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Arlington Park Barn Notes (8/1/04)

Contact: Graham Ross

In today's notes:


Al & Saundra S. Kirkwood's Gwaihir, the Irish-bred colt beaten less than three lengths in the Grade II American Derby, presented by Jack Daniel's July 24 at Arlington Park, remains one of the top names considered possible for Saturday's feature: the $150,000 Sea o' Erin Breeders' Cup Mile over Arlington's world famous grass course.

Although overlooked in the wagering in that most recent appearance, Gwaihir made the pace until the furlong grounds when going a mile and three-sixteenths and continued willingly late to be beaten two and a quarter. In his previous effort July 8, the Grant Forster trainee won when going the eight-furlong distance over the local lawn.

Oak Crest Farm LLC's Herculated, away from the races since a disappointing effort in the Grade II Dixie at Pimlico on Preakness Day, May 15, is another stakes-placed campaigner considered possible for the Sea o' Erin. Trained by Mike Stidham, the altered son of Louis Quatorze out of a Mac Diarmida mare, was second by three-quarters in the Grade II Mervyn Muniz Jr. Handicap in New Orleans March 21.

Other names mentioned as possible for the Sea o' Erin are David Maracich's False Promises, winner of last fall's Grade III Hawthorne Derby; Steve Sawatske's Ivan Jay Perry, a winner June 20 over the turf at Arlington; James Messineo's Major Rhythm, three-quarters of a length the best in his last start July 11 over Arlington grass; and Rosendo G. Parra's Warleigh, who won the $200,000 John B. Connelly Breeders' Cup Handicap April 10 in Houston on turf.

Others in the Sea o' Erin could include at least one of a Greg Geier-trained troika of George Johnson & Crown's Way Farm's Garesche; J S Cubed Stables' Holy Conflict, and Richard L. Duchossois' Just Gossip; at least one from the Lynn Whiting-conditioned duo of Whippoorwill Farm Inc.'s Missme and Choctaw Racing Stable's Roar of the Tiger; and one from the Lara Van Deren-trained pair of Louie Roussel III's Intern and Prospect Green.


Jockey Eddie Razo Jr., solidified his solid second-place position in the Arlington Park jockey standings Saturday with a riding triple highlighted by his score aboard John D. Gunther's Eye of the Tiger in the Grade II Washington Park Handicap.

Earlier in the afternoon, Razo visited the winner's circle with Francisco Parra's Forever Amber, trained by his father Eusebio Razo Sr., and concluded his triple immediately following the Washington Park with a win aboard Kenowa Stable's Anegada.

Razo's Saturday scores left him with 54 wins from 286 mounts this summer at Arlington through July 31, well behind defending jockey champion Rene Douglas, with 74 wins from 304 mounts, but well in front of Chris Emigh, third in the standings with 42 wins from 293 mounts.


Apprentice jockey Freddy Fong Jr. rode the first winner of his young career in Saturday's first race astride the Pam Little-trained Coppers 'n' Brass, owned by The Edwards Group.

"Mrs. Little told me to move at the quarter-pole and that's what I did," said Fong, 19, born in Arcadia, California. The youngster came to Arlington Park last week from Calder.

Jockey agent John Hoffman, long-time agent for the recently retired Ray Sibille, will handle the engagements of Fong, in addition to those of veteran Brian Peck.

"As soon as this young man won yesterday the first congratulatory call I got was from Ray," said Hoffman. "That shows you once again what a class guy Ray is."

Fong -- the "junior" suffix following his surname -- was asked if his father was a jockey.

"No, my uncle," said Fong. "His name was Herberto Valdivieso. He was a longtime rider and he taught me everything I know. He rode a horse named Rockwall to finish sixth in the 1982 Kentucky Derby at odds of 47-1."

Another Fong with Arlington connections to win Saturday was a Dr Fong colt named Fong's Thong, who captured Saturday's listed Thoroughbred Stakes at Goodwood for trainer Brian Meehan. Fong's Thong began his career as a 2-year-old last summer at Arlington before being transferred to Meehan for a European campaign on the grass this season.


Eugene & Laura Melnyk's Trident House lit up the board with season high win and place payoffs of $102.80 and $42 respectively in Saturday's finale.

Ridden by apprentice Emanuel Cosme and trained by Tony Reinstedler, both registering two wins for the afternoon, Trident House was also the basis for a season high trifecta payoff of $8,457.

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