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Arlington Park Barn Notes (6/3/05)

Contact: Graham Ross

In today's notes:


Eliah & Lisa Kahn's Exceptional Ride, a 3-year-old son of Chester House, winner of Arlington Million XVIII, should rule the choice when he heads a field of 11 other sophomores in Saturday's Awad Stakes, to be contested at one mile over the Arlington lawn.

However, the featured turf test could also serve as a preview to Arlington's Mid-America Triple that begins with the Grade III Arlington Classic, presented by Woodford Reserve July 2, continues with the Grade II American Derby, presented by Jack Daniel's July 23, and concludes with the Grade I Secretariat Aug. 13.

Exceptional Ride was sixth in Churchill's Grade III Crown Royal American Turf Stakes at last asking on Kentucky Oaks Day, May 6, but was only beaten two and a half lengths for the win despite being kept 10-wide. Before that, the Ken McPeek trainee disappointed as the choice of the fans in Calder's Grade III Tropical Park Derby when making his first start of the year on New Year's Day, but was also forced wide that day.

Last fall, at the conclusion of his juvenile campaign, Exceptional Ride came from far back to be clearly best in Churchill's Grand Canyon Handicap Nov. 21 over a yielding turf course, and was a four-length winner before that under allowance conditions over the Louisville grass. Irish-born jockey James Graham is named to handle the reins Saturday.

One of the more interesting challengers for Exceptional Ride Saturday is Iron County Farms Inc.'s Apache Point, tabbed by defending trainer champion Frank Kirby as one of the potential stars in his barn this summer. The homebred has only started once, breaking his maiden by five lengths on Hawthorne's main track Dec. 8. However, the Kentucky-bred colt is by Royal Academy, an excellent turf sire who won the 1990 edition of the Grade I Breeders' Cup Mile at Belmont Park. Tim Thornton is slated for the saddle.

Another lightly raced Awad contestant with unlimited potential over the lawn is Equest Racing Stable LLC's Summer Legacy, an invader from Great Lakes Downs who won his only start on grass Jan. 6 at Tampa. Returned to the main course for the Sam F. Davis Stakes Feb. 26, Summer Legacy was easily second best behind Andromeda's Hero, eighth in the Kentucky Derby at last asking but now being pointed for the Belmont Stakes June 11. Federico Mata is up.

Wexler Racing Stables Inc.'s Kid Grindstone and Gabe Grossberg's Cosmic Kris, first and second respectively a head apart in a May 18 turf test here, are also worthy of strong consideration Saturday. Kid Grindstone is now undefeated in two turf starts and Cosmic Kris, with excellent turf breeding on his bottom side, was third in Keeneland's grassy Forerunner April 21.

Kid Grindstone will be ridden by Jesse Campbell Saturday and Cosmic Kris has leading rider Shaun Bridgmohan named in the irons.

Completing the Awad field is the Brian Williamson-trained coupling of Nancy Vanier's Win Me Over and Nancy Vanier & Cartwright Thoroughbreds LLC's Straight Line, Chris Emigh listed astride both; Hugh Robertson & Homewrecker Racing LLC's Three Hour Nap, Eddie Razo Jr.; Tom Fedro & Darrell and Sadie Brommer's Sir Winzalot, Carlos Marquez Jr.; Vinery Stable's Ready Ruler, Larry Sterling Jr.; and Dare To Dream Stable LLC's Raving Rocket, E. T. Baird up.


Shaun Bridgmohan, Arlington's leading rider, as well as Eddie Razo Jr., currently the clear runner-up in the standings, each posted riding doubles on Thursday's Arlington program.

Bridgmohan visited the winner's circle astride Milton Cockrell's Stalwart's Heir after the fifth and again aboard Frank Calabrese's Actcentric following in the finale, while Razo rode Willmott Stables Inc.'s Broad Acres to a win in the fourth and repeated with Team Block's Killing M Softly in the eighth.

Not so coincidentally, Bridgmohan and Razo also rank first and second respectively in win percentages among those who have accepted more than 10 mounts locally. Bridgmohan had visited the winner's circle at a 31 percent clip through Thursday's 15th day of the season while Razo followed closely with a 27 percent win rate.

Leading trainer Wayne Catalano and leading owner Frank Calabrese also posted doubles Thursday, and both members of that tandem are maintaining even higher win percentages.

Catalano was saddling winners at a 42 percent rate through Thursday, while Calabrese maintained a 44 percent win rate.

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