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Arlington Park

Arlington Park Barn Notes (5/24/09)

Contact: Graham Ross

In today's notes:


On Saturday afternoon Virginia Tarra Trust’s Giant Oak made a successful return to the grassy surface over which he broke his maiden last summer, with a dramatic one-length win in the 75th running of the $150,000 Arlington Classic.

On Sunday morning trainer Chris Block reported that Giant Oak came out of the race well and would be pointed toward the next leg of Arlington’s Mid-America Triple – the Grade II American Derby on July 11.

“He’s doing fine this morning,” Block said. “Actually, he’s really full of himself today.”

Asked if the plan was to continue toward the next round of the Mid-America Triple, which concludes with the Grade I Secretariat Stakes on Arlington Million Day Aug. 8, Block said, “Absolutely. That’s why we’re here – to commit to Arlington Park and the Mid-America Triple.”

Following an impressive runner-up finish in Churchill’s Grade II Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes on the main track last November, the son of Giant’s Causeway began the current season as a Kentucky Derby candidate but encountered traffic problems in both Fair Grounds’ Grade III Risen Star Stakes and the Grade II Louisiana Derby at the New Orleans oval, finishing fifth and fourth respectively in those two races.

Despite a solid runner-up finish in Hawthorne’s Grade II Illinois Derby April 4, Block made the decision to take the chestnut sophomore off the Triple Crown trail and point him toward a turf campaign.


Phipps Stable’s Consesquence, half-length heroine of Saturday’s $200,000 American 1000 Guineas at Arlington Park, and that same ownership’s Vacation, clearly best in the Chicago oval’s Grade II Hanshin Cup the same afternoon, were doing well Sunday morning at Arlington’s Stakes Barn.

“Both came out of their races fine and are doing well this morning,” said Jen Patterson, Hall of Fame trainer “Shug” McGaughey’s assistant, who accompanied the horses on their journey from New York to Chicago.

“The horses will leave tomorrow (Monday) for their return to Belmont Park but I’m scheduled to leave later this afternoon,” Patterson said as she led one of the winning pair to a morning bath. “Hopefully, we’ll be making many more trips here later this summer.”


Pin Oak Stable’s Euphony, victorious by three-quarters of a length in the Grade II Arlington Matron during Saturday’s American 1000 Guineas Festival at Chicago’s Northwest oval, seemed in perfect harmony with her surroundings Sunday morning at Barn 14.

“Look at her – she looks really good,” said Efrain Chavez, trainer Donnie K. Von Hemel’s chief assistant when speaking just outside her stall. “She looks like she’s ready for another race.

“She’s always been a great gal,” Chavez said. “She’s a real sweetheart and she gives her best every time, no matter what surface she is on. Yesterday (Saturday) was her first time on Polytrack, but she had no trouble with it at all.”

Prior to her Matron tally – her fifth straight win – the 4-year-old Forest Wildcat filly won Oaklawn’s $100,000 Bayakoa Stakes on the main track this spring after annexing the $75,000 Remington Park Oaks on Oklahoma grass, the $75,000 Prairie Meadows Oaks on the dirt at Prairie Meadows, and the $50,000 DeBartolo Oaks over the Louisiana Downs lawn last year.


Visitation hours for longtime Illinois-based Thoroughbred owner Joseph John DiGrazia will be observed from 8:30 am to 10:30 am Tuesday at Foran Funeral Home, 7300 W. Archer (55th just west of Harlem). Mass follows at 11 am at St. Joseph Church with Interment at St. Mary Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Muscular Dystrophy Association or Race Track Chaplaincy of America, Illinois Division, P.O. Box 95583, Palatine, IL. 60095.

Mr. DiGrazia, who was the uncle of Arlington-based trainer Jimmy DiVito, employed several other Arlington-based trainers for his horses, including DiVito’s father, the late Pete DiVito, as well as current Arlington conditioners Tony Granitz and Danny Miller.

Among the notable horses that raced in Mr. DiGrazia’s silks was J. R.’s Pet, who later won the 1974 Arkansas Derby.

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