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Arlington Park Barn Notes (7/13/06)

Contact: Graham Ross

In today's notes:


Past victors of the Round Table Stakes include a Sovereign Award-winning juvenile and an eventual Breeders’ Cup Turf winner, but Saturday’s 43rd running gives almost all in the 10-horse field of sophomores the opportunity to earn their first black type.

Not so with the projected 20-1 morning line longest shot in Saturday’s main track test which gets Breeders’ Cup money for the first time this year. Ike Thrasher’s Chin High has already earned boldface, capturing Keeneland’s Grade III Transylvania Stakes April 7 by a length at 68-1.

“He proved to me that day he can’t read,” said Chin High’s trainer Neil Pessin Thursday morning. “I told him that day he was the favorite, and he must’ve believed me.”

Pessin has been “high” on Chin High for some time, and despite three losses since the Transylvania, the conditioner is keeping the faith.

“I’m still high on him,” Pessin said. “I’m throwing out those last two races because he was too close to the pace and was kept on the outside the whole way. He needs to make one big run with maybe one horse outside of him.”

Although Chin High finished 13th in the grassy $1,000,000 Colonial Turf Cup last time, his winning effort in the Transylvania was accomplished on turf. Saturday, the Kentucky-bred colt returns to the main course.

“I still haven’t decided which surfaces he prefers,” said Pessin, who breezed his colt five furlongs in 1:02 2/5 on the main track July 9. “Actually, I think he can run on both.”

As a son of Smart Strike (who also sired last weekend’s Grade I United Nations winner English Channel), was Chin High named for a potential knockout punch?

“No,” said Pessin. “The owner named him. (Ike Thrasher) buys and sells real estate, mostly in Mississippi, Texas and Louisiana. However, he is also a baseball fan (who has sold real estate to at least one of the major leagues’ highest profile players), and he says that the smartest strike in baseball is a chin-high fastball.”


Nancy Vanier and Cartwright Thoroughbreds’ V LLC’s Tally Up came from off the pace to capture the $86,350 Springfield Stakes by a half-length on Prairie State Festival Day June 24. However, he was running Arlington’s one-turn mile distance in restricted company that day.

Now, the Illinois-bred is slated to try two turns, as well as open company, when he goes to the post in Saturday’s $150,000 Round Table Breeders’ Cup Stakes.

“It could be that we’re going where the water is too deep,” said trainer Brian Williamson of Tally Up in Saturday’s Round Table, “but we’re going to give it a try.”

Williamson cannot be discounted in this weekend’s mile and an eighth main track test. He has guessed right 16 times from the 78 starters he has saddled through Wednesday, and the 45-year-old Chicago native is a contending fourth in Arlington’s trainer standings, five wins off the pace being set by defending champion Wayne Catalano.

“Tally Up’s Beyer numbers are pretty good,” said Williamson. “He made the lead when he finished third in open company in that race before the Springfield (May 18 at Arlington), and he was down on the inside that day, so he had to either go for the lead or risk getting stopped. He might have done a little better if he’d been able to lay off the pace.

“Also, he won going two turns at Hawthorne (by eight and a quarter lengths Feb. 28),” said Williamson, “so the two turns shouldn’t bother him. We just don’t know about the mile and an eighth until we try it.”

Interestingly, S. D. Brilie Ltd. Partnership’s High Expectations, winner of last year’s $88,900 Springfield Stakes, went on to finish third in the 2005 Round Table.


Mike Stidham-trained Devilment, winner of last year’s Round Table, and Donnie K. Von Hemel-conditioned Cryptograph, winner of the 2004 renewal, both raced in the silks of Pin Oak Stable LLC.

Josephine Abercrombie, proprietress of Pin Oak, has been named winner of Arlington’s 2006 fourth annual “Penny Chenery Distinguished Woman in Racing Award” this year, and will be honored at an upcoming invitation-only charity luncheon to be held Aug. 10 at 11:30 a.m. in Arlington Park’s International Room.

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