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Arlington Park

Arlington Park Barn Notes (5/18/08)

Contact: Graham Ross

In today's notes:


The 74th running of the Arlington Classic - one of Arlington’s most tradition-rich races and an event that boasts Dr. Fager, Buckpasser and Alydar among its winners – will be contested once again this weekend as one of three stakes races on Saturday’s program.

The 1 1/16-mile grass test for 3-year-olds that offers a $150,000 purse serves as the first leg of Arlington’s Mid-America Triple and will be presented along with the inaugural edition of the $200,000 American 1000 Guineas for 3-year-old fillies on the turf. The Grade III Hanshin Cup, now in its 14th year as an exchange race with the Japan Racing Association and Arlington’s first graded stakes of the 2008 season, completes Saturday’s rich stakes troika.

However, the Arlington Classic, with a host of locally based horses of interest as probable starters, also appears likely to attract at least one British-bred, adding an earlier-than-usual international garnish to this summer’s Mid-America Triple.

Hatta Fort, who raced in the familiar Godolphin silks last year as a juvenile in England and France, has made one start as a sophomore in the United States for trainer Saeed bin Suroor, finishing second by a nose in Keeneland’s $100,000 Lafayette Stakes April 6.

The son of Irish-bred Cape Cross won Newmarket’s Group II Weatherbys Superlative Stakes last July, and was also a close fourth in Longchamp’s Group I Prix Jean Luc Lagardere.

Neveretheless, Chicago-based horses loom large against the British-bred in the first leg of the Triple, a series which continues with the Grade II American Derby July 12 and concludes with the Grade I Secretariat on Arlington Million Day Aug. 9.

The Illinois-based green and gold silks of Team Block are likely to be worn astride Amazing Results, winner of Fair Grounds’ $60,000 Grindstone Stakes over the New Orleans lawn in his last trip to the post March 22. Out of Team Block’s Ioya Two (twice winner of the grassy Lincoln Heritage Stakes here), Amazing Results also captured the $60,000 Black Gold Stakes Feb. 2 in the Crescent City.

Frank Calabrese, who has become Arlington’s perennial leading owner, is considering sending his Kentucky-bred colt Prime Realestate in the Arlington Classic.

The Wayne Catalano-trainee won his last start over Keeneland’s turf course April 20, and was beaten less than three lengths in Gulfstream’s Grade III Palm Beach Handicap March 29 after being forced to alter course.

Jon and Sarah Kelly’s Sporting Art, hero of the Palm Beach ‘Cap as well as the Grade III Calder Derby April 26, is also being considered for the Classic by French-born conditioner Christophe Clement; as are Live Oak Plantation’s El Sultry Sun, third in the Calder Derby; Sassafras Racing and Gulf Coast Farms’ Meal Penalty, winner of Arlington’s $53,700 Shecky Greene May 10; Brad Allshouse and Keith Desormeaux’s Gangbuster, second to Amazing Results in the Grindstone; and Ashbrook Farm’s Wicked Style, winner of Keeneland’s Grade I Lane’s End Breeders’ Futurity last Oct. 6 but absent since a disappointing effort in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile over Monmouth’s sloppy going Oct. 27.


Highlighting Arlington’s Memorial Day program – one of two Monday racing programs offered at Chicago’s northwest oval this summer – is the Grade III Arlington Matron for fillies and mares at nine furlongs.

Courtlandt Farms’ Indescribable, third in Keeneland’s Grade III Doubledogdare Stakes in her last start April 18, is being considered for the Matron by British-born trainer Graham Motion.

Also being considered for the Matron is Jer-Mar Stable’s Angel Smoke, fourth in Oaklawn’s $100,000 Bayakoa in her last start April 9.

Also possible for Memorial Day Monday’s Matron is Arbaway Farm, Carson Springs Farm and Vince and Nancy Letto’s Stop a Train, heroine of the $100,000 Peach of It Stakes on Chicago’s Southside in her last start April 26.


Apprentice jockey Brandon Meier, who won the first two races of his riding career this spring at Arlington Park, has hired longtime Illinois-based agent Tom Morgan to handle his riding assignments.

Brandon Meier is the son of the veteran jockey Randy Meier, all-time leading rider at Sportsman’s Park as well as Hawthorne Race Course.

Morgan handled the riding engagements of the elder Meier for 11 years.

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