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|Arlington Park Barn Notes (7/22/07)
Contact: Graham Ross
In today's notes:
Jockey Robby Albarado, Arlington’s leading rider 11 years ago on his way to becoming one of the nation’s premier reinsmen, returned to the Chicago scene with a big bang Saturday by riding five winners on Arlington’s Million Preview Day.
The Lafayette, Louisiana, native – in the midst of a career year following wins in Pimlico’s Grade I Preakness and Churchill’s Grade I Stephen Foster – added to those laurels by winning Arlington’s Grade II American Derby Saturday astride Adele Dilschneider and Claiborne Farm’s Lattice, conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott.
However, Albarado’s American Derby win – his second in the Mid-America Triple following a Grade III Arlington Classic tally last summer – was just icing on the day’s dessert. Earlier in the afternoon the 33-year-old Cajun won the first four races of the day – the second biggest racing day of the Arlington Park season.
“When I looked at the (Daily Racing) Form this morning, I figured I had a chance to win a couple of races,” said Albarado late in the afternoon, “but you never expect to have a great day like this.”
Although Albarado had accepted seven mounts and won with three of them earlier this season, Saturday’s five-win afternoon came on his first full day as a member of the local riding colony following a Churchill campaign throughout the Louisville spring session.
Through Saturday’s Million Preview Day program, Arlington’s 1996 jockey champion had won with half of his mounts, finished in the money with 69 percent of them, and amassed purse earnings of $381,435.
Albarado won Saturday’s opener astride Glenn Bromagen’s Wicked Style for Rusty Arnold, and completed the all-Albarado Daily Double with Isabel Velasquez and Moises Yanez’ Macho Comacho for trainer Yanez. He came back to the winner’s circle in the third with James Chisholm, Gary Margolis and Ken Smole et al’s Purely Wild for Wally Dollase, and made his fourth straight trip to the winner’s circle with Gus Goldsmith and Merrill Scherer’s Chestnut Blast with Scherer serving as the conditioner.
Moyglare Stud Farm’s Perfect Casting, fifth in Saturday’s Grade II American Derby as the first equine international invader of the Arlington Park season, came out of the Mid-America Triple’s middle leg in good order and is scheduled for a Sunday return trip to Ireland.
“No excuses,” said Jeff Byrne, Irish trainer Dermot Weld’s assistant Sunday morning outside Arlington’s International Barn when asked about Perfect Casting. “He just didn’t run quite as well as we expected – but that’s racing.
“We’ll be back,” said Byrne, speaking of Arlington’s upcoming International Festival or Racing Aug. 11. “I’m not sure about this one (Perfect Casting), but we’ve got some nice runners back home. God willing, we’ll see you in three weeks.”
Weld is Ireland’s all-time leading trainer and a longtime supporter of Arlington’s International Festival, but has not as yet won the Arlington Million, Beverly D. or Secretariat Stakes – Arlington’s annual threesome of Grade I races.
Internationally renowned trainers Bill Mott, Patrick Biancone and Graham Motion were all winners of the three graded stakes on Arlington’s Million Preview Day program Saturday, and all had shipped out their International Festival candidates before Sunday’s Arlington training hours had been completed.
Bill Mott-trained Lattice, owned by Adele Dilschneider and Claiborne Farm, came from off the pace to capture Saturday’s Grade II American Derby, final major prep for the Grade I Secretariat Stakes Aug. 11.
Patrick Biancone-trained Cosmonaut, owned by Flying Zee Stable, made the pace to tally by two and a quarter lengths in Saturday’s Grade III Arlington Handicap, final local prep for the Grade I Arlington Million three weeks later.
Graham Motion-trained Bridge Game, owned by Elisabeth Alexander, rallied in the final furlong to take Saturday’s Grade III Modesty Handicap, final Chicago preview for the upcoming Grade I Beverly D. Stakes on the second Saturday in August.
All appear on track to return to competition in their respective races in time for the upcoming Arlington Million Day.
Todd Pletcher-trained Pleasant Strike, owned by Edward Evans, finished fourth in the American Derby as the choice of the fans but came out of the race without problems, according to Michael Dilger, Pletcher’s Arlington-based assistant. Pleasant Strike, who won the Grade III Arlington Classic June 23 as first leg of the Mid-America Triple, remains in Chicago with an undetermined status concerning the Secretariat as the Triple’s final leg.
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