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|Arlington Park Barn Notes (7/15/04)
Contact: Graham Ross
In today's notes:
Irish-bred Ballingarry, two-time champion of Arlington's Grade III Stars and Stripes Breeders' Cup Turf, and Kentucky-bred Toasted, hero of the recent Grade II Arlington Classic, will return to Chicago from their West Coast headquarters next Tuesday to run in two of the three graded stakes that make up Arlington Park's Million Preview Day July 24.
Ballingarry, owned by Sidney L. Port Trust, Marsha Naify and San Gabriel Investments, won the 2004 Stars and Stripes on the Fourth of July, and Toasted, owned entirely by the native Chicagoan Sidney L. Port's Trust, captured the Arlington Classic, presented by Woodford Reserve, one day earlier as the first leg of Arlington's Mid-America Triple.
Ballingarry will now run in the Grade III Arlington Handicap, final major local prep for the Grade I Arlington Million, while Toasted will attempt to keep alive his chances as the first Mid-America Triple winner in seven years and only the fourth in history as a starter in the Grade II American Derby, presented by Jack Daniel's, as the middle leg of the Triple.
Trainer Laura de Seroux had originally penciled a schedule for her two turf stars that saw them bypassing the two July 24 races with Ballingarry returning for the Grade I Arlington Million and Toasted's next run in the Grade I Secretariat, final leg of the Triple. Both those classics will be run Aug. 14 as part of Arlington's International Festival of Racing.
"However, after I got them home (to Southern California's San Luis Rey Training Center) and saw how well they were doing, I realized that they didn't need as much recovery time as I thought they would," said de Seroux, speaking over the phone from the West Coast.
"They both took the trip great, and were literally tearing the barn down after they got home," de Seroux explained of the change in plans, "so I talked to Mr. Port and we decided to try for these next two races with them. They will ship Tuesday for their return trip. For all we know, the Million and the Secretariat will come up super tough, and I would hate to have wasted the opportunity to win these next two races by bypassing them."
Port, 93, is a lifelong resident of The Windy City, and has owned Thoroughbred racehorses for the last 34 years.
An opportunity to star in a number of European television commercials will keep Arlington-based jockey Greta Kuntzweiler in Portugal next week.
Following a Sunday flight to Lisbon, Kuntzweiler's assignment next Monday through Friday will be to co-star with Bethany Hamilton, the teenage surfing star who became a nationally known when severely injured in a shark attack last fall. The two young women will team up for several SUV commercials together.
Kuntzweiler, 28, born in Ames, Iowa, is hanging her tack at Arlington Park for the first time this summer after a number of successful seasons in Kentucky.
Hamilton, a 13-year-old surfing champion late last fall when she lost her left arm in a shark attack off Kauai's North Shore, has returned to surfing despite that injury.
Lance Bangs, who has directed music videos for the rock band R.E.M. and is directing the upcoming SUV commercials, used to play in a band with Bob Nastanovich, now Kuntzweiler's agent. Recently Bangs called his former band mate to see if Kuntzweiler was available for the upcoming Portuguese shoot, which involves a 30-minute film in addition to various 30-second spots.
Kuntzweiler, who will be in Portugal from Sunday through next Friday, is riding at Michigan's Great Lakes Downs this Friday and has a mount in the $150,000 New York Derby at Finger Lakes Saturday prior to her European trip.
Hamilton, who won the explorer women's division of the National Scholastic Surfing Association's Open and Explorer event on Kauai last August, had secured several sponsorships prior to her accident and has already resumed her competitive surfing career.
Ireland's all-time leading trainer Dermot Weld, who has saddled two of the last four winners of the Grade II American Derby, presented by Jack Daniel's, and finished second in another, will fly Moyglare Stud Farm Ltd.'s Irish-bred Simple Exchange to Chicago Monday to compete in this year's upcoming American Derby July 24.
The American Derby, at a mile and three-sixteenths, is the middle leg of Arlington's Mid-America Triple and will be part of next Saturday's Million Preview Day at Arlington. Also contested on that day will be the Grade III Arlington Handicap and the Grade III Modesty Handicap, final major local preps respectively for the Arlington Million and the Beverly D. to be run at Arlington Aug. 14, along with the Grade I Secretariat, final leg of the Triple.
Simple Exchange most recently finished fourth in the $73,000 Hampton Court Stakes June 17 during Great Britain's Royal Ascot meeting. Prior to that the entire son of Danehill had won Ireland's $57,000 El Gran Senor as a 2-year-old last September at The Curragh.
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