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Arlington Park Barn Notes (5/14/06)

Contact: Graham Ross

In today's notes:


Frank Calabrese’s Lewis Michael, fourth in the Grade II Illinois Derby at last asking April 8, breezed a bullet five furlongs in :59 4/5 Sunday at Arlington over muddy going and galloped out three-quarters in 1:12 3/5 in preparation for the Grade II Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont Park May 20.

Jockey Ariel Smith was aboard for Sunday’s move, but Mark Guidry, Arlington’s leading rider in 1992 and 2000, will ride Lewis Michael in the nine-furlong Peter Pan, according to trainer Wayne Catalano. The Peter Pan could serve as an excellent prep for this year’s Grade I Belmont Stakes, final leg of the 2006 Triple Crown.

“He worked excellent,” said Catalano, Arlington’s defending trainer champion. “He went very, very well, and as luck would have it, we worked him during a period when the track was as good as it’s going to be given the weather over the last few days. We pulled the trigger at the right time and he went super. We’ll probably send him to Belmont tomorrow (Monday) or the next day.”

“Lewis Michael went real easy,” said Bobby Belpedio, Illinois Racing Board clocker who timed the Sunday move. “They weren’t sending (asking) him at all. He did it in hand and in company (with Calabrese’s 5-year-old gelding Touch Em All) and beat the other horse by a half-length.”

Lewis Michael, a son of Rahy out of Calabrese’s Broad Brush mare Justenuffheart, was narrowly excluded from last week’s Kentucky Derby when 23rd on the earnings list. The bay Kentucky-bred broke his maiden at Arlington last Sept. 8 when going a mile and a sixteenth on the grass. The colt won Churchill’s Grand Canyon Handicap over the Twin Spires turf course Nov. 20, and was third in Calder’s Grade III Tropical Park Derby Jan. 1, also over the lawn.

Calabrese has been Arlington Park’s leading owner for the last six years, and Catalano has been leading trainer four of the last six seasons.


Mother’s Day guests of Arlington Park who like to wager on female jockeys will get their chance in Sunday’s ninth race when British-born apprentice rider Lori Keith makes her local debut astride Kid Coyote, an Illinois-bred 5-year-old gelding owned by Steve Holsapple and trained by female conditioner Cynthia Hall.

Keith, a 23-year-old native of Epsom, where the Group I Epsom Derby is run at Epsom Downs, galloped horses for British-born Hall of Fame trainer Neil Drysdale for two years in California.

“Mr. Drysdale is a brilliant horseman and he taught me a hell of a lot,” said Keith Sunday morning during training hours. “He sent me to Turf Paradise where I rode 35 winners this winter. He said there would be more opportunities for me to ride if I went east, and now I’m here to try Arlington Park.”

Kid Coyote made the pace in his most recent trip to the post April 30 at Hawthorne but tired to finish fifth, and is 30-1 in Arlington’s morning line Sunday.

“I know nothing about him at all,” said Keith, “but hopefully we’ll light the board up.”


Grade I Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, bred and owned by Lael Stables, and Group I Two Thousand Guineas hero George Washington, also bred by Lael but now owned by Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith, give Arlington’s international fans who favor Barbaro and his connections the chance to cheer for two Triple Crowns this year.

Barbaro, of course, is slated for the Grade I Preakness at Pimlico in Baltimore Saturday (and simulcast to Arlington), as the second leg of the America’s Triple Crown, while George Washington remains eligible to the second leg of the English Triple Crown, the Group I Epsom Derby, run at Epsom Downs June 3.

The final leg of America’s Triple Crown is the Grade I Belmont Stakes run at Belmont Park in New York June 10, while the Group I St. Leger Stakes, final leg of the English Triple Crown, will be run Sept. 9 at York, which will serve as temporary host for Doncaster this year.


Francisco Torres, one of the tallest jockeys in the Arlington Park jockey colony this season, and Eddie Perez, whose nickname “Shorty” did not come without reason, both had riding doubles Saturday at Arlington.

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