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Contact: David Zenner
COSMONAUT TO DEFEND TITLE IN ARLINGTON HANDICAP
Final Local Prep for Grade I Arlington Million Attracts 11
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (July 19, 2007) – Defending champion Cosmonaut, who races in the colors of Flying Zee Stable, has accepted top impost of 121 pounds and will head to post Saturday as the 8-5 morning-line favorite in the 72nd running of the $200,000 Arlington Handicap.
The Grade III race serves as the final local prep for the Grade I Arlington Million, which will be held August 11, and will be run at the Million’s distance of a mile and a quarter over Arlington’s world famous turf course.
The Arlington Handicap is one of three graded stakes races that comprise the track’s Million Preview Day program. In addition to the Arlington Handicap, the 10-race card includes the $250,000 Grade II American Derby, presented by Jack Daniel’s, and the $150,000 Grade III Modesty Handicap.
A son of Lemon Drop Kid, Cosmonaut wired the field by 2 ¼ lengths over soft ground in last year’s Arlington Handicap under Julien Leparoux, who has a return call Saturday. Using the Handicap victory as its intended springboard to the Million, the Patrick Biancone charge was checked at the start and finished fifth, beaten only 2 ½ lengths for all of it.
Since then the 5-year-old horse has been knocking on the door in graded stakes competition, including a second in the Grade II Dixie Stakes at Pimlico on Preakness Day and a fourth in the Grade I Manhattan Handicap at Belmont Park on Belmont Stakes Day, but his lone victory since last year’s Arlington Handicap came when beating allowance company at Keeneland in April.
Among those slated to face the high weight is Peter Vegso’s Go Between, winner of the Grade II $1 million Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs in July 2006. The 4-year-old son of Point Given is one for three this year with the lone victory coming in the restricted Florida Turf Classic at Tampa Bay Downs in April. In his most recent start, the Bill Mott-trained colt finished third after breaking in the air in the $100,000 Opening Verse Handicap at Churchill Downs June 2. Robby Albarado gets the call from the Hall of Fame trainer.
Other graded stakes winners in the field include S J Stables LLC’s Cloudy’s Knight, who took the Grade III Fair Grounds Breeders’ Cup Handicap in February; and Live Oak Plantation’s Revved Up, victor in the 2005 Stars and Stripes Breeders’ Cup Turf over this course and more recently the winner of the Grade III Sycamore Breeders’ Cup Stakes at Keeneland last October. The Frank Kirby-trained Cloudy’s Knight will carry 117 pounds and will partner with Ramsey Zimmerman while trainer Christophe Clement has named Rene Douglas to ride Revved Up, who has been assigned 117 pounds.
Completing the field for the Arlington Handicap (with jockey and weight assignment) are: Nancy Vanier & Charles Nuckols Jr.’s Come On Jazz (Chris Emigh, 114 pounds); Lazy Lane Farms Inc.’s Gray Suitor (Jeremy Rose, 114); Earle I. Mack’s Green Lemon (Jesse Campbell, 114); Jay Em Ess Stable’s I Believe in Me (Larry Sterling Jr., 113); J. David Banks & Hondo Ranch Inc.’s Lord Carmen (Cecilio Penalba, 113); John W. Mack’s Meadow Vespers (Mary Doser, 116); and Sarah Lyn Stable LLC’s Murch (James Graham, 113).
Arlington Park – the Chicago area’s premier Thoroughbred racetrack located in Arlington Heights, Ill. – will run a 94-day meet in 2007 from Friday, May 4 through Sunday, Sept. 16. Arlington Park, whose parent company is Churchill Downs Incorporated (Nasdaq: CHDN), also operates nine off-track, simulcast-wagering facilities: Trackside Arlington Park (Arlington Heights), Trackside Chicago, Trackside Quad City Downs (East Moline), Trackside Rockford, Trackside Waukegan, Fat Sam’s Bar & Grill featuring Trackside OTB in Lockport, Lucky’s featuring Trackside OTB in South Elgin, Nicolino’s featuring Trackside OTB in McHenry and The Inferno featuring Trackside OTB in South Beloit. Information on Arlington Park can be found online at www.arlingtonpark.com.
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