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|Arlington Park Barn Notes (6/29/07)
Contact: Graham Ross
In today's notes:
Donald Lucarelli and Starlight Stable’s Throng, apparently overmatched when seventh in Arlington Park’s Grade III Hanshin Cup at last asking on Memorial Day weekend, finds an easier spot and should rule the choice when he heads a field of six in Saturday’s $46,800 Dr. Fager Stakes at nine furlongs over Arlington’s Polytrack course.
In his debut over the local Polytrack May 5, second day of the meeting, Throng appeared to be a clear winner in mid-stretch before being caught in the last jump. Before that the 4-year-old bay was clearly second best over Keeneland’s Polytrack course April 6, and had won over that same artificial surface in Lexington last fall.
The Kentucky-bred son of Silver Deputy out of an Easy Goer mare is conditioned by defending Eclipse Award-winning trainer Todd Pletcher and will be ridden by Arlington’s leading rider Rene Douglas Saturday.
Capable of providing strong competition for Throng is Mrs. S. K. Johnston Jr.’s Sidcup, a Kentucky-based chestnut who shipped to Arlington to win an allowance race at a mile and a sixteenth May 24 after coming from well off the pace. Based on that last trip to the post, the 5-year-old Running Stag gelding should appreciate Saturday’s added distance. Jockey James Graham returns in the irons aboard the Walter Bindner trainee.
Kenneth Hoffman’s Demeteor cannot be discounted in the Dr. Fager. The 8-year-old Dehere gelding was clearly best in his last two starts, both in scaled $50,000-$45,000 claiming company over Arlington’s grass course May 11 and June 1. He was also second by a head when racing for a $40,000 tag over Keeneland’s Polytrack April 27. Diego Sanchez is named to handle the reins.
Completing the Dr. Fager field are Commercially Reasonable LLC’s Mr. Pursuit, Eusebio Razo Jr. aboard; James Kelly’s Restless Mon, Jose Ferrer up; and Nancy Vanier’s Air Academy, Israel Ocampo astride.
What’s in a name? If the name is Heckofanactofollow, it means – appropriately enough – that he is a horse who has twice been the principle cause of Pick 4 carryover pools at Arlington Park this season.
Carryover pools occur when at least one of the horses in the four successive races making up the Pick 4 wager is enough of a longshot that no one correctly picks four straight winners on the same ticket. That results in a Pick 4 carryover pool for those corresponding four races on the next racing day.
Heckofanactofollow, a 7-year-old gelding owned by Peacock Stable and Terry Bruner, trained by Kerry Zavash and ridden recently by Hall of Fame jockey Earlie Fires, paid $100.40 to win on June 14 and returned a $33.60 win mutuel Thursday. In both instances he was at least partially responsible for a Pick 4 carryover pool.
But Heckofanactofollow is also a full brother to the multiple stakes winner Heckofaralph. Both homebreds sired by Young Ralph were foaled at the South Florida farm of prominent Sunshine State breeders Ralph and Betty Sessa. Their sire was named for the late Mr. Sessa.
Among Heckofaralph’s stakes victories were scores in Calder’s $300,000 Miami Beach and $200,000 Calder Turf Sprint handicaps in 1998 and the $75,000 Hialeah Sprint Championship (run at Gulfstream) in 2000.
What goes ‘round, comes ‘round often in Thoroughbred racing, and trainer Andy Hansen can attest to that.
Hansen scored a training double Thursday at Arlington Park, saddling Michael Milkes’ Marksmilk Is White to win the third and Brinker Hill Farm’s Demi N Diamonds to win the ninth. Nevertheless, the first winner was something of a fluke.
Marksmilk Is White appeared well beaten in Thursday’s third before the leader Master Commander, owned by Fifth Gen Racing LLC, trained by Terrel Gore and ridden by Rene Douglas, ducked out sharply from the inner rail in the stretch run to lose the lead and finish third while racing near the outside fence.
However, Hansen may have been “owed one” in the grand scheme of things. He had saddled Martin Reyes’ Small Value to be clearly best in a race June 8 before that 5-year-old was disqualified for an errant stretch run – slightly bothering a beaten horse who subsequently bothered others in the field.
“I was just glad something finally went right for me yesterday,” said a relieved Hansen Friday during training hours. “I felt sorry for Mr. Gore and his horse yesterday, but in this business sometimes you got to take ‘em when you can get ‘em.”
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