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Arlington Park Barn Notes (7/29/04)

Contact: Graham Ross

In today's notes:


Veteran trainer Don Von Hemel has returned to Arlington Park following recent hip replacement surgery and will supervise the day-to-day preparations of Pin Oak Stable LLC's Bedanken as she gets ready for her next engagement in the Grade I Beverly D. Stakes at Arlington on Aug. 14.

Bedanken, trained by Donnie K. Von Hemel, son of the Arlington-based conditioner, was the impressive winner of last Saturday's Grade III Modesty Handicap. The Modesty was Arlington's final major local prep for this year's $750,000 Beverly D. Based on her Saturday tally, and an additional impressive victory in the $41,875 Possibly Perfect Stakes here July 5, Bedanken remains at Arlington one of the fillies and mares likely to annex that upcoming mile and three-sixteenths grass test, but the younger Von Hemel remains at his Southwest headquarters.

Often called the sister race to the Grade I Arlington Million, to be run on the same afternoon as part of Arlington's International Festival of Racing, the Beverly D. is also run at a mile and three-sixteenths over the local lawn. The $400,000 Secretariat, restricted to 3-year-olds of international caliber, completes the troika of Illinois' only Grade I events run on an annual basis that afternoon.

Bedanken has been "eased back into the bridle" since her Modesty score, with her next serious move some days away.

The elder Von Hemel, now walking with the assistance of a cane as he oversees day-to-day barn activities at Arlington, said he is also "getting a little better every day."


Nancy A. Vanier & Lyda Williamson's Beret, a Beverly D. nominee who stumbled badly at the start of last Saturday's Grade III Modesty and lost her rider, breezed six furlongs on the grass Wednesday in 1:19.80 while the "dogs" were well out from the rail.

"All she's got to do now is learn how to stand up coming out of the gate in a race," said conditioner Harvey Vanier Thursday morning of his mare who also stumbled and lost the rider two starts back in Hawthorne's $40,000 Nicole Stakes. "She always works great."

"I don't know what the problem is," said Brian Williamson, Vanier's son-in-law and chief assistant. "She broke slow in her race at Churchill (between the two stumbles) and won very impressively. 'Blue' (Arlington's starter William 'Blue' Knott) said that maybe 'tailing' her will help out. We'll see.

"We may still run in the Beverly D.," Williamson said. "It's certainly a possibility. She's nominated and they just cancelled a stakes for her at Ellis Park, so we're kind of running out of other easier options."


Three Roses LLC's Last Song, heroine of Gulfstream's Grade II Bonnie Miss Stakes last March 6, attempts to make amends for more recent form when she heads a field of 10 sophomore fillies named to Friday's $54,000 Sweetest Chant Stakes at one mile out of the Arlington Park chute.

Following her South Florida score, Last Song finished third in Keeneland's Grade I Ashland April 3, but was ninth in Churchill's Grade I Kentucky Oaks April 30.

The daughter of Unbridled's Song was given a brief vacation following her Kentucky campaign, but returned to action at Arlington July 9 and finished third as the even money choice of the fans in optional claiming company. Leading rider Rene Douglas will ride Last Song Friday.

Capable of providing strong competition for Last Song is Jer-Mar Stable LLC's Ghostly Gate, second on the grass in Canterbury's $40,000 HBPA Mile Stakes July 5 but winner of the $40,000 Northbound Pride Stakes over that same Minnesota lawn June 19.

The daughter of Silver Ghost won her two previous starts on the main track earlier in the spring, and has Cruz Contreras named in the irons in the Sweetest Chant.

Opposing the top two are Mel Cranston's Touch of Victory, Chris Emigh; Auglyn Stable's Perennial Favorite, E. T. Baird; Stonerside Stable's Catboat, Eddie Martin Jr.; David Marcus Mitchell's Cats Copy, Eduardo Perez; Turf Express Inc.'s Twice a Deelite, Frank Lovato Jr.; Mr. & Mrs. E. Thompson Courtney & Mr. & Mrs. Larry Telle's Twilight Gallop, Eddie Razo Jr.; Mount Brilliant Stable LLC's Miss Moses, Carlos H. Marquez Jr.; and Bernard G. Schaeffer's Fly Away Angel, John McKee up.


Appearing at Friday's Miller Lite Party in the Park Friday at Arlington Park, with its special late post time of 3 p.m., is the classic rock band "Biff & The Waybacks."

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