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Arlington Park Barn Notes (8/21/05)

Contact: Graham Ross

In today's notes:


John Oxley's Miss Matched, heroine of Saturday's Arlington Oaks, was justifiably proud of herself Sunday morning, according to assistant trainer Sally Schu, in charge of trainer John Ward's Chicago string.

"She's doing just fine," said Schu. "She ate up all her feed last night and right now as we speak she's just swinging her head around in her stall. She's very proud of herself and she should be. That was a good group of fillies she beat yesterday."

The Kentucky-bred daughter of Formal Gold out of a Cure the Blues mare won Churchill's Grade III Dogwood Breeders' Cup Stakes June 11 and reinforced that tally with her one-length score in Arlington's main event for 3-year-old fillies Saturday.

"I don't know what the boss (Ward) has in mind for her next," said Schu, "but this string is shipping to Belmont when the Arlington season ends (Sept. 18)."

Elkhorn Oaks Racing LLC's Gallant Secret, who came from far back to gain the second spot in Saturday's Oaks, also came out of the race in good order.

"My filly did good and came out of the race good," said trainer James Jackson. "She got strung a little wide entering the lane, but I was very happy with the ride she got (from Jesse Campbell) and with my whole trip to Arlington. They treated us very well there.

"I'm proud of my filly and the race she ran yesterday," said Jackson. "We're looking at a couple of spots for her next race: one at Keeneland and one in Indiana."

Gallant Serenade, a homebred daughter of Menifee out of an Alysheba mare, ran third in Churchill's Grade I Kentucky Oaks this spring and was then sixth behind Miss Matched in the Dogwood after an awkward break.

Pin Oak Stable LLC's Whimsy, 17-10 favorite in the Arlington Oaks, challenged for command in mid-stretch but tired to finish fifth.

"She came out in good shape," said trainer Mike Stidham during Arlington training hours Sunday. "Basically, the race was just a little further than she wanted to go. We'll look around and see what's out there before we decide what's next for her."

Whimsy won the Grade III Iowa Oaks and the Panthers Stakes at Prairie Meadows -- at a mile and a sixteenth and at one mile -- in her two previous outings.


Apprentice jockey Kyle Kaenel -- son of winning Preakness jockey "Cowboy" Jack Kaenel -- has been cleared to begin riding again as he recovers from a fractured vertebra sustained in an April spill at Turf Paradise.

"I galloped one horse yesterday and two today," said the younger Kaenel during training hours Sunday morning at Arlington. "So far my neck feels good. In fact, everything feels good. I just have to see how things go as I gradually get back into it. I don't have a definite date to begin riding again. I don't want to rush things too much, so I'll just see how I feel each day."

Listed 13th among riders in the national standings for the year at the time of his Arizona spill, Kaenel had a 21 percent win ratio and a 51 percent in-the-money-ratio. He won four races in one day on five separate occasions at Turf Paradise.

He rode his first winner last September at Kentucky Downs and had visited the winner's circle 115 times prior to his injury.

As a 17-year-old born in New York while his father was riding at Aqueduct, Kyle Kaenel had not been born when Jack Kaenel won the Grade I Preakness Stakes as a 16-year-old aboard Aloma's Ruler in 1982.

Following his career-threatening April injury -- similar to those suffered by Hall of Fame jockeys Laffit Pincay Jr. and Eddie Delahoussaye -- Kaenel was fitted with a halo brace that he was forced to wear for three and a half months. Doctors expected the rider to be out of action for at least a year, but cleared him to return to riding after an unusually quick recovery. The youngster was in a "hard collar" until last Wednesday. Kyle Kaenel's mother, Debbie Crough, is also a former jockey, as is his aunt Jill, a cancer survivor now married to jockey Rodney Trader.

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