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Arlington Park Barn Notes (8/18/06)

Contact: Graham Ross

In today's notes:


Nine promising 2-year-old fillies, eight of whom visited the winner’s circle in their last start, face off Sunday in Arlington’s $40,000-added Top Flight Stakes at seven furlongs.

The Top Flight serves as the final major local prep for the Grade III Arlington-Washington Breeders’ Cup Lassie, Chicago’s main event for juvenile members of the distaff set. The latter race, to be run Sept. 10 at one-mile, offers a purse of $150,000. Sunday’s prep will have a gross value of $42,250 if the field remains intact, with the winner receiving a $25,350 share of that sum.

Ironically, on Sunday, the favorite’s mantle will probably be placed on the shoulders of Iron Horse Racing LLC’s Lenaro, the lone filly not coming off a winning effort. She most recently finished fourth, beaten four and a quarter lengths, in Ellis Park’s $50,000 Anna M. Fisher Debutante Stakes Aug. 5 after drifting out shortly after the start. Before that, the daughter of Buddha was third in Churchill’s Grade III Debutante, beaten five and a quarter when forced to steady approaching the stretch.

However, Lenaro, who must also share the top impost of 122 pounds, won her career debut by five and a quarter lengths June 3 at the Twin Spires oval. The Bob Holthus trainee will be ridden by regular jockey John McKee Sunday.

Capable of providing strong competition for Lenaro in the Top Flight is Team Victory’s Sea the Joy, who broke her maiden at second asking at Arlington Park June 2 by three and a half lengths. With that local win under her belt, the daughter of Stormy Atlantic journeyed to Iowa and won the $50,000 Prairie Gold Lassie by a length July 3. Sea the Joy, also with 122 pounds Sunday, will be partnered with local leading rider Chris Emigh and is trained by Scott Blasi.

Also trained by Blasi, and also likely to attract support, is Heiligbrodt Racing Stable’s Miss Mary Pat, a winner of three straight at Lone Star Park including the $65,000 Silver Spur Breeders’ Cup Stakes July 22, and the $111,000 Texas Thoroughbred Sales Futurity June 10. James Graham will make up most of that 122 pound assignment.

The others in the Top Flight, all coming off maiden wins, are Overbrook Farm’s Deep Springs, 116, Carlos H. Marquez Jr.; Joe Mulholland Jr. and Tom Swearingen Racing Stable’s Ice Storm Coming, 116, Eddie Perez; Team Epona LLC’s Missing Treasure, 116, Rene Douglas; Larry Bielfeldt’s Lisa M, 118, Jose Ferrer; Jer-Mar Stables LLC’s Angel Smoke, 116, Francisco Torres; and Richard Rudolph and Michael Vranich’s Magnetic Miss, 118, Carlos Silva.


Frank Fletcher Racing Operations Inc.’s Officer Rocket, a British-bred with a brilliant effort when breaking his maiden by five and a half lengths at Arlington Park July 30, looms a strong choice based on that performance when he heads a field of five colts and two geldings in Sunday’s $41,750 Spectacular Bid Stakes.

The Spectacular Bid serves as the final major local prep for the Grade III Arlington-Washington Breeders’ Cup Futurity Sept. 10 at one mile – Chicago’s main event for potential contestants for the 2007 Triple Crown next spring.

Officer Rocket is a son of Officer, a precocious 2-year-old during his own career who won Belmont’s 2001 Grade I Champagne and the Grade II Del Mar Futurity as a juvenile.

When breaking his maiden locally, Officer Rocket made the pace while racing just off the rail and drew off late going three-quarters under Mark Guidry, but the Bob Holthus-trained colt will be ridden by Holthus’s regular jockey John McKee Sunday with 118 pounds assigned.

Wayne Sanders and Larry Hirsch’s Jack Grant, undefeated in two starts, won his last over a muddy Arlington strip July 20 by three lengths and may be the one to beat. Previously the entire son of 1986 Eclipse Award-winning juvenile champion Capote broke his maiden at Arlington by five when racing over a fast track July 2. Trained by Bret Calhoun, Jack Grant will shoulder the top impost of 120 pounds, most of which will be made up by Eddie Martin Jr.

Named to oppose those two are Maggi Moss’s Biglie Smallwood, 116, Eusebio Razo Jr.; Centerfire Racing LLC’s Scatter Shot, 116, Jose Betancourt; Barlas and Porcaro’s Da Bada Bing, 116, Rene Douglas; Kalarikkal and Vilasini Jayaraman’s Irish Dreamer, 118, James Graham; and Barry Butzow’s Lovango, 116, Chris Emigh.


Owner Crown’s Way Farm, trainer Greg Geier, and jockey Eddie Razo all reached the winner’s circle twice Friday in a team effort, taking the second race with Crikey and the third with Out of My Way, co-owned by Crown’s Way, Peter Cappas and Founders Group.

Jockey Robby Albarado also rode two winners Friday aboard Raymond Cottrell Sr.’s Birdbirdistheword in the fourth and Starr Porter’s Battle Tank in the seventh.

Albarado was also first under the wire in Friday’s opener before being placed third as the victim of a rare double disqualification of the first two horses under the wire.

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