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ARLINGTON PARK

Arlington Park Barn Notes (7/21/06)

Contact: Graham Ross
graham.ross@arlingtonpark.com

In today's notes:

NIAGARA CAUSEWAY’S WINDING ROAD TO THE AMERICAN DERBY

The trainer, Ron Sticka, is a “misplaced” Montana cowboy, according to the owner. The owner, Glenda Perryman, is a Texas-bred interior designer who named her Thoroughbred operation for the historic “La Bahia” Texas trail that runs by her farm. The horse, Niagara Causeway, was bred in Kentucky, bought out of a yearling sale at Newmarket in Great Britain, and has raced almost exclusively in California.

On Saturday, Chicago becomes the confluence of these various geneses when Niagara Causeway goes to the post in Saturday’s Grade II American Derby, presented by Jack Daniel’s. As the only California-based candidate in the second leg of Arlington Park’s Mid-America Triple, this sophomore son of European champion Giant’s Causeway will face one horse from Ireland, one who last raced in Minnesota, two coming from Kentucky, five coming out of a race in Virginia, as well as four veterans of the Grade III Arlington Classic, presented by Woodford Reserve as the first leg of the Chicago Triple.

In Niagara Causeway’s most recent start, he finished second by a half-length in Hollywood’s Grade III Cinema Breeders’ Cup Handicap as the second longest shot in the field, and should not be so easily dismissed again.

“I bought him as a stallion prospect to replace a Blushing Groom stud I had who I lost,” said Ms. Perryman outside Arlington’s International Barn Friday morning. “I love racing good grass horses, and I planned to race this colt as a turf horse. He broke his maiden on turf, but I got caught up in the Triple Crown trail briefly. He didn’t like the main course at Santa Anita at all, and when we took him to the (Grade I) Wood (Memorial at Aqueduct April 8) he got the ‘thumps’ and didn’t run at all.

“But now, we’ve put him back on the grass and he’s run well both times in those last two starts. If he gives a good account of himself Saturday, we’ll see where that takes us. I love it here at Arlington, and I’d love it if we had a horse good enough to run in the Secretariat,” Perryman said, speaking of the Grade I stakes that serves as the final leg of the Triple Aug. 12 on Arlington Million Day.

JOCKEY JESSE CAMPBELL RIDES FOUR WINNERS THURSDAY

Veteran Illinois-based reinsman Jesse Campbell recorded the first four-win afternoon of his Arlington Park career Thursday, equaling a mark he previously accomplished at the Fair Grounds, Turfway Park and Hawthorne.

“It was a good day for me,” said Campbell Friday morning. “Coming in (Thursday) morning, I thought I had a real good chance to win three if everything went right all day long; but in this game that seldom happens. Then, right before the last race of the day (after he won three straight in the fourth through the sixth), I took a second look at my horse in there and realized I had a good chance to win another one.”

Campbell won the fourth on Wexler Racing Stables Inc.’s Miss Ann H, trained by his father Mike Campbell; the fifth on Butterfly Stable’s Scooter Roach, for trainer Dave Kassen; and the sixth on Terry Bruner’s Smilin Justice, for conditioner Kerry Zavash. The all-Jesse Campbell Pick 3 paid $63.20.

Campbell, 28, raised in nearby Lake Zurich, Illinois, completed his four-bagger astride Jacquelyn Cochonour and Triple C Thoroughbreds’ Royal Leah for trainer Mike Stidham.

“I was particularly happy to win that race for Terry Bruner,” said Campbell. “He’s a good man and he loves this game of Thoroughbred racing. His daughter was seriously injured in a jet-ski accident recently, and my thoughts are with him and his family at this time.”

MILLION PREVIEW DAY CONNECTIONS

Royal Copenhagen and Round Heels, a pair of Richard Duchossois-owned members of the distaff set who will run as a coupling for wagering purposes in Saturday’s Grade III Modesty Handicap for fillies and mares, also “bonded” on their trip from California to Chicago Tuesday.

“They were side-by-side on the van from San Luis Rey Training Center to the airport, side-by-side on the plane ride, and side-by-side on the van from O’Hare to Arlington,” said Jeff Ford, who traveled with the horses as assistant to trainer Laura de Seroux. “They got to nuzzling each other all the way and by the time they got here they were fast friends. They are two really neat fillies. They both have great personalities, and it was real cute watching them get to know each other. Hopefully, they’ll meet again right at the wire on Saturday.”

The Modesty is the local prep for the Grade I Beverly D. Aug. 12 as the sister race to the Grade I Arlington Million that day. Saturday’s Grade III Arlington Handicap preps the Million.

Arlington Handicap entrant Red Fort, owned by Walter Swinburn and conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Neil Drysdale, also arrived from California Tuesday after finishing a fast-closing third in Hollywood’s Grade I Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap June 10.

Red Fort galloped the Arlington track Friday morning, according to groom Javier Mendoza Castellanos, who has served as an assistant to Drysdale for 18 years.

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