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|Arlington Park Barn Notes (7/3/05)
Contact: Graham Ross
In today's notes:
Guests at Arlington Park on the Fourth of July are reminded that post time for the first race on America's Birthday will be 2:30 p.m., with Arlington's traditional fireworks show, presented by LaSalle Bank, beginning at dusk after the conclusion of the racing program.
Monday's special racing program is the second of three Monday racing programs offered at Arlington this season. Consequently, there will be no racing at Arlington Wednesday, with Arlington reverting to its normal schedule on Thursday.
E. J. Sukley's Purim, clearly best when winning Saturday's Grade III Arlington Classic, presented by Woodford Reserve, by two and a half lengths, came out of that effort very well and was doing well Sunday morning at trainer Tom Proctor's Arlington barn.
"He came back good. A-OK," said his proud owner Sunday. "There couldn't be anything bigger for my first stakes win, to have it be at Arlington Park. I've waited a long time and it's especially nice, being his breeder as well. It's going to take a long time to come down."
Purim, perfectly bred for the turf as a son of Dynaformer out of a Lord At War mare, is now in a position to become the first horse in eight years -- and only the fourth in history -- to sweep Arlington's Mid-America Triple. James Schaedle III's Honor Glide accomplished that feat in 1997. Before that Ogden Phipps' Buckpasser swept the Chicago series in 1966 on his way to Horse of the Year honors, and Powhatan's Tom Rolfe did it in 1965 after winning the Grade I Preakness earlier in the spring.
The Mid-America Triple continues with the Grade II American Derby, presented by Jack Daniel's July 23, and concludes with the Grade I Secretariat Aug. 13 as part of the International Festival of Racing on Arlington Million Day.
"We're still not sure what we have here," said Sukley when asked about the Mid-America Triple, "but those races are in our plans. We hope to run in at least one of them."
Asked about the origin of Purim's name, Sukley said, "It's a Persian word meaning 'cast the lot' or 'roll the dice.' I later found out that it was the name of a Jewish holiday."
John C. Oxley's Gold Minister, fifth in Saturday's Classic, got hit by a clod during the running and assistant trainer Sally Schu reported Sunday that the Deputy Minister colt has a bump the size of a softball surrounding his eye. "He'll be fine, bless his heart," said Schu. "Other than that, he's okay. The funny thing is the same thing happened to him in the race he won here. He's a small horse, so maybe because he's so short he's more susceptible to that kind of thing. The original plan was to have him run in the Triple, but we'll see how he's doing over the next few days. That (next start) will be John's (trainer Ward) decision to make."
Al & Saundra Kirkwood's Southern Africa, a Belmont Stakes contestant who won the Grade III Lone Star Derby earlier this spring, was a disappointing seventh in the Classic, and will be returned to the main course for his immediate future.
"He stumbled pretty badly at the start and took another bad bobble shortly after the start," said trainer Mike Puhich, "but after that he didn't pick it up and dig in the way you need to on a grass course, so we'll go back to (main course) what works for us. The good thing is he came back really good, so he'll have other chances."
Veteran jockey Mark Guidry, Arlington's jockey champion in 1992 and 2000 but currently on the Kentucky circuit, returned to Arlington for the first time this summer to ride three winners on Saturday's program, including the Grade III Arlington Classic, presented by Woodford Reserve, aboard E. J. Sukley's Purim for trainer Tom Proctor.
"It was a perfect day for me, and I'm very appreciative of it," said Guidry after winning Saturday's finale aboard Richard Trebat's Finding Speed for trainer Frank Kirby for his third win from five mounts during the day. "I'd just like to thank Mr. Trebat, Frank and Tom and everybody who helped get me on these horses today. I'll be back for a good portion of the season after Churchill closes next week. I'll probably ride here Wednesday or Thursday of that week. It's really nice to come back here."
Arlington regular rider Eddie Razo Jr. rode both halves of Saturday's Daily Double, and conditioner Don Von Hemel saddled two winners during the afternoon.
William Carl's Galloping Gal heads a field of 11 fillies and mares named to Monday's featured $40,000 Possibly Perfect Stakes at nine furlongs over the Arlington lawn.
The race restricted to members of the distaff set serves as a local prep for the Grade III Modesty Handicap July 23 during Arlington's Million Preview Day.
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