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Arlington Park Barn Notes (7/11/04)

Contact: Graham Ross

In today's notes:


James M. Messino's Rodolfo, a Hungarian-bred who won the Group I Hungarian Derby last July, breezed a half-mile at Arlington Park late last week in preparation for his third start at Arlington since being brought to Chicago for an American campaign this year.

"We're beginning to figure him out," said trainer Ed Beam this week at Arlington. "He's coming along a little better each time I send him to the track and I expect we'll find a race where we can try him again real soon."

Rodolfo won the first start of his career as a 2-year-old in Austria, and came back six weeks later to win again at the Vienna course. After journeying to Hungary in June of his 3-year-old season, he won the Magyar (Hungarian) Derby July 6 when allowed to go a mile and a half, and then came back at that same 12-furlong distance to be clearly second best in another Group I test in Budapest.

"Some friends of mine bought him over there as part of a package deal with another Hungarian-bred and brought them to this country," said Beam. "I got this horse in January or February, and I liked the looks of his breeding as soon as I got him. People may be unfamiliar with Hungarian-breds, but there are runners everywhere. I've watched tapes of all those races in Hungary," said Beam. "Of course their courses aren't as good as ours, and some of them finish going uphill, so I really liked the way he was able to finish."

Since coming to Arlington, Rodolfo was well beaten in both of his turf starts, but the first was at a mile and the second at a mile and a sixteenth. Based on his European form, Beam indicated that Rodolfo could do better when asked to go a longer distance.

Beam, 61, a native of Oklahoma, served as an outrider at Arlington for seven years in the 1990s, and returned to training following that stint.

"I may be 61 but I feel like I'm 25," Beam concluded, "and I've got a seven-year-old daughter to prove it."


Wilbur K. France's Avid Skier, three-length winner of Arlington's $41,500 Native Dancer Stakes June 27, is among a prospective field of seven or eight 3-year-olds likely to start in Saturday's $100,000 Round Table Stakes at nine furlongs over Arlington's main course.

Prior to his Native Dancer win, Avid Skier had finished seventh in the Grade II Ohio Derby June 12 when compromised by extensive travel difficulties in the days leading up to that Thistledown event.

Also considered likely for Saturday's Arlington Park feature at this time is C. B. Racing Inc.'s American Link, fourth in Arlington's $88,050 Springfield Stakes following two straight Arlington wins; as well as Briland Farm's Chippewa Trail, fifth in Churchill's Grade III Northern Dancer June 12 after breaking his maiden by eight and a half lengths at the Twin Spires oval May 27.

R Bar S Thoroughbreds LLP's Fantasticat, a Bobby Barnett trainee who won an allowance race at Churchill June 6, and Richard Perkins & Edward Stewart's Persuaggle, fifth in the Springfield following an awkward start but an Arlington winner June 2, are also likely.

Among those considered as possible starters in the Round Table is Pin Oak Stable LLC's Cryptograph, who finished third beaten a length for all of it in Prairie Meadows' $250,000 Iowa Derby July 2 but won Lone Star Park's $75,000 Grand Prairie Turf Challenge April 24.

Another possible Round Table starter is Team Block's Fort Prado, hero of the Springfield on Arlington's Prairie State Festival Day June 26 at the mile distance.

Others still considered Round Table possibilities include Mast Thoroughbreds LLC's Rockem Sockem, winner of Great Lakes Downs' $40,000 Spartan Stakes July 3, and Home Wrecker Stable LLC's Roll Your Own, third behind Avid Skier in the Native Dancer.

The Round Table, observing its 40th renewal Saturday, has been run at various distances and over both the grass and dirt courses during its history. Past Round Table winners include the legendary John Henry, who captured the 1978 running for Dotsam Stable years before his eventual Arlington Million victories, and Allen Paulson's Fraise, who took the 1991 renewal one year prior to his tally in the Grade I Breeders' Cup Turf at Gulfstream Park.

Other Round Table winners include Canada's 1986 Juvenile Champion Blue Finn, who won the 1987 Round Table for Sam-Son Farm, and William Pacella, Ronald Schwed & Joe Rizza's Wiggins, who won last season on his way to the Illinois 3-Year-Old Male title.


Twelve Illinois horses are among 88 pre-entered for Canterbury Park's $550,000 Claiming Crown July 17, including six for the $125,000 Dodge Claiming Crown Emerald at a mile and a sixteenth on the grass.

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