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|Arlington Park Barn Notes (9/1/04)
Contact: Graham Ross
In today's notes:
Thunderhead Farms' Rocky River, impressive four and three quarter-length winner of Sunday's $52,800 Spectacular Bid Stakes, was still feeling on top of the world Wednesday at Arlington, according to Bruce Bull, trainer Don Von Hemel's longtime chief assistant. The juvenile colt remains on schedule for his next assignment in the Grade III Arlington-Washington Breeders' Cup Futurity Sept. 19.
"He's been acting great," said Bull when visited Wednesday morning during training hours. "I was very impressed with the way he ran Sunday. I'd have to say this is about the nicest colt I've ever been around. Since that next race (the Futurity) is still some distance away, Don will probably work him a couple of more times between now and then."
Following Sunday's Spectacular Bid, owner Bill Peters of Thunderhead Farms was asked how the 2-year-old by Concorde's Tune out of a Valid Appeal mare got his name. The youngster was bred by the late Einar Paul Robsham in Florida and was purchased out of the OBS April sale this year for $220,000.
"I'm in the oil business," said Peters, "and in my time I've worked in a lot of Rocky Rivers. That's the same way I named Sand Ridge, who was a sale topper years some years ago."
Sand Ridge, still active this year at Arlington, was purchased some years ago with some of the money Peters made from the sale of Thunderhead's Mariah's Storm. That filly is the only member of the distaff set to have ever won the Arlington-Washington Lassie as a 2-year-old, the Arlington Oaks as a 3-year-old and the Matron as a 4-year-old. She later went on to drop the European champion Giant's Causeway.
Jockey Chris Emigh, who rode Thunderhead Farms' Rocky River to victory in Sunday's $52,800 Spectacular Bid Stakes, joined defending jockey champion Rene Douglas and veteran reinsman Frank Lovato Jr. as the only riders here this season to post four wins in a single day.
Emigh's other Sunday wins came aboard Kathy Mitchell & Barbara Davis's Golden Glacken in the third, Hugh Robertson & Homewrecker Racing LLC's Three Hour Nap in the fifth, and William Lydon, Arbaway Farm & Carson Springs Farm's Nkosi Reigns in the finale.
The 132nd running of the Group I Grosser Volkswagen Preis von Baden, fifth leg of the 2004 World Series Racing Championship and the first since the Grade I Arlington Million, will be run Sunday at Iffezheim Racecourse in Baden-Baden, Germany.
Eight German-trained horses and 12 international candidates make up the 20 world-class turf stars that remain eligible for Baden-Baden's 12-furlong test.
The sixth leg of this year's World Series -- the Group I Baileys Irish Champion Stakes -- follows on the next Saturday, Sept. 11, at Leopardstown Racecourse on The Emerald Isle.
Mrs. John Magnier's Powerscourt, first horse under the wire in this year's Arlington Million before being disqualified and placed fourth, is considered likely to make his next trip to the post in the Irish Champion.
In other World Series news, Diamond A Racing Corp.'s Pleasantly Perfect, defending champion in the Grade I Breeders' Cup Classic, Powered by Dodge, is scheduled to defend his title in this year's Breeders' Cup Classic Oct. 30 at Lone Star Park, as the 11th race in the 2004 World Series. The Richard Mandella trainee is also being considered for the Group I Japan Cup Dirt, 12th leg of the World Series to be run Nov. 28 at Tokyo Racecourse.
Gary A. Tanaka's Epalo, fourth under the wire in the recent Grade I Arlington Million but subsequently placed third, breezed a half-mile in :51.40 on Monday at Arlington in preparation for his upcoming engagement in Belmont's Grade I Man o' War to be run Sept. 11.
Other Arlington four-furlong breezes on Monday were recorded by Richard Otto Stables Inc.'s Julie's Prize and Turf Express Inc.'s Tamweel. Those two members of the distaff set are being pointed toward Saturday's Grade III Arlington Matron Handicap.
Tamweel was timed in :48.00 and Julie's Prize accomplished the same distance in :48.60.
Jim Tafel LLC's Allspice breezed a half-mile in :49.00 at Arlington Park Wednesday in preparation for her start in Saturday's Grade III Arlington Matron Handicap, to be run at nine furlongs over the main course. The Matron is restricted to fillies and mares, 3-years-old and up.
After saddling two winners Sunday, conditioner Steve Asmussen gained a one-win lead in the 2004 Arlington Park trainers' standings but began a 15-day suspension Wednesday.
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