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|Arlington Park Barn Notes (8/4/06)
Contact: Graham Ross
In today's notes:
Popular Panamanian-born rider Rene Douglas, the only jockey in history to capture four straight Arlington riding championships, celebrated his first four-win afternoon of this summer’s Arlington season since his mid-July arrival following Churchill Downs’ spring session.
Despite Thursday’s accomplishment, the summer’s best news for Douglas came earlier in the week when he learned he had secured the mount aboard Gestut Park Wiedingen’s Soldier Hollow in the upcoming Grade I Arlington Million Aug. 12.
“The Arlington Million is my dream race,” said Douglas Thursday, immediately after posing in the winner’s circle astride his fourth winner of the afternoon. “I’ve always wanted to win it since I first started riding. (Winning) the Kentucky Derby is a dream, too, but I love Chicago because I’ve had so much success at Arlington, and the Million is special to me. I’ve been close in it a couple of times, and hopefully I’ll win it one of these years.”
“Close” is an understatement. Douglas finished less than three-quarters of a length behind the disqualified first horse under the wire in the 2003 Million despite being bothered in the last strides, and less than a half-length behind the winner in the 2002 Million despite being forced to check sharply at the sixteenth pole.
In 2003, Gainsborough Farm LLC’s Storming Home was disqualified and placed fourth behind Douglas’s mount, Mrs. Susan McCarthy’s Kaieteur, who finished in a dead-heat for third and was subsequently moved up to the second spot.
A year earlier in the centerpiece race of the Chicago season, Douglas was aboard Gary Tanaka’s Falcon Flight, who finished fifth in that year’s five-horse blanket photo finish: beaten a head, a nose, another head and another nose. And that was after being trapped along the rail and taken up sharply to lose all chance.
“I don’t know much about this horse yet,” said Douglas Thursday of the British-bred Soldier Hollow as his latest Arlington Million mount, “but the trainer is going to send me some tapes of his races to study, and hopefully this year we can make my dream come true.”
Like Douglas in those back-to-back Arlington Millions, Soldier Hollow has been close in his last two races without reaching the winner’s circle.
In his most recent start June 18 at Germany’s Cologne course, Soldier Hollow finished second by a neck in the Group II Pferdewetten.de-Trophy, and was runner-up by a length in the Group I Premio Presidente della Repubblica at Italy’s Capannelle course May 14.
Late last fall the son of 1990 Grade I Breeders’ Cup Turf winner In the Wings concluded his campaign with a two and a half-length tally in the Group I Premio Roma over that same Capannelle course, and last summer Soldier Hollow captured the Group I Grosser Dallmayr-Preis at Munich.
S. D. Brilie Ltd. Partnership’s Chic Dancer, half-length heroine of the Grade III Modesty Handicap July 22 as the final major local prep for Arlington’s upcoming Grade I Beverly D. Stakes Aug. 12, breezed six furlongs in 1:16.80 Friday morning over Arlington’s turf course while the “dogs” were well out from the rail.
With Arlington’s leading rider Chris Emigh aboard for the move as Chic Dancer’s regular rider, the 5-year-old mare accomplished Friday’s move after getting splits of :25, :51 and 1:05 on the way to her three-quarters time.
“She went really well today,” said Chic Dancer’s trainer Christine Janks later on Friday. “She went just as well as she did before the other race (the Modesty), so that’s a very good sign.
“Chris said afterwards that she’s peaking at just the right time,” said Janks. “I just hope that means next week and not today. Seriously, despite it being as hot as it was, she came back fine after cooling out this morning.”
Throughout the summer, Janks has maintained a steady sense of confidence concerning Chic Dancer’s chances in the Beverly D., sister race to the Arlington Million on the same day.
“We’re going to do what we’re going to do,” she said Friday. “I’ve believed all along that she’ll run in the Beverly D. exactly the way she did in the Modesty. As bizarre as that sounds, that’s the way I’ve pictured it, and you’ve got to picture it and believe it to make it happen. I told the owners a long time ago I was going to win the Beverly D. with her.”
Defending Arlington owner champion Frank Calabrese, and his defending trainer champion Wayne Catalano celebrated a two-win afternoon Thursday to add to their current leads in this year’s Arlington standings.
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