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|Arlington Park Barn Notes (7/31/05)
Contact: Graham Ross
In today's notes:
Stonecrest Farm's Perfect Drift, dominant Saturday at Arlington Park in defense of his Grade II Washington Park championship of two years ago, shipped back to his Louisville base Sunday morning to prepare for a projected next engagement in Del Mar's Grade I Pacific Classic Aug. 21.
"He's doing fine," said trainer Murray Johnson in the midst of his own trip back to his Kentucky headquarters. "Assuming he continues to do well, we'll probably point to the Del Mar race after the way he ran Saturday."
Was Johnson concerned while Perfect Drift was trapped along the inside during the early running of Arlington's second oldest stakes race?
"I was a little worried," Johnson said, "but I knew we had plenty of horse left, and I knew Mark (jockey Guidry) would play it cool. I thought he would end of having to go around the field, but then he got lucky and found a hole to run through."
Pin Oak Stable LLC's Cryptograph, second choice in Saturday's Grade II Washington Park Handicap and forwardly placed before fading to seventh, came out of the race in good order, according to trainer Donnie K. Von Hemel on Sunday morning.
"He came back good," said Von Hemel. "He was just a little too aggressive early. He was fighting Don (jockey Pettinger) while Don was trying to get him to rate, and that ended up costing him. The plan was to take him back, like he usually runs, but the horse didn't have the same idea."
Russell L. Reineman Stable Inc.'s Home of Stars, third a half-length behind Everest Stables Inc.'s pacesetting Mambo Train, and R Bar S Thoroughbreds LLP Fantasticat, the sixth-place runner, also came out of the Washington Park in good order.
"We should have been second," said Bobby Springer, trainer of Home of Stars. "We got packed out when Billy Allen (fourth-place finisher) made his move. He let the favorite out and made his move into us."
"Fantasticat left Arlington at 4:30 this morning, and he looked good," said Bobby Barnett, trainer of the winner of last year's Grade II Super Derby. "If you take Perfect Drift out of there, we were only beat a couple of lengths, so it was a good race for him.
"We'll probably ship him to Evangeline (Downs) for a hundred grander (Evangeline Mile Handicap) they have coming up there in a couple of weeks," Barnett said.
Gary Tanaka's Billy Allen, winner of four out of five legs of the European All-Weather Championship this year and fourth in Saturday's Grade II Washington Park Handicap, ate up well Saturday night and was doing well when trainer Fabrice Chappet left Chicago on a flight to Paris. Reached at Deauville on Sunday morning, Chappet was pleased with Billy Allen's race.
"It was a great race for him," said Chappet. "Billy was a bit too keen the first part of it, and as a result of that he got a little tired in the last part.
"But the winner is a real race horse," said Chappet. "Our horse ran a good race, considering the level of competition he was facing. It's a little too soon to say what our plans are. I have to talk to the owner, but I would say there's a good chance we will run again in the United States."
Veteran jockey Mark Guidry, Arlington's jockey champion in 1992 and 2000, posted his first four-win day at Chicago's Northwest oval since his triumphant return following the close of this spring's Churchill Downs meeting July 10.
Guidry's masterful performance winning Saturday's Grade II Washington Park Handicap aboard Stonecrest Farm's Perfect Drift for trainer Murray Johnson served as the exclamation point of his four-bagger.
However, the Louisiana-born rider also took the fifth astride George Ditola's Pretty Explosive for conditioner Larry Rivelli, the eighth aboard Late Night Stables LLC's Prodigus for newly established head trainer Helen Pitts, and the finale on Curtis Tuftie & Duane Hoadley's Shakeel's Command for Arlington's defending trainer champion Frank Kirby.
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