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Arlington Park

Arlington Park Barn Notes (8/31/07)

Contact: Graham Ross

In today's notes:


Clarence Scharbauer Jr.’s Gold Coyote goes into Saturday’s Grade III Arlington-Washington Futurity with three straight wins and two unanswered questions.

The three straight wins came in a maiden tally by about 12 lengths last May, a 10-length victory in the Texas Stallion Stakes July 7, and a five and three quarter-length win the Middleground Stakes July 25 – all in sprints over the Grand Prairie dirt at Lone Star Park.

The two unanswered questions are: can Gold Coyote go the one mile distance of the Arlington-Washington Futurity, and can he handle Arlington’s new Polytrack course?

“We brought him up (to Arlington) almost two weeks ago,” said Gold Coyote’s conditioner Bret Calhoun Friday morning during training hours. “We breezed him over the Polytrack (five furlongs in 1:00.60) and he did it very well. He seemed to handle it fine. I caught him galloping out in (1:13.40), so I don’t think the surface will be a problem.”

In recent seasons, Calhoun has brought along several promising youngsters only to lose them while making a profit – selling them as 2-year-olds in training. However, the trainer assures that will not be the case with this son of Gold Legend out of a Seeking the Gold mare.

Gold Coyote is a Texas homebred, owned by the same Midland, Texas, family that raced Alysheba to get the gold in the 1987 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, and one year later in the Breeders’ Cup Classic when back under the Twin Spires.

Although Alysheba raced in the name of his late wife and his daughter, Gold Coyote races under his breeder’s banner. Calhoun emphatically says this horse is not for sale.

Alysheba finished second in the Breeders’ Cup Classic the year before he won it, so Scharbauer has already been known to persevere to achieve a goal, and Alysheba finished second in the Belmont Stakes to be denied Thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown – so that goal remains.

A chance for a sweep of the 2008 Triple Crown awaits a host of Thoroughbred owners, but that road begins with the baby steps of this year’s Futurities. That’s why they run them.


Harresh Mehta’s Holding Court, who will become the first Indian-bred horse in history to race at Arlington Park in Labor Day Monday’s $45,000 Rossi Gold Stakes, got his final tune-up Friday morning, breezing a half-mile in :46.20 while galloping out five-eighths in :58.40.

Jockey E. T. Baird, currently enjoying the best season of his two-decade career at Arlington, was aboard for the move.

Monday’s Rossi Gold Stakes – one of eight grass races making up Arlington’s designated Turf Showcase on Labor Day – will be contested at a mile and three-sixteenths. Holding Court made the pace before weakening in the last strides of the Group II Maharajas Cup at Bangalore in his last start July 1 when asked to go a mile and three-eighths, but was a length the best before that on June 16 going a mile and an eighth at that same Indian oval.

The rare appearance of an Indian-bred abroad is emphasized by the fact that until the new millennium, only two Indian-breds competed over foreign soil in the previous half-century.

Holding Court was originally scheduled to compete in the Grade III Arlington Handicap July 21 with an added goal of the Grade I Arlington Million Aug. 11, but travel snafus intervened.

“Travel problems generated by quarantine restrictions set our clock back,” said Holding Court’s trainer “Paddy” Padmanabhan. “It was a logistical challenge. From Bangalore, it was on to Chennai. The next stop was Bangkok. The next stop was Seoul. From Seoul, Holding Court went to Anchorage, Alaska. Then it was across America to New York and finally (after seven more days) to Chicago.

“It was unfortunate we did not get to Chicago to race in the Million,” Padmanabhan said. “The way the race was run and the ‘yielding’ ground would have given Holding Court a realistic chance.”


The local chapter of the Jockeys’ Guild will host a fundraiser from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday to assist the families of jockeys Cecilio Penalba, Uriel Lopez and Israel Ocampo, all out for the rest of the Arlington meeting following injuries sustained earlier this month.

Various Arlington Park jockeys will make themselves available on the West side of the Arlington paddock to sign goggles and have their pictures taken with guests.

Raffle tickets will be made available for a $10 donation – or three for a $25 donation – and raffle prizes will include gift certificates to local restaurants.

A silent auction featuring racing memorabilia will also be part of Saturday’s fundraiser.

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