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Arlington Park Barn Notes (8/18/06)

Contact: Graham Ross

In today's notes:


Jim Tafel LLC’s Coolwind, an improving sophomore daughter of Forest Wildcat, has won her last two starts, both of which came at Arlington Park, but may be only a tepid choice in the wagering for Saturday’s Grade III Arlington Breeders’ Cup Oaks.

That’s because a question that remains somewhat unresolved is whether or not Coolwind can get the two-turn distance of Saturday’s nine-furlong test that annually serves as Chicago’s premier event for 3-year-old fillies.

“I think she’ll go two turns,” said Coolwind’s trainer Greg Geier Friday morning during training hours. “She went two turns in the (Keeneland’s Grade II) Alcibiades last fall and finished fourth. I know she was a beaten-off fourth that day, but what (the quality of the competition) she ran against that day, and what they are running tomorrow are two different kinds of fillies.

“The thing that the past performances of (the Alcibiades) don’t show is that she was coming on again in the last part of the race,” Geier said. “She was making up ground at the end that day after being caught wide most of the way, and some of those other fillies were tiring.”

It is also worthy of note that the Alcibiades was only the third start of Coolwind’s career. After breaking her maiden at first asking locally in a six-furlong affair just over a year ago, the Kentucky homebred ran against 2005 Illinois Horse of the Year Original Spin, owned by Russell L. Reineman Stables Inc., in her second start in last fall’s Grade III Arlington-Washington Breeders’ Cup Lassie. In that one-mile event Coolwind finished third, beaten five and a quarter by Original Spin, but only by a length for the runner-up spot.

After another solid third-place finish beaten three in Churchill’s Grade III Pocahontas Stakes, again at a one-turn mile, Coolwind was given the winter off and then returned to be overmatched against the best of her generation in Keeneland’s Grade I Ashland April 8.

In Arlington’s $49,600 Ribbon May 13, she was second over a sloppy track, and then sixth in Churchill’s Grade III Dogwood Breeders’ Cup at one mile June 3, but since then was six lengths the best in an optional claiming test at that distance locally. Most recently, she took down Arlington’s $45,250 Sweetest Chant by two and three-quarters, again at eight furlongs.

“Those last two wins have built up her confidence up a whole lot,” said Geier, “and we’ve always known she likes the track here at Arlington. I think she’ll give a very good account of herself on Saturday.”


Hugh King III’s My Chickadee has never raced over the grass in her career, but she has worked over it well, and with that in mind, Brian Williamson has entered her in Saturday’s $40,000 Hatoof Stakes – final local prep for Arlington’s grassy Grade III Pucker Up Stakes on Sept. 9.

However, Williamson has also entered My Chickadee in Saturday’s Grade III Arlington Breeders’ Cup Oaks on the main track, where she’s won twice, but remained undecided Friday morning which way he wished to send her.

“We’re still looking at which race is going to suit her best,” said Williamson Friday morning. “Right now, we’re probably leaning toward the Oaks, but she worked real well on the turf the other day, so I don’t really know. I wanted to try her on turf some time ago, but then she got sick and that set us back a little bit, so the Oaks may be best for her right now.

“I do know she’s better than she showed in that last race,” Williamson said of My Chickadee’s third-place finish in an optional claiming test June 30. “She broke bad that day, and then she was rushed up to the lead and got tired the last part of it. That’s really not her running style, but then, it was also right after that when she got sick, so maybe she already had something going on.”


Lothenbach Stables Inc.’s Vacare, very impressive in the only two starts of her career – both on grass – is now unlikely to run in Saturday’s $40,000 Hatoof Stakes as the final local prep for Arlington’s Grade III Pucker Up Stakes Sept. 9.

“It looks like she’s come down with a little lung infection,” said trainer Chris Block early Friday afternoon. “I’m afraid we’re going to have to scratch her tomorrow.”


Hall of Fame jockey Earlie Fires, Arlington’s all-time leading rider, added two wins to his total Thursday by capturing the fourth race aboard Donald and Sandra Rogalski and Ronald Shenofsky’s Te Quiero Viejo and coming back to take the eighth astride Joseph Sullivan’s The Word Is Out.

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