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ARLINGTON PARK

Arlington Park Barn Notes (8/31/06)

Contact: Graham Ross
graham.ross@arlingtonpark.com

In today's notes:

ACT OF GOD CHALLENGES ELDERS IN SATURDAY’S ROSSI GOLD STAKES

Saturday’s Grade III Arlington Matron is the centerpiece event of the Labor Day weekend racing schedule at Chicago’s Northwest oval, but a grassy marathon overnight stakes on Saturday’s undercard provides handicappers with some interesting challenges.

Clarke, Lambert, Seitz and Stjernfeldt’s Act of God is the only sophomore in Saturday’s $40,000-added Rossi Gold Stakes, but in September the 3-year-old may have matured enough to take advantage of his feathery 116 pound impost over the 12-furlong distance.

If the field of seven remains intact for the Rossi Gold, the race will have a gross value of $41,750 with a $25,050 share of that sum going to the owners of the winner.

Act of God only made one start as a 2-year-old, and didn’t break his maiden until July 25 at Colonial Downs, but was best by six lengths in his first trip to the winner’s circle after having been competitive in Churchill’s Grade II Jefferson Cup in his previous start June 17.

The Pennsylvania-bred son of Black Minnaloushe then jumped straight into the stakes ranks for Ellis Park’s $50,000 Regaey Island Aug. 5 and came from far back to tally by two and three quarters. That race was a mile and a sixteenth, but after taking command at the furlong grounds, Act of God drew off the rest of the way. His maiden win was also at that distance, but the Fred Seitz trainee raced three wide throughout and traveled far more than the assigned route of ground.

Act of God, who breezed a bullet half-mile in :49 at The Thoroughbred Center in Kentucky Wednesday morning, has Francisco Torres named to handle the reins Saturday. Torres, 37, raised in Chicago, is making a late run at Chris Emigh for leading rider honors.

Named to oppose Act of God is Bob Ackerman’s Class Act, 118, Larry Sterling Jr.; Nancy and Richard Kaster’s American Man, 120, Emigh up; Xeuno Stable LLC’s Dynalympic, 122, Eddie Razo Jr.; Leonard Cavens’ Let It Thunder, 118, Jesse Campbell; David Banks and Hondo Ranch Inc.’s Lord Carmen, 118, Mark Guidry; and Summer Camp Stable’s Delafield, 118, Rene Douglas.

Emigh’s mount, American Man, may be the one to beat. The 4-year-old son of Glitterman won two straight at Mountaineer this spring on the main track, and came to Arlington to add a third tally June 10 in an optional claiming race scheduled for grass but taken off and run over sloppy going. Back in West Virginia, he disappointed July 15, but was shipped to Ellis Park July 29 and won over the grass, defeating 2003 Santa Anita Derby winner Buddy Gil by a half-length.

GETTING GRAHAM TO THE CHURCH ON TIME – AND BACK TO CHICAGO

Irish-born jockey James Graham has returned to his native environs for his upcoming nuptials this Saturday after completing his Arlington riding assignments last Sunday.

Thursday morning, Paul McGee’s assistant trainer Randy Martin breezed Grade III Pucker Up probable starter Ladyburn, owned by Ralls and Foster, a half-mile in :48 under jockey Jesse Campbell, but hopes that Graham will be back at Arlington in time to ride Ladyburn in the grassy nine-furlong Pucker Up on Sept. 9.

“This morning was just a maintenance breeze,” said Martin, “but she went really well. She should be all set for the Pucker Up now. I just hope Jimmy gets back in time to ride her.”

Graham rode Ladyburn to a late-closing runner up finish in the $42,250 Hatoof Stakes Aug. 19 in the designed local prep for the Pucker Up and has been aboard the daughter of El Prado for her last five starts.

RAZO’S WEDNESDAY DAILY DOUBLE STARTS A TREND

Illinois-based Eddie Razo won both halves of the Daily Double Wednesday, starting a trend of doubles that continued throughout the afternoon.

Razo took the opener aboard Stable H. M. A.’s Mamama and the second astride Maggi Moss’s Devin Bound, but the latter win was for conditioner Tom Amoss, who also saddled Clinton and Susan Atkins’ Stormy Amber to win the fourth for a training double.

Four-time Arlington jockey champion Rene Douglas rode the winner of Wednesday’s third race on Frank Calabrese’s Jazzy Gallop and came back to win the sixth on Ripe Tomato, owned by Jay Collier. Douglas also rode two winners on last Sunday’s program.

Also, in Wednesday’s eighth race, trainer Hugh Robertson saddled Cal Jestice and Dan Wainscott’s Piano Tunner for the win, and also his own Sparkling Sabia for the runner-up spot and an all-Robertson exacta.

SATURDAY’S ‘BREAKFAST AT ARLINGTON’ GUESTS ANNOUNCED

Defending owner champion Frank Calabrese, defending trainer champion Wayne Catalano, current leading rider Chris Emigh and current second leading rider Francisco Torres have been named as the guests for Saturday’s “Breakfast at Arlington” program.

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