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Arlington Park Barn Notes (7/9/06)

Contact: Graham Ross

In today's notes:


Following Saturday’s two and a quarter-length tally in the $41,625 Smile Stakes, Wexler Racing Stables Inc.’s Kid Grindstone remains on track for his previously proposed appearance in Arlington’s $150,000 Sea o’ Erin Breeders’ Cup Mile on the grass Aug. 5, but now there is an intriguing alternate possibility.

“That’s been the ultimate goal,” said trainer Mike Campbell Sunday morning during training hours in reference to the Sea o’ Erin, “but we had to get through yesterday before we think about that. He (Kid Grindstone) came back fine, ate up last night and his feet are ice-cold this morning. He didn’t drop any weight at all, and I thought he might, because I wasn’t sure he was totally fit yesterday after all that time off.”

Kid Grindstone, an altered son of 1996 Kentucky Derby winner Grindstone, had been away from competition since winning Oaklawn’s Grade III Fifth Season Stakes April 12. The 4-year-old gray was scheduled for Arlington’s $100,000 Avers Wexler Illinois Owners Stakes on May 7, but suffered a bruised foot on the eve of that grass test to force a late withdrawal.

However, with Saturday’s impressive come-from-behind score on the main track at nine furlongs, did Campbell entertain any Sunday morning thoughts of running Kid Grindstone in Arlington’s Grade II Washington Park Handicap July 29 in lieu of the Sea o’ Erin?

“That’s a possibility,” said Campbell. “Obviously, the way he ran yesterday, he prefers to go longer rather than shorter, and he showed us that he could still be an outstanding dirt horse. If the Washington Park were Aug. 5 instead of the week earlier, it would be an easy decision to make, but we’ll see how he does over the next few days and let him tell us which way to go. Ultimately, it will be Mr. Wexler’s decision.

“I’m very proud of Kid Grindstone’s performance yesterday,” said Campbell. “I gave the marching orders on how we wanted the horse to run, and Jesse (jockey Campbell, son of the trainer) executed those instructions perfectly, but it was all the horse that got it done. The kind of injury he had -- those things can get pretty ugly if you don’t treat the horse right -- but my guys (barn help) are totally dedicated, and they overcame a lot to get this horse ready to run the way he did.”

Should Campbell choose to run Kid Grindstone in the Washington Park ‘Cap, he would still have a potential candidate for the Sea o’ Erin with Easy Money 2006 LLC’s No Tolerance, who was runner-up behind last year’s Arlington Classic winner Purim in the Illinois Owners Stakes and more recently the one-length victor in the grassy $42,500 Mister Gus Stakes May 29.

“We are definitely looking at the Sea o’ Erin for No Tolerance,” said Campbell, "and we’re going to work him tomorrow toward that goal. We think he’s ready for the major leagues now and that’s a good spot to find out.”


Christine Janks, Arlington’s leading stakes-winning trainer this summer, was presented Arlington’s trainer of the month award for June in winner’s circle ceremonies held during Friday’s twilight racing program.

Also presented with Arlington’s June awards in their respective divisions were Arlington’s leading rider Chris Emigh and leading owner Frank Calabrese.

Janks saddled nine winners from 32 starters in June, won three stakes races during the month and also accomplished a training triple and a training double last month.

Emigh, Arlington’s current leading rider in pursuit of his first Arlington title, visited the winners circle 28 times from 102 mounts in June, and also had a five-win afternoon as well as a four-win afternoon during the month.

Calabrese, Arlington’s defending owner champion, saw his silks in the winner’s circle 41 percent of the time he had a starter in June, with 12 winners from 29 starters.


Lana LaCapra, Levy Restaurants’ senior restaurant manager at Arlington, has returned to her duties at the Northwest Chicago oval recently following an extended late stay at American Airlines Arena in Miami.

LaCapra, who performs similar duties for Levy Restaurants’s Flagship Lounges at Miami’s indoor facility, was kept late in South Florida due to the Miami Heat’s successful run to the NBA championship last month.

“During the finals, we kept the Arena’s Flagship Lounges open even when the team was on the road in Dallas,” said LaCapra. “We called them ‘Road Rallies.’ It was weird looking out at all those people in the stands when they won that final game in Dallas. Every seat in the house was filled. That seemed very strange with no players on the court, but it was all very exciting.”

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