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|Arlington Park Barn Notes (6/25/05)
Contact: Graham Ross
In today's notes:
S J Stables LLC's Cloudy's Knight has already won at a mile and a half over Arlington's world famous turf course this season, and that bodes well for his next scheduled appearance in Arlington's Grade III Stars and Stripes Breeders' Cup Turf on Sunday of the upcoming Fourth of July weekend.
The Stars and Stripes, contested at the marathon 12-furlong distance, is one of the traditional events of Arlington's summer season and will be observing its 73rd renewal July 3.
"This is a pretty good horse to train," said Frank Kirby, Arlington's defending trainer champion when speaking of Cloudy's Knight Saturday morning. "I told the owners when I first got him that this is going to be a graded horse. He had a natural touch on the turf and he was very easy on himself when he began training. To their credit, the owners never pushed me to train him up to anything too early, and I was able to let him develop to his fullest."
In last summer's Stars and Stripes, Cloudy's Knight pressed the early pace and tired from that effort to finish sixth, but Kirby discounts that showing.
"He was fresh on the front end and the pace was pretty quick," Kirby said. "He ran a little too aggressive too early. After that, we started teaching him to rate a little bit. Rene Douglas helped us out with that. He said, 'Frank, you need to put more bit on this horse.' So we switched from a 'D' bit to a ring bit and that seems to have made a lot of difference.
"Chris Emigh rides him now," said Kirby, "and this horse has been full of run for him. Chris gets a firm hold and this horse really excels for him when he does that. And Chris is a very hard finisher and that's what he needs."
In his last trip to the post in Arlington's Mac Diarmida Handicap at a mile and a half, Cloudy's Knight rated kindly for Emigh, rallied to take command in mid-stretch and drew off late to tally by three and three-quarter lengths. The 5-year-old Lord Avie gelding breezed five-eighths on the main track in 1:04 last Monday and has a similar move scheduled this Monday.
"He's pretty fit," said Kirby of the upcoming breeze, "so we don't have to hang it to him too hard. He just ran a mile and a half."
Iron County Farms Inc.'s Apache Point, a highly regarded sophomore son of 1990 Breeders' Cup Mile winner Royal Academy, had a successful introduction to the local lawn Wednesday when he breezed five furlongs over the grass course in 1:05 with the "dogs" up.
Because of his turf breeding, trainer Frank Kirby has always held hope for a grassy future for Apache Point, whose only two starts thus far have been on the main track.
"He seemed to work okay on it," said Kirby of Apache Point's lawn debut. "He didn't work exceptionally fast but he finished good. The jock said he had no problem with the surface. He said he handled it good."
Following Wednesday's experiment, Kirby made Apache Point one of 10 late nominations to Saturday's Grade III Arlington Classic, presented by Woodford Reserve. The Classic is one of three upcoming graded grass stakes for 3-year-olds that make up Arlington's Mid-America Triple, and will be followed by the Grade II American Derby, presented by Jack Daniel's July 23, and the Grade I Secretariat Aug. 13 as part of this year's International Festival of Racing on Arlington Million Day.
"The Classic is still a possibility," said Kirby Monday morning during training hours. "We're still tossing that idea around as one of several options we have. We'll decide on that in the next couple of days. In that last start (on the dirt at Churchill June 10) he finished third, but it was a good race for him. He ran a little bit green and he set all the fractions, but he got bumped pretty hard at the sixteenth pole, and after he passed the wire he really galloped out strong. Pat Day (aboard June 10) really liked him. He told me he thinks this horse has some real ability."
Veteran Arlington Park trainer Charles Livesay, off to a slow start this meeting, broke out of his slump with style Friday afternoon by saddling two winners on the twilight racing card.
"It's been an unusually slow season until now," said Livesay Saturday morning, "but that's how it is in this game. It comes and it goes. You have to be pretty patient, but things are starting to come around now. Things should start getting going for us over the next few days."
Jockey Carlos Montalvo was aboard for both of Livesay's Friday scores, riding Virginia Inman's Love Divine to a head tally in the opener and coming back to win the fourth by four and a half astride Chantilly Spice, owned by Millard Seldin Revocable Trust & the Estate of Hoss Inman.
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