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Arlington Park

Arlington Park Barn Notes (7/7/07)

Contact: Graham Ross

In today's notes:


Arlington Park’s new Polytrack surface figures to attract the strongest field of the last decade for Arlington Park’s 44th running of the prestigious Round Table Stakes July 14.

When run over Arlington’s grass course for much of its history, the Round Table boasted such turf stars as 1981 and 1984 Arlington Million champion John Henry and 1992 Breeders’ Cup Turf hero Fraise among its winners, but since becoming a sophomore test on the main track its status has not been as strong.

That will change July 14 if this spring’s Grade I Blue Grass Stakes winner Dominican, owned by Silverton Hill LLC, makes his expected start in Arlington’s $100,000 nine-furlong event.

Dominican defeated this spring’s eventual Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense by a nose in the Blue Grass, but lost all chance for victory in the Run for the Roses when bumped at a critical juncture and then kept wide and in tight quarters the rest of the way.

However, like the upcoming Round Table, this spring’s Blue Grass was the first run over Keeneland’s Polytrack – a surface that obviously suits Dominican. Prior to his April 14 win in Lexington, Dominican was five lengths the best in Turfway’s $100,000 Rushaway Stakes – also run over Polytrack.

Trained by Darrin Miller, Dominican finished a respectable fourth as a maiden making only the second start of his career in the Grade III Arlington-Washington Futurity last Sept. 10 when Arlington’s main course was still a natural dirt surface.

In his next trip to the post Oct. 12, during Keeneland’s initial meeting conducted over Polytrack, Dominican broke his maiden by a length and a half despite encountering trouble in the stretch run.

Among those slated to oppose Dominican in the Round Table at this early juncture are: Richard Kaster, Frederick Wieting and Peter Hickey’s filly Dashes N Dots; Stan Fulton’s It’s a Danzig; Darley Stable’s Mandurah; Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith’s Pavarotti; Patricia Blass’s From Shoes; and Hugh Robertson and Regatta Stables’ Snowblind Friend.


The largest win payoff of Arlington Park’s 2007 season – $166.40 for a $2 wager – lit up the tote board following Friday’s final event of the twilight racing program.

Not only the highest win price, but the season’s highest exacta ($1,288.20), the season’s highest trifecta ($14,582.60), and the season’s highest Pick 4 ($38,151.10) were recorded when Thomas Ryan’s Solartee made a furious late charge outside the field to be best by a head at the wire.

Ridden by Nick Meza, Solartee was trained by the owner’s wife Chris Ryan, a native of Frankfort, Illinois, who was saddling her first starter of the Arlington summer season.

How did the trainer celebrate such a dramatic victory?

“By the time I got home last night, it was 10:30,” said Mrs. Ryan, “and I was so tired all I could do was warm up some mushroom soup and nibble on a few leftovers.”

Was she as surprised as the wagering public when her 6-year-old gray mare, a Wisconsin-bred, ran as well as she did?

“She had been a real disappointment to us until yesterday,” said the trainer. “She was real unfit when I started her back in training, but she was coming along well when I saw a race for her a couple of weeks ago. However, Nick said she needed another work so we didn’t run her there and waited until Friday.

“Then she drew the outside post yesterday, and the race came up a lot tougher than we thought it was going to,” added Ryan, “so I thought we’d made a mistake.

“Nevertheless, it turned out Nick was right about her needing another work,” concluded Ryan. “What was funny was that Nick was planning a little vacation to Mexico during the time when that last race we were looking at came up, so we were teasing him about making up the part about her needing another work because he didn’t want to lose the mount while he was gone. But he was right all along.”


Jockey Cecilio Penalba, new to the Arlington Park jockey colony this season, scored back-to-back wins Friday, winning the second with Dennis McGee and Mike Williams’ It’s All for Real, and the third with Amerman Racing Stables LLC’s Native Dress.

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