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|Arlington Park Barn Notes (9/15/04)
Contact: Graham Ross
In today's notes:
Two British-bred 3-year-old fillies -- one from the East and one from the West -- will meet in the middle and vie for favoritism when they face off in Saturday's Grade III Pucker Up Stakes over Arlington Park's world-famous grass course.
Green Hills Farm's Spotlight, from the New York barn of grass guru Christophe Clement, and Jim Ford Inc., Daron Pearson & Jack Sweesy's Ticker Tape, from the Southern California headquarters of James Cassidy, meet in Chicago's Pucker Up and will attract most of the attention in the wagering in the nine-furlong turf test for sophomore members of the distaff set.
Spotlight is coming off a three and a half length-win in Saratoga's Grade II Lake Placid Stakes at a mile and an eighth over the upstate New York lawn. By the red-hot European sire Dr Fong, Spotlight had two wins from seven starts in England and is now undefeated in two outings since coming to the United States this summer. Coincidentally, Fong's Thong, another Dr Fong colt, has won two European stakes this season after breaking his maiden at Arlington last year.
Ticker Tape was second by a nose in Del Mar's grassy Grade I Del Mar Oaks Aug. 21, but won Hollywood's Grade I American Oaks by a length on July 3.
However, the two graded stakes winners are going to allow some other improving fillies the chance to get overlooked in the wagering: and two of those are trained by Kentucky-based Bobby Barnett.
Stormy Oak Farm LLC's Key to the Cat finished third to the accomplished mare Beret in her last start Aug. 15, but was facing older rivals that day. Beret was third in last year's Grade III Modesty Handicap as a 4-year-old.
Carolyn L. Gray's Bonanza Jellybean was fifth last time over a soft course, but was only beaten two and a half for all of it.
"Key to the Cat didn't run a bad race at all last time considering she was facing older horses," said Barnett, speaking over the phone from Kentucky, "and as for Bonanza Jellybean, I think we'll credit that to the soft going.
"Both horses are coming off decent races and both have been working well," concluded Barnett. "They'll come up to Arlington on the shuttle from Churchill tomorrow (Thursday) and I expect them both to run well."
"Putting For A Cure," a putting tournament put together by Arlington horsemen on short notice, as well as several items donated by jockey Rene Douglas following a riding engagement in New York last weekend, each gave Monday's 2004 "Riding for a Cure" cancer fundraiser some welcomed late donations.
Arlington Park's third annual "Riding For A Cure" 20-mile trail ride followed by a dinner-dance took place Monday in Barrington Hills, and although the total funds collected will not be tabulated for some time, last year's event raised more than $51,000 for the American Cancer Society.
Last week's "Putting For A Cure" tournament raised $1,500 to add to this year's "Riding for A Cure" totals, and in a three-way playoff last weekend the team of Eddie Arroyo, Ted Nicholson and Jerry La Sala were the ultimate victors, winning a dinner at Bob Chinn's Crab House in nearby Wheeling.
Arlington's four-time leading rider Rene Douglas, who rode Ballingarry last Saturday in Belmont Park's Grade I Man o' War, had the New York jockeys sign several items during his trip, including his saddle, his boots, and a 2002 Belmont Stakes program. The items were donated to Monday night's silent auction, as well as a whip signed by John Velazquez, Saratoga's successful defending riding champion this year. Douglas wore a "Riding For A Cure" patch on his pants during his New York ride.
A season-high superfecta payoff of $51,438.60 -- based on a $2 wager -- was posted at Arlington Park following Sunday's final race of the day.
Richard H. Glander's Anapest, ridden by Carlos Montalvo and trained by Dennis Ebert, won the turf test, returning a $2 win mutuel of $61.40.
Assistant Toby Sheets saddled two races as well as an exacta while serving as listed trainer Sunday for the Steve Asmussen stable.
Asmussen, who returns from a suspension Thursday in pursuit of the tight leading trainers race, has eight horses entered in five races on Thursday's program.
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