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|Arlington Park Barn Notes (9/16/04)
Contact: Graham Ross
In today's notes:
Undefeated in New York, Spotlight could become the Toast of Broadway, and California resident Ticker Tape might be on her way to Hollywood stardom - but first they must meet in Chicago Saturday and try to upstage each other in Arlington Park's Grade III Pucker Up Stakes.
Both 3-year-old fillies have arrived on the grounds at Arlington from their respective coasts, and both are enjoying the local climate as they prepare for Saturday's featured event. The Pucker Up has attracted a field of 13 sophomore fillies, and all have connections wanting to pose for winner's circle pictures following the nine-furlong test over the local lawn, but it is the two stars that will get all the pre-race attention.
Spotlight, trained by Christophe Clement, was much the best in Saratoga's Grade II Lake Placid Handicap at last asking Aug. 23, but comes to Chicago in the hands of the Frenchman's assistant Arnaud Delacour.
"So far, she's been a great filly for us," said Delacour Thursday morning outside Arlington's Barn 12A. "Two wins in two starts since we got her." The British-bred daughter of Dr Fong raced in England until last spring, when she finished second by a neck in Goodwood's $53,000 Normandie Stud Lupe Stakes May 19. "We like to bring her to a new track a couple of days before a race, to give her a chance to get used to the environment. That's what worked for us at Saratoga."
Some yards away at Arlington's Stakes Barn, Ticker Tape appeared relaxed in her stall as assistant Daniel Caytanog administered to the filly, also a British-bred, who comes into Saturday's Pucker Up off a nose defeat in the grassy Grade I Del Mar Oaks Aug. 21. Previously, she had won Hollywood's Grade I American Oaks July 3, and also captured two stakes at Santa Anita last spring.
"We flew in from Los Angeles last night," said Caytanog Thursday morning. The native of Mexico has been an assistant to trainer James Cassidy for about three years. "The flight was good. She's very relaxed today. The boss is here this morning but he left for a few minutes to look for the hay man. The filly walked today, and the plan is to gallop her tomorrow."
Crown's Way Farm's veteran Illinois stakes campaigner Gracility will be coupled in the wagering with Expendable, owned by Crown's Way & Peter Stamas, when they meet Lamont H. Nienast LLC's Synco Peach and four other fillies and mares in Friday's featured $40,000 Unique Type Handicap.
Gracility, a 5-year-old mare absent since finishing fourth in the $85,750 Isaac Murphy Handicap during Arlington's Prairie State Festival Day June 26, is assigned 116 pounds Friday, most of which will be made up by Chris Emigh. The daughter of Known Fact will run as an entry with Expendable, who gets in with 114 pounds and has Eddie Razo Jr. in the irons.
Assigned the top impost of 117 pounds by racing secretary and handicapper Frank Gabriel Jr. for the Unique Type is Synco Peach, second by a length and a half to Cresran LLC's Sue's Good News in Prairie Meadows' $40,000 Iowa State Fair Stakes Aug. 21. She had won her previous start here at Arlington Park Aug. 5. Larry Sterling Jr. has the mount Friday.
Also set for Friday's headliner are Richard Rudolph & Michael Vranich's Cashmere Miss, 116, Carlos Silva aboard; Richard Otto Stables Inc.'s Natural Image, 113, leading rider Rene Douglas named; Jim Edgar's Fighting Fever, 115, Jesse Campbell astride; and Russell L. Reineman Stable Inc.'s Indian Jewel, 112, James Graham slated for the tack.
After winning Wednesday's third race astride Miller Racing Stable Ltd.'s He's A Hunk, veteran reinsman Carlos Silva has now visited the winner's circle 999 times at Arlington Park, and could become the third rider in Arlington history to win 1,000 races locally on Thursday.
Two Hall of Fame reinsmen -- Earlie Fires and Pat Day -- are the only others to have accomplished the feat.
Silva is listed to ride four horses on the Thursday program. The 48-year-old native of Santiago, Chile, is named to ride Scaminaci Racing Stables Latifundiario in the first, Rich Papiese's Canaan Land in the seventh, Tom Swearingen Racing Stable's Deno's Connection in the eighth, and Miller Racing Stable Ltd.'s Laudatory in the finale.
Trainer Steve Asmussen, three wins off the pace of leading conditioner Frank Kirby at the conclusion of Wednesday's racing program, returns from a suspension in time for Thursday's card and has eight horses entered in five races on the card.
Kirby five horses entered in four races Thursday.
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