlington's leading rider and defending jockey champion Rene Douglas, aboard for the South Florida score on Dyna Da Wyna, returns in the irons Sunday on the Elliott Walden trainee, while Eddie Baird gets the mount on Nicole's Dream, saddled by Larry Rivelli.

Completing the J J'sdream field are Ben Barnow's Dharma Girl, 115, Carlos Silva aboard for trainer Richard Hazelton; Jerry Humphress' Wavy, 112, Liz Morris astride for William Lazuka; Cherrywood Racing Stables II's Pass the Pepper, 115, Carlos Marquez Jr. up for Michele Boyce; and Seymour J. Sommer's Rocket Royal, 112, Jesse Campbell with the mount for Christine Janks.


Veteran Illinois reinsman Larry Sterling Jr., who rode War Emblem to victory in the 2002 Illinois Derby before that horse went on to win Kentucky Derby and Preakness that spring, has hired California native Michelle Barsotti to be his new agent.

Sterling, born in Arcadia, California, recently convinced Barsotti, born in San Francisco and now a Monrovia resident, to come to Chicago and take over his business. Barsotti is the daughter of Gene Barsotti Jr., formerly the director of racing and racing secretary at Bay Meadows. Her grandfather, Gene Sr., was the mutuel manager at Bay Meadows, and her great grandfather, Joe Cohen, was the general manager at Bay Meadows several decades earlier.

Barsotti has been an agent for about 18 years, and handled the business of rising star Ryan Fogelsonger during his brief successful sojourn to Southern California. Fogelsonger was second leading rider at Fairplex while Barsotti handled his engagements before he was sidelined by an injury and chose to return to the more familiar Maryland circuit following his recovery.

John Hoffman, an Illinois-based agent for Illinois-based jockey Ray Sibille for the last 10 years, will also handle the engagements of Kentucky-based jockey Brian Peck, in addition to Sibille, when Peck arrives at Arlington Sunday following an Ellis Park stakes engagement Saturday.

Peck, 33, born in Lexington, Kentucky, lists his victory in Keeneland's Grade I Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup in 1991 aboard La Gueriere and his win on Yaqthan in Kentucky Downs' $300,000 Kentucky Cup Turf Handicap in 1998 among the biggest in his career.

New to the jockey agent ranks but familiar to Illinois racing fans is Jim Miller, the assistant general manager at Hawthorne, who is handling the engagements of apprentice jockey Liz Morris for the rest of the Arlington Park meeting. Miller, a former Arlington press box employee, is also remembered as a pitching prospect in the Milwaukee Brewers farm system.


Team Block's Mystery Giver posted a "handy" work of 1:16.80 on the Arlington Park turf course Friday morning, with the "dogs" well out from the rail, in preparation for a prospective engagement in the Grade III Arlington Handicap July 24.

The Arlington Handicap, contested along with the Grade III Modesty Handicap and the Grade II American Derby, presented by Jack Daniel's, make up Million Preview Day. The Arlington 'Cap is the final local prep for the Grade I Arlington Million Aug. 14.

Mystery Giver won the Grade II Mervyn Muniz Jr. Handicap this winter in New Orleans and won Arlington's $150,000 Sea o'Erin Breeders' Cup in September of 2002.

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