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Arlington Park

Arlington Park Barn Notes (6/24/07)

Contact: Graham Ross
graham.ross@arlingtonpark.com

In today's notes:

PLEASANT STRIKE POSSIBLE AS ‘AMERICAN’S’ HORSE

A sweep of Arlington Park’s Mid-America Triple hasn’t been accomplished in 10 years, and only three times in its history, but it’s a possibility this year for Edward Evans’ Pleasant Strike following his dominant performance in Saturday’s Grade III Arlington Classic, presented by Woodford Reserve.

The middle leg of the Mid-America Triple – Arlington’s Grade II American Derby – will be presented by Jack Daniel’s July 21 as one of three graded races to make up Arlington’s designated “Million Preview Day.”

After watching Pleasant Strike draw off in the late stages of the 1 1/16-mile Classic, the Virginia homebred would appear ideally suited for the American Derby at 1 3/16 miles, and the 10 furlongs of the Grade I Secretariat Stakes on Arlington Million Day.

All three races in the Mid-America Triple are contested over Arlington’s world famous turf course, a surface obviously appealing to Pleasant Strike.

“He came out of the (Arlington Classic) very well,” said Michael Dilger Sunday during training hours. “He’s moving real well this morning.” Dilger is the Arlington-based assistant to Pleasant Strike’s defending Eclipse Award-winning trainer Todd Pletcher.

The Grade III Arlington Handicap and the Grade III Modesty Handicap, final major local prep races for the Arlington Million and Beverly D. respectively, will also be run July 21 in advance of Arlington’s one-day International Festival of Racing Aug. 11.

MODESTY HANDICAP MIGHT ATTRACT JENNIE R.

Jennie R., a 6-year-old mare owned by Michael and Elaine Bojarski, Sam Belpedio, William Lloyd and Cherrywood Racing II, isn’t getting older – she’s getting better.

The daughter of 1998 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Awesome Again was awesome on her own in her first start of the season when she led from flag fall to finish in Saturday’s $48,000 Possibly Perfect Stakes, a prep race for the Grade III Modesty Handicap for fillies and mares to be run July 21 on Arlington’s Million Preview Day.

The Modesty is the final major local prep for the Grade I Beverly D., sister race of the Grade I Arlington Million, two of the three Grade I races that will be run during Arlington Park’s one-day International Festival of Racing on Aug. 11.

Jennie R. was doing “just fine” Sunday, according to trainer Michele Boyce, on the morning after her eye-opening performance in the Possibly Perfect.

Following the Possibly, was the Modesty possible?

“We’ll be taking a look at it, that’s for sure,” said Boyce when asked specifically about Jennie R.’s next engagement. “We’ve always known this girl had a great deal of talent, but she seems to be relaxing a lot more now following the little mini-vacation we gave her this winter.”

How did Jennie R. get her name?

“She’s named for my partner Nate Ruffolo’s late mother,” said Boyce. “He always makes a trip to the cemetery the day before (Jennie R.) runs, and it seems to have worked this time.”

ARLINGTON MILLION MANIA ATTRACTING CHICAGO MEDIA

With prep races for the International Festival of Racing’s Grade I Beverly D. and Grade I Secretariat Stakes offered at Arlington Park Saturday, Chicago’s turf writing community turned out in full force to witness previews to the upcoming centerpiece event of Chicago’s Thoroughbred season.

Fittingly, this year’s Kentucky Derby-winning owner won a race this weekend at Arlington, while this year’s Preakness-winning jockey won two races at Arlington Saturday, and this year’s Belmont Stakes-winning trainer won Saturday’s showcase event at Chicago’s Northwest oval.

Derby-winning owner Jim Tafel won Friday’s feature with Queendom, Preakness-winning jockey Robby Albarado won Saturday’s third with Frank Calabrese’s Respectabeau and the 10th astride Nancy Vanier’s Applewood, and Belmont Stakes-winning trainer Todd Pletcher captured Saturday’s Grade III Arlington Classic, presented by Woodford Reserve, with Edward Evan’s Pleasant Strike.

Tafel won the “Run for the Roses” with Street Sense, Albarado captured the Preakness with Curlin, and Pletcher saddled Rags to Riches to become the first filly to win the Belmont in 102 years.

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