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|Arlington Park Barn Notes (9/2/04)
Contact: Graham Ross
In today's notes:
Amerman Racing Stables LLC's Adoration, heroine of last fall's Grade I Breeders' Cup Distaff at Santa Anita, arrived at Arlington Park Tuesday from her Southern California base. She breezed a half Wednesday in :48 at Arlington and will school in the paddock today (Thursday) in preparation for her starring role in Saturday's Grade III Arlington Matron Handicap.
This will be the second straight year that Arlington's Matron field has entertained a Breeders' Cup Distaff contestant. Last year's Matron winner Take Charge Lady, owned by Select Stable, finished sixth in the 2002 Distaff at Arlington and sixth once again last year's Distaff at Santa Anita following her Matron score.
However, as the Distaff's defending champion, Adoration's Arlington Matron start is particularly prestigious. Since that score, the David Hofmans trainee has captured the Grade II Fleur de Lis Handicap in her last trip to the post June 12, and won Santa Anita's Grade I Santa Margarita Invitational Handicap last March 14.
"She likes this track," said exercise rider Martin De Rubin Thursday morning at Arlington's Stakes Barn. "She worked very nice for me yesterday and everything is looking very good for us since we arrived. I'll gallop her tomorrow and maybe give her a small gallop Saturday morning. Mr. Hofmans arrives tomorrow morning and he'll decide what the plans are.
"She's always been a gentle filly," said De Rubin, who came to Arlington in July with Arlington's American Derby contestant Samwise. "Actually, she's a mare this year, but I still think of her as a little girl. She's a sweetheart and very friendly around the barn, but once I put the saddle on her, she becomes a real handful. Once she gets tacked up, she's all business."
Iron County Farms Inc.'s Bare Necessities, winner of Santa Anita's $75,000 Paseana Handicap in January and runner-up to Breeders' Cup Distaff champion Adoration in Churchill's Grade II Fleur de Lis in June, is now ready for her main goal of the summer: a rematch with Adoration in Saturday's Grade III Arlington Matron Handicap.
Bare Necessities has been stabled at Arlington Park since the spring, when she was transferred from the west coast to Chicago trainer Frank Kirby's barn.
"We got a good maintenance breeze into her Sunday," said Kirby, speaking of Bare Necessities' seven-eighths breeze in 1:28.80. "Her main work came the week before (Aug. 21), when she went five-eighths in a minute and galloped out three-quarters in 1:12 and change.
"This (the Matron) has been our main goal since I got her," said Kirby, who has shipped Bare Necessities out of town three times since he took over the conditioning of the gray mare.
After finishing second by a head in the Grade III Sixty Sails Handicap April 21 at Hawthorne, Bare Necessities was easily second best behind Adoration at Churchill in the Fleur de Lis June 12, and was third in Monmouth's Grade II Molly Pitcher Breeders' Cup Handicap July 4 despite being shuffled back on the turn. Most recently, the daughter of Silver Deputy was third in the Grade III Gardenia Handicap at Ellis Park Aug. 7. (The daughter of Silver Deputy won the 2003 Gardenia at the Western Kentucky oval.)
However, despite being in contention for Arlington's leading trainer honors all summer long, Kirby indicated early in the Arlington season that his main focus was to point Bare Necessities for the Matron.
"You always hope you can win a trainer's title at Arlington," said Kirby Thursday, "but there are still a lot of trainers who can win the title. We won't do anything foolish to get it."
Asked which he would choose if he were given a choice to win his first Arlington trainer's title this season or saddle Bare Necessities to win the Arlington Matron, Kirby's response was unequivocal.
"I'd take the Matron," he said.
Godolphin Racing Inc.'s Crimson Palace, heroine by a half-length in Arlington's Grade I Beverly D. Aug. 14, breezed five furlongs in 1:02.20 at Arlington Thursday morning in preparation for her next assignment.
Crimson Palace and the remaining Godolphin contingent still on the grounds at Arlington will ship shortly after Hennie's Song completes her assignment in Saturday's Grade III Arlington Matron Handicap.
Gary A. Tanaka's Epalo, adjudged third-place finisher in the Grade I Arlington Million Aug. 14, will leave Arlington Friday for his next engagement in Belmont Park's Grade I Man o' War on Sept. 11. Epalo breezed a half-mile in :51.40 on Monday at Arlington.
Guests of Arlington Park are reminded that Friday's late post time will be at 2:30 p.m.
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