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Arlington Park

Arlington Park Barn Notes (6/30/07)

Contact: Graham Ross
graham.ross@arlingtonpark.com

In today's notes:

STARS AND STRIPES RUNNER GETS HANDS-ON ATTENTION

Cloudy’s Knight, owned by the S J Stables LLC of Jerry and Shirley Schwartz and a highly regarded contestant in Wednesday’s Grade III Stars and Stripes Turf Handicap, gets specialized hands-on treatment at his Chicago home base – but also when he goes on the road.

The 7-year-old gelding, runner-up in the Grade III Stars and Stripes Turf Handicap two years ago, is set to try for the big prize again in Arlington Park’s mid-week America’s Birthday graded stakes offering.

Cloudy’s Knight is also something of a character. The oversized chestnut likes to relax with a massage and gets regular treatments from the magic fingers of premier equine masseuse Nancy Knott.

As the wife of Arlington Park starter “Blue” Knott, of course that assignment is easily accomplished during Arlington’s summer season, but what happened when Cloudy’s Knight went to New Orleans last winter?

That problem was easily solved when the owners elected to fly Mrs. Knott south to Louisiana’s Crescent City – twice.

Temporarily under the care of conditioner Jim McMullen during his winter campaign, Cloudy’s Knight finished third in Fair Grounds’ $75,000 Diliberto Memorial Handicap Dec. 16 and was third once again in that oval’s $100,000 Col. E. R. Bradley Handicap Jan. 13.

However, following a quick trip south by Mrs. Knott, Cloudy’s Knight rebounded to win the Grade III Fair Grounds Breeders’ Cup Handicap Feb. 10.

A month later on Louisiana Derby Day March 10, following a second round trip commute by the masseuse, Cloudy’s Knight was an excellent runner-up to Midnight Cry Stable’s Einstein in the Grade II Mervin Muniz Memorial Handicap. That Brazilian-bred is now generally regarded as one of the best turf horses in North America.

PATRIOTIC SUNDAY PRECEDES AMERICA’S BIRTHDAY WEDNESDAY

Sunday’s Pepsi Family Day at Arlington Park, presented by the Daily Herald on the first day of the new month, will feature “The Spirit of the USO” band playing in the Park Area when Arlington salutes the military with a patriotic-themed event as The Fourth of July approaches midweek.

The Grade III Stars and Stripes Turf Handicap, observing its 75th renewal this week while returned to this season to its traditional July 4 running date, will highlight the America’s Birthday racing program at Arlington Park Wednesday.

Hall of Fame horses such as Calumet Farm’s Citation and Kerr Stable’s Round Table are included among past winners of the Stars and Stripes.

Arlington’s Folding Chair-in-a-Bag Giveaway will also be offered Wednesday to the first 5,000 paid admissions, and live music will be provided by “Piano Man” in a Billy Joel-Elton John tribute in the Park Area from 1-5:30 p.m.

Family Day activities Wednesday will include pony rides, face painters and a petting zoo in the Park Area.

Gates will open at 7:30 Wednesday evening for Arlington Park’s Fourth of July Fireworks, presented by LaSalle Bank.

Live music will be provided by the Four Man Band – “the band that knows all the classics” – in the Park Area from 7:30-9:30 p.m.

JOCKEYS EMIGH, BAIRD BATTLING FOR RUNNER-UP SPOT IN STANDINGS

Although four-time Arlington Park jockey champion Rene Douglas is far in front once again this season in the local jockey standings, red-hot rider E. T. Baird has been making a run in recent days at defending champion Chris Emigh for this season’s second position.

Baird scored a “hat trick” Thursday, winning the opener with Frank Calabrese’s Righteous Cat, the fifth with Natalie Sandler’s Mahoney, and the seventh with Emerald Green Acres’ Henryjohnapproval, while Emigh had a single score aboard Brinker Hill Farm’s Demi N Diamonds in Thursday’s finale.

However, last year’s champion rebounded with a back-to-back riding double in Friday’s sixth with Team Victory’s Startswampindowski, and the seventh with Virginia H. Tarra Trust’s Little Star, while Baird was shut out during that twilight program.

Through Friday’s program, Douglas led the standings with 57 winning mounts, Emigh was second with 37 and Baird in the third spot with 32 trips to the winner’s circle.

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