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Arlington Park

Arlington Park Barn Notes (4/23/08)

Contact: Graham Ross

In today's notes:


While it may not have resembled the Eisenhower Expressway at rush hour, the main track at Arlington Park did have some early-morning traffic Wednesday as the state-of-the-art Polytrack surface was unwrapped for its second season of duty at Chicago’s premier Thoroughbred oval, and a graded stakes winner was amongst the four horses to receive officially clocked workouts over the track.

Jim Messineo’s Major Rhythm, a 9-year-old gelded son Rhythm, worked five furlongs in 1:00 4/5 under jockey Ramsey Zimmerman, who is returning to his hometown track to ride for the 2008 season.

“He went real good,” said trainer Doug Matthews, who took over the conditioning of the 2006 Grade III Stars and Stripes winner last Fall. “He ran second for me in the Grade III Col. E. R. Bradley at the Fair Grounds in January and I wanted to take him back to New Orleans for their turf races later in the meeting but he got an infection and missed some time. He’s bounced back from that and we’ll have a fresh horse for the summer.

“For his age, he’s actually lightly raced (57 starts since 2001) and it’s unbelievable how sound he is at nine (years old),” he continued. “He’s a nice old horse.”

Major Rhythm is being pointed toward the first stakes event of the season, the $100,000 James B. Tafel Illinois Owners Stakes at a mile and a sixteenth on the turf on Saturday, May 3, the second day of the 2008 meet. The veteran gelding finished fifth in last year’s Illinois Owners Stakes and third in the 2006 inaugural edition of the race that is restricted to horses where 51% of their recorded ownership is registered to an owner whose Illinois Racing Board license reflects an Illinois address.

Matthews-trained horses actually made up three-fourths of the first-day work tab with Dawn’s Champ getting three-eighths of a mile in :38 2/5 and Johnny A working five panels in 1:03.40.

The only other horse on the Wednesday tab was the Larry Rivelli-trained Subcultural Girl, who drilled five furlongs in a minute flat.

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