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Arlington Park

Arlington Park Barn Notes (8/22/08)

Contact: Graham Ross

In today's notes:


Saturday’s $200,000 Arlington Sprint favorite Mr. Nightlinger has rolled off four straight wins since finding a home sprinting on grass, and should he add a fifth to that total in this weekend’s Chicago feature, the 4-year-old son of Indian Charlie will be pointed to Santa Anita’s inaugural Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint in late October.

That would give William and Stephanie Martin, who own Mr. Nightlinger in partnership with Carl Moore Management, another chance at a goal that eluded them last year.

“Last year they owned a mare who won five straight sprint stakes in California,” said Mr. Nightlinger’s trainer Bret Calhoun, speaking over the phone Friday morning from Oklahoma City. “Her name was River’s Prayer (owned in partnership with Bentry Farms and Paula Capestro) and she was being pointed for last year’s new Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at Monmouth.

“Unfortunately, she was injured and had to be retired after winning (Calder’s Grade I) Princess Rooney Handicap and (Del Mar’s Grade III) Redondo Beach Handicap,” Calhoun said, “Obviously, I would love to get Mr. Nightlinger to the Breeders’ Cup for them this year. They’ve had horses with me for some time, now.”

One horse that has been trained by Calhoun on and off via the claiming ranks for some time now is Carl Moore Management’s King of Speed, who scored his 18th lifetime win in Thursday’s sixth race, from 87 career starts.

After making the pace in that middle distance race over Polytrack, the 9-year-old gelding was challenged at the furlong marker, but dug in with his usual determination to draw clear late.

“He’s the barn favorite of everybody who works for me,” said Calhoun of King of Speed, who also has recorded 14 seconds and 11 thirds and amassed total earnings of $415,320 while toiling mostly in the claiming ranks. “He tries every time – it doesn’t matter what kind of surface he’s on or what the distance is. He’s just a great horse to be around.”


Team Block’s Fort Prado has won the Grade III Fair Grounds Handicap, four Prairie State Festival races and visited the winner’s circle 16 times in his six years of racing, but trainer Chris Block is not predicting an upset when the 7-year-old gray goes to the post against Martin Racing Stables and Carl Moore Management’s Mr. Nightlinger in Saturday’s Arlington Sprint.

“Maybe, the Canadian horse (Danny Lococo’s Starticus) can run with him and soften (Mr. Nightlinger) up on the front end,” said Block Friday morning during training hours, “but I doubt it.

“I’m a realist,” said Block. “Mr. Nightlinger looks like a monster now that he’s sprinting on grass. He stands alone. He’s something special and he’s probably Breeders’ Cup-bound. If he’s as good as he looks, and we run second, I’ll be proud to have run second against him. It’ll make us look good.”


Teenage jockey Tanner Riggs – new to Arlington Park’s riding colony this season – rode three straight winners Thursday to vault into 15th position in the local rider standings.

The native of Mitchell, South Dakota, won Thursday’s third with Rick Srygley’s A. J.’s Conquest for trainer Lon Wiggins, came right back in the fourth with Peacock Stable’s Grayston for conditioner Kerry Zavash, and was then awarded his third straight tally in the fifth with William Stiritz’s Cool C Note for conditioner Terry Gestes when the first horse under the wire was disqualified.

The multi-win day was the first for Riggs at Arlington, and contributed to a Stiritz-Gestes owner-trainer double when that duo won the eighth with Napolean’s Retreat, who had Chris Emigh aboard.

Emigh, who rode two winners Wednesday, and fellow veteran jockey Eddie Razo both rode two winners on Thursday’s program.


Saratoga Race Course offers the Grade I Travers Stakes as America’s mid-summer Derby this Saturday in upstate New York, but Saturday’s attraction at Arlington Park is in the bag.

That because Chicago’s northwest suburban oval is offering a free Arlington Sling Pack to the first 2,500 paid admissions through the gates.

Also offered Saturday at Arlington, in addition to its own live racing program, is full-card simulcasting from Saratoga’s 12-race card to include the Travers.

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