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Arlington Park

Arlington Park Barn Notes (6/27/08)

Contact: Graham Ross

In today's notes:


Lattice, the aptly-named son of Arch who won last summer’s Grade II American Derby, is expected to return to Arlington to compete in this year’s Grade III Stars and Stripes Handicap on the Fourth of July.

Next week’s featured attraction on America’s Birthday is contested at the marathon distance of a mile and a half over Arlington’s world-famous turf course, whereas the American Derby is run at 1 3/16-miles over the local lawn. Which is the Adele Dilschneider and Claiborne Farm-owned colt’s favored distance?

“Well, I hope it’s a mile and a half,” answered conditioner Al Stall Jr., who took over the training of Lattice following last year’s Grade I Secretariat Stakes at Arlington. “We always wondered if he could go three turns, but he may have answered that question last time in (Churchill’s Grade III) Louisville Handicap. He seemed to handle the (12 furlongs) distance very comfortably that day.”

Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott conditioned Lattice last year for his win in the American Derby and his seventh-place finish in the Secretariat, but Stall is familiar with Lattice’s performance in both races.

“The ground was reasonably firm for the American Derby,” said Stall, speaking over the phone from Lexington Friday morning, “but it was much softer the day of the Secretariat. I remember the jock (Robby Albarado) talking about how (Lattice) was having trouble handling the ground. In fact, if Chicago gets a lot of rain between now and next Friday, we might have to change our plans.

“However, as of now, our plan is to give him a work Sunday – just a ‘shorty’ at Keeneland on the ‘Poly’ – and then ship him up to Arlington after we get done with training here Thursday morning,” said Stall. “Julien Leparoux will be the jockey this time.”

As Chicago’s second oldest stakes, the Stars and Stripes Handicap – appropriately celebrating its spirited 76th renewal next Friday – is exceeded only by the American Derby in its seniority in the Windy City. This summer’s American Derby will have its 94th running July 12.

The American Derby-Stars and Stripes Handicap double has been accomplished three times in its dual history, and the last horse to do it was a Claiborne Farm color bearer named Dunce who won the 1959 American Derby and the 1960 Stars and Stripes.

Kerr Stable’s Round Table captured the American Derby as a sophomore in 1957 and the Stars and Stripes Handicap two years later, while Calumet Farm’s Citation, the 1948 Triple Crown winner, went on to capture both the American Derby and the Stars and Stripes Handicap later in his sophomore summer.


Nineteen-year-old Brandon Meier must be too young to have heard the old adage “Age Before Beauty.”

The apprentice jockey won Thursday’s third race at Arlington astride Cynthia Gastel’s Interesting Prune, while his father Randy Meier, 53, all-time leading rider at Hawthorne and Sportsman’s Park on Chicago’s Southside, finished second aboard William Harris’s First Holme.

Although the two have ridden together previously this summer at Arlington, Thursday was the first time they had run one-two in the same race since the younger Meier, born in nearby Elk Grove Village, began his career at the current local session.


Double Diamond LLC’s Acadia Breeze, a 30-1 longshot in Saturday’s Grade III Chicago Handicap at Arlington Park, is expected to be scratched from that filly-and-mare test at seven furlongs in favor of a start Sunday’s first race, an optional claiming test at three-quarters where the daughter of Royal Academy is pegged at 8-1.

“Sunday’s race looks like a better spot for her,” said trainer Leigh Bentley, who is currently handling the filly in Chicago for conditioner Rusty Arnold. “I don’t really know much about her. She just got here.”


Members of Arlington Park’s Junior Jockey Club get their anticipated annual treat Sunday when they learn what the jockey is seeing and hearing at all points in a race as they take a tram ride around Arlington’s Polytrack course.

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