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Arlington Park Barn Notes (9/9/05)

Contact: Graham Ross

In today's notes:


Thomas Van Meter II & Doug Hendrickson's Ole Faunty, impressive when making his first start on grass for a four-length tally at Arlington Aug. 7, should rule the choice when he faces seven rivals in Saturday's featured $42,000 John Henry Stakes at a mile and an eighth over the local lawn.

The 6-year-old gelding, who competed against horses like Roses in May in last year's Grade III Cornhusker Handicap at Prairie Meadows and also ran in the Grade I Pimlico Special in 2004 -- both over the main course -- returned to competition in Laurel's tradition-rich John B. Campbell Handicap in February to finish third, was then eighth in Gulfstream's Grade III Skip Away and fifth in Keeneland's Grade III Ben Ali handicaps in April before exiting graded stakes company.

In his first Chicago start this summer he made the pace in Arlington's Dr. Fager Stakes at a mile and an eighth on the main track but weakened to finish third.

Switched to the grass last time by trainer Shannon Ritter -- Arlington's "Rising Star" winner this summer -- the son of Quiet American made the pace and increased the margin in the stretch run. French-born Brice Blanc, one of Arlington's most accomplished grass jockeys, has been named to handle the reins.

Russell L. Reineman Stable Inc.'s Home of Stars, an impressive third behind Perfect Drift in Arlington's Grade II Washington Park Handicap in his last start July 30 on the main track, merits serious consideration here. Previously the Illinois-bred was third behind Fort Prado and Scooter Roach June 25 in the grassy $86,950 Black Tie Affair Handicap on Prairie State Festival Day. Regular rider James Graham, another local jockey proficient on the turf course, is slated for the tack once again.

Facing those two Saturday are Millard R. Seldin Revocable Trust & the Estate of Hoss Inman's Lacer, Eusebio Razo Jr.; Juddmonte Farms Inc.'s Diplomatic Agent, Chris Emigh; Nelson Bunker Hunt's Gondolieri, Shaun Bridgmohan; Orion Stables Big Glori, Earlie Fires; William Dobozi's Exploited Storm, Jesse Campbell; and Twin Lanterns Racing Stables LLC's Shiloh Bound, Shane Laviolette.

Diplomatic Agent must be given consideration in this group. Trained by Chris Speckert, the Kentucky homebred by Deputy Minister out of a Zafonic mare has an excellent grass pedigree, and put together three good grass efforts going two turns in April, May and June. Away from competition for almost two months, he disappointed when well beaten in Mountaineer's West Virginia House of Delegates Speaker's Cup Aug. 14 but merits another chance at a price in this field.


Wayne Catalano, leading trainer at Arlington Park two of the last three years, is already assured of his fourth local championship this summer after saddling 61 winners through Thursday, and is now only three victories away from the record 64-win mark he established here during the 2002 season, after winning Thursday's seventh race with Frank Calabrese's Lewis Michael.

Less publicized is "The Cat Man's" advancement from 11th to seventh among Arlington all-time leading trainers list during the current summer season.

With 492 Arlington winners during his Arlington career through Thursday, the New Orleans native, 49, has leapfrogged over such Arlington all-time leaders as the late William Hal Bishop with 465, Chicago stalwart Bert Sonnier with 460, Tom Kelley with 459, and Clifford Scott with 452 career victories at Arlington.

Still in front of Catalano is all-time Arlington winning conditioner Richard Hazelton, still active locally with 1,149 Arlington winners through Thursday, the late Jere Smith Sr. with 783, still active Harvey Vanier with 719, the late Joe Bollero with 591, now-retired Lou Goldfine with 575, and the late Arnie Winick with 542.

Catalano saddles Frank Calabrese's Fitzroyal, the morning line favorite, in Friday's fifth race with leading rider Shaun Bridgmohan aboard.

Capable of advancing another notch into fifth position in the 2005 jockey standings on Friday is Mark Guidry, a two-time former Arlington champion who didn't return this season until after Churchill closed July 10.

Guidry scored a riding double Thursday, winning the fourth with Richard Averill's Cheris' Dancer for trainer Larry Rivelli and the finale on Richard Trebat & Hondo Racing LLC's Salt Syn for last summer's trainer champion Frank Kirby. Guidry is listed for six mounts Friday.

Jockey Shane Laviolette -- a native of Louisiana as is Guidry -- also posted a riding double Thursday, winning the fifth with M.T.C.P. Stable's Irena Point for trainer Paul McGee, and the featured eighth astride Alice Muller's Take D' Tour for trainer Tony Granitz.

Veteran local reinsman Jerry La Sala rode both halves of the Daily Double Thursday, capturing the opener on Linne & Nancy Calkins' Linnie for Charlie Bettis and the second on Joel Berndt & Mike McGrath's Chrome Soldier, who is trained by Berndt.

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