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|Arlington Park Stakes Advance: Arlington BC Sprint
Contact: David Zenner
WILDCAT HEIR TOPS SOLID ARLINGTON BREEDERS' CUP SPRINT LINEUP
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (August 25, 2005) -- Grade I stakes winner Wildcat Heir, owned by New Farm, will carry highweight of 121 pounds on Saturday when he heads a solid lineup of seven horses for the $150,000 Arlington Breeders' Cup Sprint Handicap. The six-furlong dash includes $50,000 in purse money from the Breeders' Cup Fund for horses eligible to that program, of which all seven entered here are Breeders' Cup nominees.
A son of Forest Wildcat, Wildcat Heir upset a talented field when sent at odds of 16-1 in the Grade I Frank J. DeFrancis Memorial Dash at Pimlico last November to score his biggest victory to date. The 5-year-old horse has made just one start this year, winning the $100,000 Teddy Drone Stakes at Monmouth, a race in which he finished second one year ago. A winner of six of 11 starts in his career, the Ben Perkins Jr. trainee has earned more than $424,000 and will be ridden by 2004 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winning jockey Stewart Elliott, who will be riding at Arlington Park for the first time Saturday.
Six others are set to face the top weight, who will spot his rivals from three to eight pounds: Ken Meeker & Carson Springs Farm's Fifteen Rounds (Chris Emigh, 118 pounds); Stan E. Fulton's Fire Slam (Shaun Bridghmohan, 117); Stronach Stable, Inc.'s High Blitz (Mark Guidry, 116); Byron W. House III's Rodeo's Castle (Jeffrey Burningham, 116); Fly Racing LLC's Level Playingfield (John McKee, 115); and Stony Oak Farm LLC's Elusive Jazz (Brian Hernandez Jr., 113).
Fifteen Rounds brings a strong affinity for the Arlington surface into Saturday's headliner, which will be the biggest test to date in his career. A winner in seven of 11 starts over this oval, the Fit to Fight gelding rattled off three straight victories here earlier this season including a 1 ½-length score in the $41,750 Better Bee Stakes on July 3 before having that skein snapped when finishing fourth in the grassy $47,250 Smile Stakes two weeks later. The Christine Janks-trained 5-year-old returned to his winning ways when he captured a $37,000 allowance race on Aug. 5 in near-record time of 1:08.46 while under a mile hand ride.
Fire Slam, who won the Grade III Lecomte Stakes at the Fair Grounds and the Grade II Riva Ridge Breeders' Cup Stakes at Belmont as a 3-year-old in 2004, looks for his first win as a 4-year-old in the Sprint after finishing sixth in the $75,000 Don Bernhardt Stakes at Ellis Park in the only other start this year for the David Carroll-trained colt.
Rodeo's Castle invades from Louisiana for Saturday's feature off a second-place finish in the $50,000 Island Whirl Handicap at Louisiana Downs on July 30. A five-time victor this year, the Beverly Fowler-trained son of Rodeo captured the $75,000 Ford Express at Lone Star Park and the $50,000 Kings Court at Louisiana Downs.
Arlington Park -- the Chicago area's premier Thoroughbred racetrack located in Arlington Heights, Ill. -- is running a 94-day meet in 2005 from Friday, May 13 through Sunday, Sept. 18. Arlington Park, whose parent company is Churchill Downs Incorporated (Nasdaq: CHDN), also operates eight off-track, simulcast-wagering facilities: Trackside Arlington Park (Arlington Heights), Trackside Quad City Downs (East Moline), Trackside Chicago, Trackside McHenry, Trackside Rockford, Trackside South Beloit, Trackside Waukegan and Lucky's featuring Trackside OTB in South Elgin. Information on Arlington Park can be found online at www.arlingtonpark.com.
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