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Arlington Park

Arlington Park Barn Notes (8/25/07)

Contact: Graham Ross

In today's notes:


Arlington Park’s world-famous turf course is scheduled to get a full workout on Labor Day Monday, when eight of nine races slated for Arlington’s holiday program will be run over the grass – weather permitting.

Following a week-long deluge of severe thunderstorms throughout the Chicago area, the Northwest suburban oval’s infield looks like a lush green carpet, and assuming the weather clears as forecasted for the upcoming holiday, the grass course will provide a postcard-picture backdrop for almost an entire afternoon of turf racing under sunny skies.

Once Arlington’s first race on Labor Day is completed over Polytrack, the remaining eight races of that rare Monday racing program will be run on grass – a pre-planned scenario that will allow an all-turf Pick 6 wager as well as two all-turf Pick 4s.

However, Arlington also hosts two turf stakes races that day – one a marathon mile and a half test for grass-favoring fillies and mares and the other at a mile and three-sixteenths open to all 3-year-olds and up.

Among the more interesting nominees to the Labor Day marathon Claire Marine Stakes, restricted to members of the distaff set, is the French-bred Mauralakana, owned by Fab Oak Stable, Lewis Lakin, Richard Giacopelli and Maurice Hassan. A Group III winner in France, Mauralakana won Churchill’s Grade III Locust Grove Handicap July 8, and was scratched out of Saratoga’s Grade II Ballston Spa Handicap earlier this week.

Easily the most fascinating of those expected for Labor Day’s $45,000 Rossi Gold Stakes at Arlington is Harresh Mehta’s Holding Court, who will become the first horse bred in India to run at Arlington Park if he goes to the post in the Rossi Gold.

Mauralakana was nominated to both the Grade I Arlington Million and the Grade I Beverly D. earlier this month, and Holding Court was considered for this summer’s Arlington Million prior to unanticipated travel complications.

With one turf rail on temporary loan from Fair Grounds Racecourse in New Orleans, Louisiana, Arlington Park will run half of Labor Day Monday’s turf races from lane #5 and the other half from 10 feet inside lane #1.

Daily Herald handicapper and Arlington Park morning line maker Joe Kristufek will conduct a Labor Day handicapping seminar in the Starting Gate Theatre to analyze each race as well as offer general insights into the art of handicapping grass races. The interactive seminar will be conducted from noon to 4 p.m.


Jockey Daniel Coa, 25, a native of Caracas, Venezuela, who has been riding at Calder Race Course this summer, is scheduled to transfer his tack from Miami to Chicago following Calder’s weekend program and is named to ride Razvi Ltd.’s If Nine Was Six in Wednesday’s first race.

At the age of 15, Coa’s uncle, jockey Eibar Coa, encouraged his nephew to immigrate to South Florida shortly after the youngster’s graduation from the Venezuela jockey school. His first win came at Gulfstream Park in March of 1999.

Daniel Coa captured his first riding title during Turfway Park’s Holiday Meeting that year and finished the year as a finalist for the Eclipse Award as leading apprentice. His first stakes win came at the Northern Kentucky oval in January of 2000 when he won the $50,000 Wishing Well Stakes astride Stormin Hanna.

This summer at Calder, the youngster has ridden four winners from 63 mounts, with three seconds and six third-place finishes while registering earnings of $91,910.


For the third day in a row at Arlington Park, late rider changes accounted for multiple wins during Friday’s Arlington program.

Leading rider Rene Douglas, a late rider change aboard Ralls and Foster LLC’s Stars Portent in Friday’s sixth race, guided that sophomore filly to victory for trainer Paul McGee.

In Friday’s finale, Eddie Perez rode the Moises Yanez-owned-and-trained Lady Lionel to victory after being named as a substitute rider following program changes.

Perez also picked up a win as a substitute rider the previous day, and on Friday Douglas picked up a second winner by riding Alane Inc.’s Sudden Inspiration to victory in the eighth race for trainer Mike Stidham.

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