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Horse slaughter in Illinois
|Arlington Park Barn Notes (9/18/04)
Contact: Graham Ross
In today's notes:
Revered Nebraska-born conditioner Don Von Hemel, patriarch of the training Von Hemel family, has a brilliant young 2-year-old colt who will go to the post as the favorite in Sunday's Grade III Arlington-Washington Breeders' Cup Futurity, but he will also be trainer of record, at least for the day, when he saddles a promising juvenile filly in Sunday's Grade III Arlington-Washington Lassie.
The traditional showcase events for 2-year-olds during the Chicago Thoroughbred racing season -- like Von Hemel observing their 70th year of existence -- will serve as Arlington's co-featured events Sunday, also the closing day of the 2004 season at the Northwest suburban oval.
The Von Hemel family, either Don or son Donnie K. or occasionally son Kelly, have been responsible for bringing some pretty nice youngsters to Arlington in the past, including R. L. Sanford's Evansville Slew to win the 1994 local Futurity a year after Thunderhead Farms' Mariah's Storm won the 1993 Lassie.
"At this point in his career, I would say Rocky River compares favorably with either of those two," said Von Hemel Saturday morning speaking from his office in Barn 9. "I just hope he is able to run the race we have planned for him."
Rocky River was purchased at the OBS April sale for $220,000 by Thunderhead on the advice of Von Hemel. The colt is by Concorde's Tune out of a Valid Appeal mare and was bred by the late Einar Paul Robsham in Florida. He made the first start of his career July 28 here in a five and a half-furlong sprint and won by three lengths, and then came back to impress with a four and three-quarter length-win in the $52,800 Spectacular Bid Stakes going seven-eighths. Sunday's Futurity is at one mile.
"Considering the way he runs, I'm not concerned with him being able to get a longer distance right now," said Von Hemel. "He breezed five-eighths Sunday in :58.80. That was a little faster than I wanted but it was a week out so I don't think it will have any bearing on Sunday's race."
Von Hemel will also be trainer of record when he saddles Dennis L. Hammersmith's Queansco in Sunday's Lassie. That Iowa-bred filly won the $65,000 Iowa Sorority by two and a quarter at Prairie Meadows in her last start Aug. 28.
"She's owned by a man from Horton, Kansas, and has been trained by Tim Gleason up at Prairie Meadows," said Von Hemel. "He asked me to saddle her Sunday but I really don't know too much about her other than we schooled her in the paddock here and breezed her the other day. Tim's the man who got her ready for this race."
Eliah & Lisa Kahn's Exceptional Ride, a son of 2000 Million hero Chester House, broke his maiden here Aug. 7 and was third behind Sunday's stakes runners Three Hour Nap and Mary Alex last time, but will challenge again as trainer Ken McPeek's representative in Sunday's Grade III Arlington-Washington Breeders' Cup Futurity.
William A. Carl's Bubble N Squeak, who broke her maiden by a half-length here at last asking Aug. 29, runs in Sunday's Grade III Arlington-Washington Lassie as a McPeek trainee.
However, Eliah & Lisa Kahn's Sweet Talker, another juvenile filly trained by McPeek, may be as good as either of those two.
Sweet Talker broke her maiden with an impressive six-length tally Friday at Arlington Park, drawing off from the field steadily after breaking in stride to get fractions of :21 4/5, :45 4/5 and :58 1/5 before tripping the final time in a "picket fence."
In addition to Sunday's Grade III offerings of the $200,000 Arlington-Washington Breeders' Cup Futurity and the $100,000 Arlington-Washington Lassie, guests at Arlington Park's season ending program can wager on the fourth of five National Pick 4s presented by the NTRA this summer.
The NTRA Pick 4, which has a guaranteed pool of $400,000, will be shown live on ABC Sports from 3-5 p.m. (CDT), and consist of Belmont's Grade I Matron, Woodbine's Grade I Atto Mile, Belmont's Grade I Ruffian Handicap and Belmont's Grade II Futurity Stakes.
The NTRA National Pick 4 requires fans to pick the winners of all four of Sunday's televised races. The minimum wager is $1.
Trainer Steve Asmussen saddled Rosendo G. Parra's Ghostly Gal to win Friday's first race, moving within two wins of current leading trainer Frank Kirby.
Asmussen has 10 horses entered in seven races Saturday, while Kirby has four horses entered in four different races.
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