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Arlington Park Barn Notes (6/5/05)

Contact: Graham Ross

In today's notes:


Al & Saundra Kirkwood's Southern Africa, a well-traveled 3-year-old who has already raced on two continents, breezed six furlongs in 1:13 Sunday at Chicago's Arlington Park in preparation for Saturday's Belmont Stakes in New York.

The Grade I Belmont, third and final leg of this year's Triple Crown, will serve as a rubber match between Kentucky Derby winner Giacomo and Preakness champion Afleet Alex. Southern Africa did not start in the Kentucky Derby or the Preakness but won the Grade III Lone Star Derby May 14.

"I was very happy -- very pleased with the work," said trainer Michael Puhich, who was in Chicago to supervise the move. "The horse will leave Wednesday morning for New York. I couldn't be happier with the way he has been training for the Belmont. He's been doing very well since his race at Lone Star. There have been no hiccups. As great a horse as Afleet Alex is, I think now is the time to see how we match up against him. But I'd be lying if I said I wasn't an Afleet Alex fan after the way he ran his race in the Preakness."

Illinois Racing Board clocker Bobby Belpedio caught the splits of Southern Africa's move in :13, :25 1/5, :37 1/5, :50 2/5, and 1:01 4/5 before getting 1:13 for the three-quarters. Belpedio had Southern Africa galloping out seven-eighths in 1:25 2/5, and Puhich caught him galloping out the mile in 1:39.

"He did it easy," said Belpedio of Sunday's pre-Belmont breeze. "He really only ran the last part of it and then he galloped out strong. He was full of run by the time he was finishing up the breeze."

Former Arlington jockey and current exercise rider Zoe Cadman, now the wife of Arlington jockey Larry Sterling Jr., was aboard Southern Africa for Sunday's breeze.


Arlington Park will propose an alteration to its wagering rules at this month's Illinois Racing Board meeting, primarily to protect fans when races are taken off the turf once a multi-race wager pool has closed.

If the rule change is approved, a bettor who has made a Pick 3 or Pick 4 wager where the pool has already closed would be given all the horses in a race or races carded for the grass -- instead of the post time favorite -- should that race or races be taken off the turf and run on the main track due to sudden inclement weather.

"This proposed change would clearly help protect those who have multi-race wagers underway," said Arlington Park president Cliff Goodrich, "but it would also benefit management. That way, Arlington would not be placed in the situation where we would reluctantly leave a turf race on the grass because the race was part of a multi-race wager."

That particular scenario unfolded Saturday when the sixth race, a turf race for maidens, was left on the grass shortly after a sudden midday rainstorm, because a Pick 3 was already underway. However, Saturday's 10th race, carded as a grass race and including proven turf runners, was taken off the grass and run on the main track.

"Should the proposed rule change be approved," said Goodrich, "Arlington would become the only track in the country at present that will protect its bettors in this manner. Assuming approval is granted, we would hope to implement the change before the end of this meeting."

In addition to the above rule change, Arlington is also requesting a reduction of one wagering interest (in a trifecta wager from six to five wagering interests, and in a superfecta wager from seven to six) and that cancellations be allowed at self service betting machines.


Veteran Arlington reinsman Chris Emigh scored a riding triple Saturday to move into a tie for the runner-up spot with Eddie Razo Jr. in this year's current jockey standings, and conditioner Christine Janks saddled two winners (both ridden by Emigh) on the same program to gain sole possession of second position in Arlington's trainer standings through Saturday.

Janks and Emigh combined their talents with William Lydon, Arbaway Farm & Carson Springs Farm's For Gillian in the fifth race Saturday and returned to the winner's circle with Carson Springs Farm's Big Attlet after the eighth.

Emigh also tallied astride Nancy Vanier & Cartwright Thoroughbreds LLC's Straight Line in the seventh race for trainer Brian Williamson.

Leading rider Shaun Bridgmohan had a riding double Saturday, taking the third race with Frank Calabrese's Guiding Star for trainer Wayne Catalano, and coming right back in the fourth with Louis Clarizio III's Pic's Legend for conditioner Tom Tomillo.

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