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|Arlington Park Barn Notes (5/19/05)
Contact: Graham Ross
In today's notes:
Victor Achar's Huatusco surprised Arlington guests as well as her trainer Angel Medina when she made the pace and held on willingly in Wednesday's second race to win by a length and three-quarters.
Overlooked in the wagering, Huatusco returned $124.40 to win for a $2 wager; easily the largest win price thus far in the young Arlington season.
"She likes it here at Arlington," said trainer Angel Medina. "She breezed in :34 2/5 for me here last year and she had at least some trouble in all her starts this winter at Gulfstream. I went to bet $20 to win on her yesterday because I thought she had a chance but then I changed my mind just before I got to the window. That would have been a very nice payoff -- more than $1,200 -- but still, I'm very happy she won. It was my second win here this year. I'm off to a good start, and I hope I can keep it going."
Medina will be remembered from his initial season here last year as the trainer of Caiman, who unsuccessfully shipped from Arlington to New York for the 2004 Belmont Stakes, but during the course of his four-decade career, the Venezuelan-born conditioner has carved a niche by saddling surprise winners.
Included among Medina's upsets: My Luck Runs North defeated two-time Breeders' Cup Mile winner Lure in Keeneland's Grade II Lexington Stakes in 1992. Also, in 1988, Medina's All Sincerity defeated 1985 Belmont Stakes winner Crème Fraiche in the Grade II William. L. McKnight Handicap at Calder.
And most recently -- at least before this week's surprise -- the Medina-conditioned American Halo beat multiple Grade I winner Sir Bear in Gulfstream's Grade III Skip Away Handicap.
Ironically, both the largest place price ($33) and the largest show price ($14.20) of the season were also recorded Wednesday, but neither one of them was registered by Huatusco.
Arlington Park guests will get their introduction to French-born trainer Bertrand de Brevedent when he saddles a first-time starter named Livingston Creek in Saturday's third race.
Born in Honsleur, about 20 minutes north of Deauville, de Brevedent began his career working for trainer Nicolas Clement in France in 1992 but came to the United States to work for Clement's younger brother Christophe shortly after that conditioner arrived in North America.
After a decade as Clement's assistant, de Brevedent -- married to the former Jennifer Burke, for several seasons a television personality at both Monmouth Park and Gulfstream - went on his own about two years ago.
"A lot has happened in the last couple of years," said de Brevedent, when discussing his brief star-crossed career. "First, I went on my own after those years as an assistant to Christophe, then our daughter Phoebe was born 19 ½ months ago, and then I had a heart attack.
"There's a lot of stress in this business," said the 37-year-old de Brevedent. "They tell me I care too much about my horses and my owners, but that's the way I am."
Obviously, his owners care for him as well. While he was still in the hospital, two of his primary clients, Kip Knelman and Peter Blum, immediately asked if they could help by transferring their horses to someone else. When told that was not the answer, they sent him an additional 10 to train.
Now completely recovered, although he is not allowed to gallop his own horses anymore, de Brevedent is looking forward to his summer at Arlington.
"Livingston Creek, in Saturday's third, has been training well and had a nice blowout two days ago," said de Brevedent, "and I have another horse named Silver Castle entered Sunday."
Frank Calabrese's Liz On Polk Street, a winner by almost four lengths in her last start at Hawthorne April 26, looms a strong choice in Saturday's headliner at Arlington Park, the $42,250 Fit For A Queen Stakes.
Capable of providing strong competition in the six-furlong sprint restricted to fillies and mares is Russell L. Reineman Stable Inc.'s Silver Crown, who disappointed in her last in the Stravinsky Stakes at Keeneland on turf April 23 but was second in the Pan Zareta Handicap on the main track in New Orleans Feb. 5.
Completing Saturday's field is Van Keirsbilck & Young Stable's Counttheblessings; Bob & Nancy Bartels' Glitterbdancing; Allen Tanis's Rich City Girl; Patricia Shenofsky's Di's Delight; Avalon Racing Inc.'s Miss Concerto; 2 Blondes Inc.'s Pass the Pepper; and William Pacella, Joseph Rizza, & Ronald Schwed's My Ro.
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