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|Arlington Park Barn Notes (8/26/04)
Contact: Graham Ross
In today's notes:
After training horses most of his life, conditioner C. W. Bubba Cascio, 72, is enjoying his first trip to Arlington Park, where he will run Keith McKinney & Jack Sweesy's Gold Storm in Saturday's $150,000 Arlington Breeders' Cup Sprint and follow up with Blackjack Thoroughbreds' Logan's Draw in Sunday's $50,000 Spectacular Bid Stakes.
However, don't get the impression that Cascio has never trained a good horse before. A little less than 30 years ago, Cascio trained one of the best: a Quarter Horse named Dash for Cash who won five World Championships in the mid-'70s.
"He was one of the best ever," said Cascio of that speedy star, "and after his racing career was over, he became one of the best Quarter Horse sires of all time. He was a 'once-in-a-lifetime' kind of animal. I don't expect to ever have another one like him."
Nevertheless, since starting to train Thoroughbreds in 1992, Cascio, a native of Houston, Texas, has had some good ones, not the least of which is Gold Storm, who comes into Saturday's featured six-furlong event off of two straight wins.
"He's won some decent races for us," said Cascio during training hours Thursday morning, "and the owners wanted to give him a shot in here."
Most recently, Gold Storm captured Retama's $40,000 J. R. Straus Memorial on July 23 at the San Antonio oval, and before that took down winning honors in an allowance dash, also at three-quarters on July 9 at Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie.
"I'm sure the competition he will be up against on Saturday is a lot tougher than anything he has faced before, but we'll see how he measures up," said Cascio.
As a sophomore last season, the Seeking the Gold colt out of a Storm Bird mare won his first three starts after being claimed out of his career debut by Cascio for $50,000. The sellers in that deal were Arlington-familiar owner Tom Durant and trainer Ronny Werner.
Following last year's third win, the chestnut Kentucky-bred was sent to Turfway for the Grade III Kentucky Cup Sprint Sept. 13. There he finished fifth behind Cajun Beat, who went on to win the Grade I Breeders' Cup Sprint at Santa Anita. After that loss to Cajun Beat, when Gold Storm raced wide, the chestnut journeyed to Delta Downs, where he rebounded in non-winners-of-four-lifetime company to be best by nine and a quarter in handy fashion.
"Delta Downs may be just a little bitty track," said Cascio in his engaging Texas drawl when speaking of the Louisiana oval, "but with those slots they got out there they give away a whole bunch of money."
While at Arlington this weekend, Cascio is stabled in Barn 16, the local domicile of Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas's string.
"Wayne and I are great friends," said Cascio of Lukas, who also began his career with Quarter Horses. "As soon as I pulled in to Arlington he had two stalls waiting for me. We go way back. And everybody here at Arlington has been so nice since I got here, I'm really enjoying myself."
Twelve sophomore members of the distaff set are slated to go to the post in Saturday's $50,000-added Hatoof Stakes at a mile and a sixteenth over Arlington Park's world famous turf course.
As the undercard feature supporting the $150,000 Arlington Breeders' Cup Sprint, Saturday's filly grass event is designed as the final major local prep for the Grade III Pucker Up Stakes to be run at nine furlongs over the local lawn on Sept. 18.
If Saturday's full field of female grass specialists remains intact, the Hatoof will have a gross value of $54,800, with a $32,880 share of that sum going to the owners of the victress.
Stonerside Stable LLC's Native Annie should rule the choice in Saturday's Hatoof. The daughter of Manzotti finished seventh in her lone grass outing here July 15, but was only beaten two and a quarter lengths for all of it after being forced to take up in the stretch run.
The Saturday June Band, who play contemporary pop music, will be featured during Friday's Miller Lite Party In The Park, with first post time and first song beginning at 3 p.m.
During the three Friday Miller Lite Party In The Parks scheduled in September, before Arlington closes its 2004 season on Sunday, Sept. 19, post time for Friday twilight racing programs will be 2:30 p.m.
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