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Arlington Park Barn Notes (8/26/06)

Contact: Graham Ross

In today's notes:


Arlington’s upcoming Labor Day weekend program is highlighted by Saturday’s 70th anniversary edition of the Grade III Arlington Matron, and a story within that story would happen if Christine Janks was to saddle the winner.

As Arlington’s leading stakes winning trainer this season, Janks has enjoyed phenomenal success the last two summers, but her younger fans should also remember that she saddled Cycylya Zee to win the Matron 30 years ago in 1976.

“The race was run in two divisions that year,” Janks recalled last summer, “and Alice Chandler won the other division with Nicosia, who was owned by Mill Ridge Farm. In those days, we were about the only two female trainers around, and it seemed especially appropriate that we should win both halves of a race that was for fillies and mares. Cycylya Zee, incidentally, also equaled the world record for the mile out of the chute when she ran in the Smart Deb here.”

Janks won the $41,375 Mariah’s Storm Stakes Aug. 13 with Letto Thoroughbreds Inc.’s Sunset Kisses in the designed local prep for this year’s Arlington Matron, and is on tap to try that mare again in the Arlington’s nine-furlong showcase event for older fillies and mares on the main track.

“Sunset Kisses is doing great,” said Janks during training hours Saturday morning. “I think she’s going to run a big race. We realize it’s a big step up for her, but we think that now is a good time to try that.”

In the Mariah’s Storm Stakes, also at a mile and an eighth, Sunset Kisses made the pace and held off Nancy Vanier’s Capistrano by a length and a half at the wire while less than fully extended. Before that, when on the grass in June 25 Possibly Perfect Stakes as the prep for the Grade III Modesty Handicap, she pressed the early pace but weakened.

When Sunset Kisses won the Mariah’s Storm, she resurrected what had begun as a disappointing weekend for Janks, who was forced to scratch S. D. Brilie Partnership’s Chic Dancer from the Grade I Beverly D. one day earlier.

“We may run For Gillian in the Matron as well,” said Janks, speaking of the mare owned by Arbaway Farm, Carson Springs Farm and the Estate of William Lydon, “but we we’ll decide on that sometime over the next few days.”

For Gillian, who finished fourth in last year’s Matron before being moved up to the third position following a disqualification, worked seven furlongs handily Saturday morning in 1:26.


Nancy Vanier’s Capistrano, easily second best in the $41,375 Mariah’s Storm Stakes as the final local prep for the Grade III Arlington Matron Sept. 2, remains somewhat uncertain as a starter in Arlington’s upcoming nine-furlong premier event for fillies and mares on the main track.

“Right now, I’d have to say it doesn’t look like we’ll go,” said trainer Brian Williamson on the Saturday one week prior to the Matron, “but I’m going to wait and see how she does over the next few days before I decide for sure. It (a Matron start for Capistrano) is certainly not out of the question, but if we had to enter today, I’d say ‘no.’”

However, Williamson gave out all positive vibrations concerning Nancy Vanier and Charles Nuckols Jr.’s Come On Jazz, who injured himself while finishing second by a head in the Grade III Stars and Stripes Breeders’ Cup Turf at Arlington July 2.

“He cut himself pretty badly in that race,” said Williamson, “so we had to stop with him for a while. Today (Saturday morning) was the first time we had him back on the track. He only breezed a couple of furlongs but he went great and galloped out strong. I was very pleased.”


Apprentice jockey Julien Leparoux rode his 21st winner of the current Saratoga meeting Friday – believed to be a record for an apprentice at the fashionable upstate session at the nation’s oldest racecourse.

Jockey Richard Migliore set the established modern standard of 20 winners in 1981 when he enjoyed his own banner rookie season.

Ironically, Leparoux is also currently Arlington’s leading apprentice, with four wins from 10 mounts at the session. Leparoux won Arlington’s Grade I Beverly D. Aug. 12 aboard Martin Schwartz’s Gorella for the first Grade I event of his brief career, and also piloted Flying Zee Stable’s Cosmonaut to a front-running victory July 22 in the Grade III Arlington Handicap for his first career winner at Chicago’s premier Thoroughbred oval.

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