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Arlington Park

Arlington Park Barn Notes (8/26/07)

Contact: Graham Ross

In today's notes:


Arlington Park will offer handicappers one more chance to qualify for one of three berths into the Daily Racing Form/National Thoroughbred Racing Association National Handicapping Championship to be held in Las Vegas in January of 2008.

Team Arlington Park berths will be awarded at a qualifying tournament to be held at the track on Saturday, Sept. 8. Registration for the contest costs $175 and may be completed online at

Format for the popular tournament will closely mirror the format used by the NTRA in the national championship where contestants will make mythical $10 win and place wagers on six mandatory races, as well as six races that may be chosen by the contestant from a list of selected racetracks.

The mandatory races will be from Arlington Park’s live card, which will be highlighted by a trio of Grade III races – a threesome of events restricted to members of the distaff set.

The person with the highest total bankroll after all 12 wagers have been made will be deemed the contest winner.

In order of historical seniority, the 73rd running of the $150,000 Arlington-Washington Lassie at one mile, restricted to juvenile fillies, is the oldest of the three Sept. 8 stakes. The Lassie is a one-turn event that boasts the eventual 1992 2-year-old filly champion Eliza, owned by the late Allen Paulson, among its past winners.

The 71st running of the $150,000 Arlington Matron, for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up, will be run at nine furlongs on that day. Fittingly, the last time it was run in two divisions was 31 years ago, when female trainers captured both ends of the 1976 Matron.

Christine Janks, now on the cusp of the 1,500-career win milestone, saddled Cycylya Zee to win one end while Alice Chandler was the winning conditioner of Nicosia in the other half of the split stakes that year.

Youngest but richest of Arlington’s three Sept. 8 stakes is the $200,000 Pucker Up, to be run for the 44th time. This mile and an eighth test restricted to 3-year-old fillies is to be run over Arlington’s world famous turf course, and has attracted European horses to Arlington for many of its renewals.


Gregg Didech, principal owner of B Jock LLC’s Piratesonthelake, celebrated his first stakes victory as an horse owner when the Jim DiVito trainee dead-heated for the win in Saturday’s $150,000 Arlington Sprint.

Although Piratesonthelake’s dead-heat for the win cost the partnership approximately $20,000 in purse money, the owner remained ecstatic with the win Sunday morning.

“Twenty years from now, the trophy we won and the thrill of being a part of it is going to mean a lot more to me than the $20,000 difference of the dead-heat,” Didech said.

Didech and his partners, also Chicagoans, have owned horses for about one year.


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

Jockey Eddie Perez, continuing his own three-day win streak as a substitute rider, captured Saturday’s fourth race aboard J. R. Lewis’s On Safari, trained by Gene Brajczewski Jr. Perez has also moved into sole possession of sixth-place in the current Arlington rider standings.

Leading rider Rene Douglas won Saturday’s sixth astride Virginia Tarra’s Cause She’s Crafty as a late rider change for trainer Chris Block, and Jose Ferrer took the fifth as a late rider named for Horton Stable Inc.’s Shekinah for conditioner Dallas Stewart.

Ten of the 37 races run at Arlington Park from Wednesday through Saturday were won by jockeys named as late rider changes.


Harresh Mehta’s Holding Court, who will become the first horse bred in India to race at Arlington Park when he goes to the post in Labor Day Monday’s $45,000 Rossi Gold Stakes, breezed three-quarters in 1:12.60 Sunday, galloped out seven-eighths in 1:25, and pulled up after a mile in 1:41.40 under jockey Jesse Lantz.

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