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Arlington Park

Arlington Park Barn Notes (5/22/08)

Contact: Graham Ross
graham.ross@arlingtonpark.com

In today's notes:

THIS CUBS FAN IS A GIRL!

Chicago Cubs fans inhabit the globe – but Cubs Fan, a 3-year-old filly owned by a native Chicagoan, arrived at O’Hare Monday night from South Florida. She’s here to contest Saturday’s inaugural running of the $200,000 American 1000 Guineas at Arlington Park.

As the newest edition to Arlington’s stakes schedule, the American edition of the 1000 Guineas is restricted to sophomore members of the distaff set, and will be run at one mile over the grass in keeping with an international format. (Coincidentally, the Group I Irish 1000 Guineas will also be run this weekend at The Curragh).

“Cubs Fan is by Lear Fan,” majority owner and loyal Cubs fan Brian Burns explained of his filly, “so for me, selecting a name for her was easy. However, my son didn’t like it. He said, ‘But Dad – she’s a filly!’ My answer to him was: ‘What? Girls can’t root for the Cubs?’ ”

Cubs Fan (the filly) is a longshot Saturday, listed at 30-1 in the morning-line, but long odds don’t scare Cubs fans. Also, aside from the actions of obvious hunch players, the filly might merit some consideration this weekend.

“She is jumping up into some big company,” said Burns of his Kentucky-bred filly, who has been absent from competition since last September, “but she broke her maiden in a turf race at Calder last fall and we know she loves the grass. We entered her back in another turf race down in Florida, but it rained hard that day and they took it off the grass. She ran horrible, so now we know she hates the dirt.

“At that point, we decided to give her three months off and sent her to Ocala,” said Burns. “It seems to have done her a lot of good. She put on about 100 pounds, and then we put her back in training about two months ago. We gave her a final breeze at Calder Sunday (six furlongs in 1:18) before putting her on the plane to come up here.”

Interestingly, Cubs Fan is out of the broodmare Jamie’s Coco Pop, who is a daughter of The Name’s Jimmy, hero of Arlington Park’s 1992 renewal of the Grade II American Derby.

BLUES LEGEND LONNIE BROOKS SINGS AT ARLINGTON SATURDAY

Blues legend Lonnie Brooks was born not far from the bayou in Opelousas, Louisiana, but along the road from the Pelican State to Chicago the musician integrated swampy bayou rhythms with the swing of Texas, the soul of Memphis, and the pure power of Chicago blues into a musical gumbo that is all his own.

That’s the unique sound that Brooks will bring to Arlington Park’s Miller Lite Band Stage Saturday night for a special post-race concert presented by WXRT at about 6:30 pm.

During the course of his four-decade career, Brooks has been Eric Clapton’s onstage guest at Buddy Guy’s Legends Club, was the headliner of the 1996 Chicago Blues Festival and often leads his son Ronnie Baker Brooks and second son Wayne in a three-guitar onslaught of infectious grooves.

At the beginning of his career, Brooks befriended the legendary Sam Cooke while on a caravan tour of the South and then hitched a ride to Chicago with them to live with the late singer’s family. Soon after that he landed a job as a side man with Jimmy Reed in time to record the blues classic “Big Boss Man.” Shortly after that, his own career took off.

MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND HIGHLIGHTS RUN FRIDAY-MONDAY

Arlington Park highlights the upcoming Memorial Day extended holiday weekend with a rare Monday racing program, one of only two Monday racing programs offered this season at the suburban Chicago oval.

The featured race on Monday’s program will be the 71st renewal of the Grade III Arlington Matron for fillies and mares. The nine-furlong event will be contested over Arlington’s Polytrack course.

However, Arlington’s festive activities actually get underway Friday, when the classic rock band “The Play Doctors” will entertain at the “Miller Lite Party in the Park.” First race and first song will begin Friday at 2:30 pm.

First post time Saturday at Arlington is 1 pm, and the racing day is highlighted by a three-stakes afternoon. It begins with the inaugural running of the $200,000 American 1000 Guineas as the sixth race, continues with the 73rd renewal of the $150,000 Arlington Classic as the eighth race and concludes with the 56th running of the $100,000 Hanshin Cup as the ninth event of an 11-race program.

Prior to Saturday’s races, Daily Herald Handicapper Joe Kristufek will host a handicapping seminar from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm in the Starting Gate Theatre along with special guest Marcus Hersh of Daily Racing Form. After the Starting Gate session, the seminar will continue at kiosks in the Clubhouse (1:30 pm-2:30 pm) and Grandstand (3 pm-4 pm).

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