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Arlington Park Barn Notes (6/21/06)

Contact: Graham Ross

In today's notes:


Reigning Illinois Horse of the Year Original Spin, owned by the Russell L. Reineman Stable Inc., breezed five furlongs from the gate in a bullet :59.40 Monday in preparation for Saturday’s $75,000 Purple Violet: one of six stakes races restricted to Illinois-breds that make up this weekend’s seventh running of the Prairie State Festival at Arlington Park.

Original Spin, a 3-year-old daughter of Distorted Humor, won the Grade III Arlington-Washington Breeders’ Cup Lassie Stakes last Sept. 18, went on to finish third in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Belmont Oct. 29, but was unplaced in Gulfstream’s Grade II Forward Gal Stakes March 5. The Purple Violet, for 3-year-old fillies at one mile, will be her second start as a sophomore.

“She was smooth as glass out there this morning,” said Illinois State clocker Bobby Belpedio Monday morning shortly after Original Spin’s breeze. “After the work, when Tony (trainer Mitchell) called upstairs, I told him it’s possible she may be better this year than she was last year.”

“She was ‘poetry in motion’ out there the other day,” said Mitchell Wednesday. “Normally, I wouldn’t want any horse of mine to work that fast, but we didn’t ask her, and she went so easy we didn’t want to crank her down. She had a very happy breeze, which was what we wanted more than anything, and it was all her own idea.”


Notable among numerous other works recorded on Arlington Park tabs this week prior to the Prairie State Festival were moves by the quartet of assigned highweights for Saturday’s four handicap stakes.

Team Block’s Fort Prado, assigned 124 pounds in defense of his championship in the $75,000 grassy Black Tie Affair Handicap, breezed five furlongs in 1:00.60 Sunday.

The 5-year-old gray, named Illinois Turf Male and Older Male champion last year, captured the Grade III Fair Grounds Breeders’ Cup Handicap Jan. 21, won the Tampa Bay Breeders’ Cup Feb. 25 in Western Florida, and Sam Houston Park’s Grade III John B. Connally Breeders’ Cup Handicap in his most recent start April 8.

Quarter B. Farm’s Beau Happy, with the highweight of 118 in Saturday’s $75,000 Lincoln Heritage Handicap on the turf after winning last year’s running, breezed four furlongs in :51.20 Sunday. She was most recently second by a half in Arlington’s $42,375 Reluctant Guest Stakes May 28.

Bob and Nancy Bartels’ Bluesbdancing, with the top impost of 122 for Saturday’s $75,000 Isaac Murphy Handicap for fillies and mares at six furlongs, breezed a half in :49 Monday after finishing second by a length in Arlington’s $41,750 Your Ladyship Stakes June 2.

Shari and Michael Brickman’s Alabama Clay, asked to shoulder 122 pounds in Saturday’s $75,000 White Oak Handicap for 3-year-olds and up at three-quarters, breezed a bullet three-eighths in :35.40 Wednesday morning during training hours after winning her last three trips to the post.


Stonecrest Farm’s Perfect Drift, an Arlington Million contestant three years ago, is coming to Arlington Park again, but will bypass the grassy Grade I Million in favor of main track competition two weeks earlier.

“We’re looking to try to win the Washington Park Handicap again,” said trainer Murray Johnson, speaking over the phone from Louisville Monday concerning Arlington’s Grade II event at a mile and three sixteenths July 29.

Perfect Drift, defending champion in the Washington Park ‘Cap, appeared on his way to victory in last Saturday’s Grade I Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs before being caught in the last jump by longshot Seek Gold.

The 7-year-old Dynaformer gelding, who also won the 2003 Washington Park prior to his eighth-place finish in the Million that year, could become the first three-time winner of the Washington Park in its 74-year history.


Veteran Arlington Park jockey Shane Laviolette, with 1,499 career wins through Sunday’s program, has two chances to reach the 1,500-win plateau Wednesday.

Laviolette, 32, a native of New Orleans, rides 2 Blondes Inc.’s Batting a Thousand in Wednesday’s opener, and returns aboard Cherrywood Racing Stable II’s Awesomewithbroads in the eighth race.

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