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|Arlington Park Barn Notes (5/13/05)
Contact: Graham Ross
In today's notes:
Pin Oak Stable LLC's Whimsy, undefeated in three lifetime starts -- all this season -- heads a field of seven in Saturday's $40,000 Ribbon Handicap, featured event on the second day of the 2005 Arlington Park season. The six-furlong sprint is restricted to 3-year-old fillies.
Whimsy, a homebred daughter of 1995 juvenile champion Maria's Mon trained by Mike Stidham, will be ridden by Jesse Campbell in Saturday's dash and will carry the top weight of 120 pounds among the seven starters.
Although unraced during her own 2-year-old season, Whimsy broke her maiden at first asking January 29, winning by nine and three-quarter lengths at Sam Houston Race Park. She returned to Stidham's winter headquarters at the Fair Grounds and won her next start in New Orleans Feb. 26 by two and three-quarters after coming from off the pace.
In her last trip to the post April 9 at Keeneland against a strong field of allowance runners, Whimsy dueled for the early lead in a seven-furlong affair, drew clear in upper stretch and then withstood a late challenge to be best by three-quarters.
Likely to provide strong competition for Whimsy Saturday is John C. Oxley's Miss Matched, runner-up in last summer's Grade II Spinaway at Saratoga and sixth in Keeneland's Grade II Alcibiades last fall despite racing wide.
The daughter of Formal Gold, conditioned by John Ward, made her sophomore bow on April 9 at Gulfstream and won by two and a half despite being steadied during the early going. Miss Matched is assigned 118 pounds, most of which will be made up by new Arlington jockey Shaun Bridgmohan.
Completing the field for the Ribbon 'Cap is Owen Hulse's Princess B G, 115, Chris Emigh; Stevens Miles Jr.'s Seeinsbelieven, 113, Carlos H. Marquez Jr.; Heiligbrodt Racing Stable's Lady Carmen, 115, Larry Sterling Jr.; Michael & Amy Feuerborn's A Classic Life, 115, James Graham; and Richard Otto Stables Inc.'s Tally Ho Dixie, 114, Eddie Razo Jr.
John C. Oxley's Miss Matched, second in the weights and second choice in the morning line for Saturday's featured Ribbon Handicap, "has been training wonderfully," according to Sally Schu, assistant in charge of conditioner John Ward's Arlington string.
"She'll run a little better than she did last time," said Schu Friday morning, hours before Arlington Park's 2005 opening later that afternoon. Schu was referring to Miss Matched's first start of the year at Gulfstream April 9 when she pressed the pace briefly before drawing off for a two and a half-length score. "She was a little lackadaisical that day because she'd been off such a long time. She's a better filly than that. She'll be a little sharper on Saturday."
As a 2-year-old last summer, Miss Matched won the first start of her career by 12 ½ lengths at Monmouth Park July 15, finished second in Saratoga's Grade II Spinaway and then sixth in Keeneland's Grade II Alcibiades.
James Lewis, who along with his wife Alice owned 1996 Arlington Million winner Mecke, each died earlier this month in Florida.
The Lewises both were 83. They spent 49 years running Lewis Marine Supply Inc. in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and became Thoroughbred owners in 1983.
Mr. Lewis died May 10, one week after the death of his wife of 57 years.
In addition to the Grade I Arlington Million, Mecke won the Grade I Early Times Turf Classic at Churchill Downs, and was a career earner of $2,470,550 while visiting the winner's circle 12 times during 40 starts. Mecke now stands at Ocala Stud Farm.
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