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|Arlington Park Barn Notes (6/7/06)
Contact: Graham Ross
In today's notes:
Arlington Park will offer simulcast wagering on Saturday’s 138th running of the Grade I Belmont Stakes from Belmont Park in New York as the final jewel of Thoroughbred racing’s 2006 Triple Crown. On Friday, Arlington (and all Illinois Trackside OTB locations) will offer advance wagering on the Belmont.
Although the injury to Lael Stable’s Barbaro in the Preakness ended the hopes for a Triple Crown winner this season and compromised the general public’s interest in the Belmont Stakes, more sophisticated racing fans can turn their attention to Belmont’s Grade I Manhattan Handicap carded that same afternoon.
The Manhattan, for 3-year-olds and up at a mile and a quarter over the New York lawn, has traditionally served as a major prep for turf stars with designs on the Grade I Arlington Million, to be run at Chicago’s premier Thoroughbred oval Aug. 12 as part of Arlington Park’s 2006 International Festival of Racing.
Among this year’s Arlington Million nominees slated to compete in Saturday’s Manhattan Handicap is James Scatuorchio’s English Channel, winner of the Grade I Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day May 6. Last summer English Channel finished second in Arlington’s Grade I Secretariat Stakes on Arlington Million Day.
Irish-bred Grey Swallow, a multiple Group I winner in Europe owned by Vega Fze and Mrs. C. L. Weld, will share the top impost of 122 pounds with English Channel in New York Saturday. On May 13 in what was his seasonal and North American bow, Grey Swallow was five lengths the best in Hollywood Park’s Grade II Jim Murray Memorial Handicap.
English Channel is conditioned by Todd Pletcher, North American’s Eclipse Award-winning trainer for the last two years, while Grey Swallow is trained by Dermot Weld, Ireland’s all-time leading conditioner who saddled Grey Swallow to win the Group I Tattersalls Gold Cup last summer and the Group I Budweiser Irish Derby two years ago, both over The Curragh on the Emerald Isle.
In addition to advance wagering on the Belmont Stakes Friday, Arlington will offer its Miller Lite Party In The Park with music provided by the U2 tribute band “Elevation.” First race and first song begin at 3 p.m.
Following Friday’s races, Arlington guests can regroup at Trackside Arlington Park and become the lead singers of their own rock band when Live Band Karaoke brings their show to Party On The Patio right after the live racing program.
On Saturday, Arlington’s Bud Light Summer Bash & BBQ presents the unique sound of the soul band “World Class Noise,” with first race and first song at 1 p.m. A grilled foot-long Polish sausage will be the food special at the BBQ.
On Sunday, Arlington offers its Pepsi Family Day, presented by the Daily Herald. This week, families can participate in a genuine Treasure Quest that will take parents and children on a search of the Arlington Park grounds for clues and a chance to win prizes.
Also on Sunday during the Junior Jockey Club program, JJC members will take a tram ride around the track to see it from all points of view and learn what the jockey is feeling as a race unfolds. Pre-registration is required for the tram ride.
After saddling J. Denker and S. D. Brilie Ltd. Partnership’s High Expectations to win Sunday’s $41,625 Zen Stakes, Christine Janks moved to a narrow one-win advantage over defending champion Wayne Catalano and Chicagoland staple Tom Tomillo in this summer’s Arlington Park trainer standings.
Jockey Francisco Torres, aboard High Expectations for his second win Sunday, had tallied with Tom Pearson’s Honey Glazd Turkey in the opener for trainer Jimmy McMullen, and is clearly second in the jockey standings through Sunday with 22 wins, 10 more than his nearest pursuers. However, Chris Emigh, the meeting’s leading rider, remains far in front with 36 winners through Sunday.
Janks, on a hot streak of late and credited with four stakes winners over the last two weekends here, missed fifth via a disqualification two weekends ago.
“I consider myself very fortunate to be in this position this year,” said Janks in winner’s circle ceremonies following the Zen. “There have been a lot of years when I haven’t had a winner this far into the season, and I haven’t forgotten that.
“I thought ‘Cisco’ gave him (High Expectations) a great ride,” said Janks. “We go way back with ‘Cisco,’ – my husband Barry used to have his book.”
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