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|Arlington Park Barn Notes (8/11/04)
Contact: Graham Ross
In today's notes:
Bob and Beverly Lewis are already having a good week leading up to 22nd running of the Grade I Arlington Million Saturday, and that's well before their 4-year-old gray colt Senor Swinger goes to the post as one of the more prominent candidates for the centerpiece event of the Chicago Thoroughbred racing season.
Mrs. Lewis will be honored as this year's recipient of the "Penny Chenery Distinguished Woman in Racing" award at an Arlington Park invitation-only charity luncheon Thursday. That award will be presented some 55 hours before Senor Swinger leaves the starting gate at 4:35 p.m. (CDT) Saturday in Arlington Million XXII.
Senor Swinger won the Grade III Arlington Handicap by a head in his last start July 24. That race is Arlington's final major prep for the Million, and although no Arlington Handicap winner has ever won the Million, 1993 Arlington 'Cap hero Evanescent finished second in the '93 Million, and 1994 Arlington 'Cap winner Fanmore was runner-up in that season's Million.
Although the Lewises have never won the Million, they have won the first two thirds of the Triple Crown twice, and numerous other Grade I events with horses like Silver Charm, Charismatic and Timber Country.
Also as owners of Serena's Song, champion 3-year-old filly of 1995, the Lewises donated a portion of that filly's earnings toward a balloon of the same name that was launched to give hot air balloon rides to handicapped children. That gesture, plus giving a total of $5 million to build, equip and endow the Bob and Beverly Lewis Family Cancer Care Center in California, helped Mrs. Lewis earn Thursday's award.
Although Senor Swinger's trainer Bob Baffert is not expected to be in attendance Saturday for the Arlington Million, the colt's former trainer -- Chicago native Mickey Goldfine -- will be at Arlington rooting hard for the colt formerly under his tutelage.
Goldfine brought Senor Swinger up to the races, breaking his maiden as a 2-year-old, keeping him undefeated in his first start as a 3-year-old, and then saddling him once more to finish fifth in the 2003 Florida Derby before owner-breeders Bob Ackerman and Barry Golden sold the son of El Prado to the Lewises.
"I'm happy for the horse," Goldfine said on the morning of Arlington Million position draw. "He's doing good, now. I saw him win the Arlington Handicap. I was hoping he'd run well there and I'm hoping he wins the Million on Saturday.
"I went to visit him the morning of the Arlington Handicap," Goldfine said. "He was playing with me and I was playing with him. He acted like he remembered me. He hasn't lost any of his charm. He's the neatest horse I've ever been around. I hope he runs huge Saturday."
Moyglare Stud Farm Ltd.'s Simple Exchange, one of several prominent European invaders for Saturday's Grade I Secretariat Stakes, and Ingeborg von Schubert & Gary A. Tanaka's Aubonne, who fulfills that same role in Saturday's Grade I Beverly D., both worked Saturday for their respective upcoming engagements this weekend.
Irish-bred Simple Exchange, who won Arlington's Grade II American Derby presented by Jack Daniel's July 24 in his first American start, breezed three furlongs over the grass course in :36.80 at 9:45 a.m. (CDT) in preparation for the $400,000 Secretariat, final leg of Arlington's Mid-America Triple. Irish exercise rider Liam McCarthy was aboard for the turf course move, accomplished with the "dogs" well out from the rail.
"I'm very pleased," said Jeff Byrne, Irish trainer Dermot Weld's longtime head traveling assistant as Simple Exchange completed his move. "He didn't need a whole lot. He's fresh and sweet. He's ready."
German-bred Aubonne, campaigned solely in France thus far this season, breezed three-eighths on Arlington's main track at 8:30 a.m., touring the distance in :40.80 under French exercise rider Lauren Bonnier. Trained by Eric Libaud, the 4-year-old filly won the Group III La Coupe Stakes at Longchamp in her last start June 17 in preparation for the $750,000 Beverly D.
Other European International Festival of Racing candidates on the track Wednesday morning were German-bred Arlington Million runner Epalo, owned by Gary A. Tanaka, who had an easy canter once around the oval at 6:15 a.m., with Elke Schutz, wife of trainer Andreas Schutz, astride for the move. Epalo's year thus far is highlighted by a win in the Group I Singapore Airlines International Cup, second leg of the World Series Racing Championship. The Arlington Million is the fourth leg of that series.
Arlington Million candidate Vespone, owned by Godolphin Racing Inc., galloped twice around the oval, with Stephen Childs aboard, while that outfit's Beverly D. prospect Crimson Palace, a South African-bred mare, also galloped twice around with Rachel Dore astride.
Also galloping once around the main track Wednesday was Team Block's Mystery Giver, the locally based Arlington Million candidate and Willmott Stables Inc.'s Aud, an American-based Beverly D. prospect.
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