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|Arlington Park Barn Notes (6/24/06)
Contact: Graham Ross
In today's notes:
How good is South America’s Cursora? Good enough to have won two Group I races in Argentina, and good enough to have been been scouted by Southern Hemisphere expert Ken McPeek on behalf of Katsumi Yoshida, and good enough to have been brought to North America with designs on Arlington Park’s Grade I Beverly D. Stakes Aug. 12.
But you have to crawl before you can walk, and with that in mind, Beverly D. nominee Cursora will make her North American debut facing nine female rivals in Sunday’s $42,500 Possibly Perfect Stakes at a mile and an eighth on the grass.
Sunday’s feature is a prep race for Arlington’s Grade III Modesty Handicap for fillies and mares on Million Preview Day July 22, and that mile and three-sixteenth turf test is the final major local prep for the Beverly D. seven weeks away during the International Festival of Racing on Arlington Million Day.
All of Cursora’s races to date have been in her native Argentina, and the 4-year-old filly hasn’t run this year, but in her last start Dec. 4 at San Isidro the daughter of Candy Stripes was three and a half lengths the best in the Group I Gran Premio International Cope de Plata at 10 furlongs. Previously, she won San Isidro’s Group I Enrique Acebal by two lengths Nov. 5, also at the mile and a quarter-distance.
Assuming Cursora can make the transition to North American racing -- and McPeek has had past success at acclimatizing Thoroughbreds between the hemispheres -- Cursora could have an interesting future in Chicago this summer, and is someone you should know.
In 2005, Arthur Appleton’s Atlantic Frost won the $42,625 Reluctant Guest Stakes, and then finished second by a half-length in $42,500 Possibly Perfect. However, in the 2005 Grade III Modesty Handicap, she showed early speed but tired.
The homebred daughter of Stormy Atlantic out of a Frosty the Snowman mare makes her first start of the year in Sunday’s $42,500 Possibly Perfect, and trainer Mickey Goldfine remains cautiously optimistic about that start and her summer campaign.
“We wanted to run her in that last stakes ($42,375 Reluctant Guest May 28), but we didn’t quite make it,” said Goldfine, “and Sunday’s race is not an ideal distance for her, but I expect her to give a good account of herself. She’s been training well.
“If she runs well Sunday, we’d love to consider the Modesty (July 22) as her next start,” Goldfine said, “and if she runs well there, we could look beyond that.”
What happened in last year’s Modesty, when Atlantic Frost was not competitive?
“Nothing went wrong,” Goldfine said, “other than the fact that a mile and an eighth was about her maximum distance last year. But maybe she’s matured a little bit this year, and we’re hoping she can get a mile and three-sixteenths.”
When trainer Christine Janks talks, people listen, or at least they should, if they look at Janks’ 2006 stakes success at Arlington Park.
On the morning after J. Denker and S. D. Brilie Ltd. Partnership’s Chic Dancer won Arlington’s $42,375 Reluctant Guest by a half-length May 28, Janks was asked what she had in mind for the 5-year-old mare’s summer campaign.
“I told the owners of Chic Dancer I was going to win the Beverly D. with her,” said Janks at the time, “but I admit that would be extremely ambitious.”
Chic Dancer is a slight morning-line favorite (3-1) for Sunday’s $42,500 Possibly Perfect Stakes, named in honor of the 1995 Beverly D. winner, owned by Blue Vista Inc. and conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel.
Although Chic Dancer is not yet nominated to this summer’s Beverly D., the next nominations are not due until July 26.
There are five fillies and mares nominated to Arlington Park’s Grade I Beverly D. Stakes Aug. 12 entered in Belmont’s Grade II New York Breeders’ Cup Handicap today, an additional four named to today’s Grade III All Along Breeders’ Cup Stakes at Colonial Downs, and an another three slated for Hollywood’s Grade II Beverly Hills Handicap later in the afternoon.
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