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|Arlington Park Barn Notes (7/26/07)
Contact: Graham Ross
In today's notes:
With its $300,000 purse, Saturday’s Grade II Washington Park Handicap will be the richest race ever run over Arlington Park’s new Polytrack course, and with its $180,000 winner’s share, Tomisue Hilbert and John Menard’s Save Big Money gets his first chance to earn big money.
Save Big Money, with career earnings of $112,027 entering Saturday’s headliner, is a homebred from Hilbert Thoroughbreds’ Kentucky base, but co-owner Menard hails from the Wisconsin-based privately held family-run chain of Midwestern home improvement stores.
Menards, believed to be the third largest home center chain in the United States behind The Home Depot and Lowe’s, features commercials that end with the well-known jingle – “Save big money at Menards.”
The equine Save Big Money is a 4-year-old son of Storm Cat out of Tomisue’s Delight. That 13-year-old broodmare, a daughter of A. P. Indy, won Belmont’s Grade I Ruffian Handicap in 1997 and Saratoga’s Grade I Personal Ensign Handicap in 1998 during her racing days.
Save Big Money, trained by Neil Howard, will be running in a stakes race for the first time Saturday and is 15-1 in the Washington Park morning line. Jockey Corey Lanerie is named to handle the reins.
Shadwell Stable’s Mustanfar, a 6-year-old son of Unbridled out of a Lyphard mare, has been successful on both turf and dirt for most of his career, and gets the chance to add “Polytrack” to his all-terrain résumé in Saturday’s Grade II Washington Park Handicap at Arlington Park.
As a son of the 1990 Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup Classic winner, Mustanfar emulated his sire’s main track form when breaking his maiden, finishing second in the 2004 Tampa Bay Derby and fourth in the Grade I Blue Grass Stakes later that spring.
With the turf sire Lyphard predominant on the bottom side of his pedigree, Mustanfar won Belmont’s Grade III Lexington and Keeneland’s Grade III Sycamore stakes on the grass in 2004, and was third beaten a half-length in the grassy Grade I Gulfstream Park Breeders’ Cup in the winter of 2006.
Mustanfar gets his third chance for his first “Polytrack” score Saturday after finishing second by a half-length in Woodbine’s Grade III Dominion Day Stakes July 1, and third beaten a head for all of it in Keeneland’s Grade III Ben Ali Handicap last April 26.
The concluding session of Trackside Arlington Park’s “Party on the Patio” will be held Friday evening immediately following the conclusion of Arlington’s twilight racing program.
“The Pack” – an always-popular classic rock group when featured locally – will provide the musical entertainment for the evening.
Defending Arlington Park jockey champion Chris Emigh has been outdistanced by former four-time champion Rene Douglas this season, but solidified his runner-up status in the 2007 standings with a riding double Wednesday.
Emigh won Wednesday’s fourth aboard Oak Knoll Farm LLC’s Galloping Home for trainer Brian Williamson, and the sixth race on Ben Barnow’s Lovely Love for trainer Richard Hazelton.
Leading rider Douglas kept his 27-win advantage over Emigh with a double of his own, winning the fifth with William Stiritz’ Royal Thumb Tack for trainer Terry Gestes and the eighth on Betty Massey and Jake Pletcher’s Justa Streak for conditioner Todd Pletcher.
With back-to-back wins in Wednesday’s second and third races, Arlington Park first-year jockey Diego Sanchez, a native of Sevilla, España, upped his season win total to 13 while tying for 13th in the latest jockey standings.
Sanchez won the second for Margaret Lazuka and Law Dog Stables Inc.’s Siteofawinner for trainer William Lazuka and the third for Robert Neumeyer’s Jaybird’s Miracle for trainer Jimmy DiVito.
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