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|Arlington Park Barn Notes (9/9/06)
Contact: Graham Ross
In today's notes:
Supporting Sunday’s 71st renewals of the Grade III Arlington-Washington Breeders’ Cup Futurity and Lassie Stakes – Chicago’s traditional 2-year-old fixtures – is an extremely attractive $42,500 Flawlessly Stakes.
That last-named mile and a sixteenth overnight stakes features 10 turf-favoring fillies and mares on the cusp of Grade I quality.
Chief among those is S. D. Brilie Ltd. Partnership’s Chic Dancer, entered in Arlington’s Grade I Beverly D. Stakes Aug. 12 but withdrawn due to a cough that surfaced hours before Arlington’s main event for members of the distaff set.
The $750,000 Beverly D. is the sister race to the Grade I Arlington Million, which was also run Aug. 12 as part of this season’s one-day International Festival of Racing.
Chic Dancer earned her Beverly D. credentials by winning Arlington’s Grade III Modesty Handicap July 22 as the designated local prep for the showcased event, but must now return to competition following a seven-week layoff. However, she sharpened her speed with a bullet half-mile breeze in :46.60 August 23, and followed that with a maintenance five-furlong move August 31 over the local lawn.
Christine Janks, Arlington’s leading stakes-winning trainer this summer, will saddle Chic Dancer Sunday. The 5-year-old homebred mare by Joyeux Danseur will have regular rider Chris Emigh – Arlington’s leading jockey - in the irons for the Flawlessly with the highweight of 126 pounds assigned.
Arthur Appleton’s Atlantic Frost, who won the $42,250 Possibly Perfect Stakes June 25 in the prep for the Modesty, may be the one to beat in the Flawlessly. Although the Stormy Atlantic mare finished fifth behind Chic Dancer in the Modesty, her best effort might have been compromised by soft going. The Florida homebred won the $45,000 Yo Tambien last Nov. 5 at Hawthorne.
Regular rider Larry Sterling Jr. will make up most of the 120 pounds assigned Atlantic Frost, who is trained by Mickey Goldfine.
Not to be discounted in the Flawlessly is the European campaigned Travel Team, owned by Joseph Allen and trained by Jean-Claude Rouget. The sophomore filly was well-beaten in the $64,000 Prix de Lieurey Shadwell at Deauville in her last start on Aug. 17, but was no worse than third in her five previous French starts. As a 3-year-old, Travel Team gets in the Flawlessly with 115 pounds and has Eddie Martin Jr. named to handle the reins.
Completing the Flawlessly field is Crown’s Way Farm’s You Dancing Devil, 118, James Graham; Bentley Smith’s Aimer, 122, Calvin Borel; Richard Bertram and Elaine Klein’s May Gator, 118, Jesus Castanon; Marc Goldish and Savoy Stable’s Honour Colony, 118, Eddie Perez; Wertheimer and Freré’s Stretching, 120, Mark Guidry; Haras Santa Maria de Aras S. A.’s Praia Da Pipa, 120, Rene Douglas; and Kenowa Stable LLC’s Anegada, Eusebio Razo Jr.
Frank Fletcher, a businessman from North Little Rock, Arkansas, has enjoyed some past success during two decades as a Thoroughbred owner, but he may have found the one with the most potential when his trainer Bob Holthus secured a 2-year-old colt now named Officer Rocket out of last March’s OBS sale for $190,000.
Although a British-bred, Officer Rocket is a son of Officer, a precocious 2-year-old during his own career who won Belmont’s Grade I Champagne and the Grade II Del Mar Futurity. However, unlike his sire, veteran conditioner Holthus sees Officer Rocket as a threat when the distances get longer because his running style is entirely different.
Officer Rocket won Arlington’s $41,750 Spectacular Bid Stakes by 13 lengths going seven furlongs Aug. 20, and gets an additional furlong in Sunday’s Grade III Arlington-Washington Breeders’ Cup Futurity to increase that margin. All that after “rating kindly” – according to Holthus – for the first time in the final local prep for Sunday’s $200,000 Futurity.
Past winners who have posed in the Frank Fletcher’s silks include Air Rocket, winner of Churchill’s Grade III Crown Royal American Turf in 1999, and Son of Rocket, third in the Grade II Arkansas Derby in 2001.
The “Rocket” part of the Fletcher color bearers’ names comes originally in honor of Fletcher’s late German Shepard police dog named Rocket, since been reborn in a younger version with the same moniker.
Two-time Arlington jockey champion Mark Guidry scored a riding “hat trick” Friday with Charles Kiddler and William Betz’s Time’s Mistress in the fourth, Larry Bingham and John Conforti’s He’s Souper in the seventh and Jacquelyn Cochonour and Triple C Thoroughbreds’ Royal Leah in the finale.
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