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|Arlington Park Barn Notes (9/3/05)
Contact: Graham Ross
In today's notes:
Thoroughbred racing fans and guests of Arlington Park are reminded that the third of three "live" racing days will be held this Monday on Labor Day during the extended holiday weekend. Regular post time of 1 p.m. will be in effect.
Tuesday will be a "dark" day at the local oval, with "live" racing returning next Wednesday, again with the normal 1 p.m. post.
William Decker's Strike Me Lucky, third in Keeneland's Grade III Bewitch Stakes last spring, should rule the choice when she faces six other fillies and mares named to Sunday's featured $40,000-added Claire Marine Stakes at a mile and a half over the Arlington grass course.
If all seven go in the marathon event for members of the distaff set, the race will have a gross value of $41,750 with a $25,050 share of that sum going to the owners of the winner.
In her last trip to the post Aug. 12 in Arlington's Mariah's Storm Stakes, Strike Me Lucky finished sixth, but that race was on the main track. Previously, in the HBPA Handicap at Ellis Park July 16 over the turf, the daughter of Smart Strike out of a mare by the good grass sire Alleged closed boldly to finish second by a half-length when going one mile, and should appreciated the added distance Sunday.
Ralls & Foster LLC's Cape Town Lass, consistently a grass runner, was up to gain the second spot in her last start at a mile and a sixteenth August 7 here, and appears the one to beat with the added ground Sunday. In her previous outing in the Grade III Modesty Handicap -- final local prep for Arlington's Grade I Beverly D. -- Cape Town Lass was beaten two and three-quarter lengths for all of it after encountering trouble during the running.
Strike Me Lucky, trained by high win percentage horseman Grant Hofmans, will be ridden by Arlington's leading rider Shaun Bridgmohan and gets in Sunday with 119 pounds, while Cape Town Lass, conditioned by Paul McGee, shoulders 122 including jockey James Graham.
Facing the top two are Virginia Inman's Chequered Love, 119, Eusebio Razo Jr. aboard; Paul Ares & Robert Sims' R Lady Deputy, 119, Carlos Marquez Jr. astride; Willmott Stables Inc.'s Baxter Hall, 120, Brice Blanc named to handle the reins; Keith Myers' Grand Illusion, 119, Chris Emigh slated for the tack; and Quarter B. Farm's Beau Happy, 124, Jesse Campbell in the irons.
Richard Hazelton, the Arlington-based trainer who has been a legend for decades and passed the 4,000 win-milestone in 1994, was presented with Arlington's "Lifetime Achievement Award" during Arlington's dinner-dance thanking horsemen for their support during the 2005 season which closes Sept. 18.
The 2005 dinner -- titled "The Big Wind Down" -- was held at Trackside Arlington Park Thursday evening shortly after the day's racing program was completed.
Trainer Shannon Ritter, a former jockey who began training on her own this spring after serving as a long-time assistant to Elliott Walden, saddled the first winner of her young new career shortly after Arlington's opening in May, and was recognized with Arlington's "Rising Star Award" during the Thursday festivities.
Other awards presented went to perennial leading owner Frank Calabrese once again this summer; conditioner Wayne Catalano who has now won three of the last four local training titles; and 2005's leading Arlington jockey Shaun Bridgmohan, a newcomer to Chicago but an Eclipse Award winner as an apprentice in 1998.
Owner Nancy Vanier, trainer Brian Williamson and jockey Jesse Campbell were presented Arlington's August awards in their respective categories during Friday's twilight racing program.
The fifth leg of the 2005 World Racing Championship and the first since the Grade I Arlington Million Aug. 13 will be held this Sunday in Germany.
Defending champion Warrsan heads the field of 11 in the Group I Grosser Volkswagen Preis von Baden at the Iffezheim Racecourse near Baden-Baden.
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