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|Arlington Park Barn Notes (7/2/09)
Contact: Graham Ross
In today's notes:
Early in the spring last season at Arlington Park, Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard quietly shipped in Augustin Stable’s Forever Together for Arlington’s Reluctant Guest Stakes – an overnight event with a $50,000-added purse – and at that time the developing 4-year-old filly returned an $18.40 win price.
The healthy payoff was also almost twice as much as Forever Together paid when she won the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at the end of the year at Santa Anita.
However, don’t expect any such bargain mutuels when the Sheppard-trained Augustin-owned Informed Decision runs in Arlington’s Grade III Chicago Breeders’ Cup Handicap for fillies and mares at seven furlongs this Saturday.
Informed Decision has the best record of any horse to run at Arlington this summer – so she’s hardly under the radar. The daughter of 2001 Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos won Churchill’s Grade I Humana Distaff on Kentucky Derby Day this spring and captured Keeneland’s Grade I Vinery Madison Stakes before that. She has been installed as the 3-5 odds-on morning line choice in Saturday’s $150,000 Chicago ‘Cap – a race won previously by such champions as Jayeff B Stable’s Safely Kept and the late Frank Muench’s Meafara.
“She is a very good filly, and she’s doing very well right now,” said Sheppard Thursday morning, speaking over the phone from his Unionville, Pa., base of operations, “but I haven’t seen the records of those that are in against her and I never take any race for granted. I have never done that in my life. It’s just not my nature.
“She just left Pennsylvania, so she’s due in at Arlington later this evening (Thursday),” added Sheppard. “I will be coming in Friday night.”
French-born jockey Julien Leparoux, currently leading rider at Churchill Downs, will journey from Louisville to Chicago to ride Informed Decision Saturday.
Although Sheppard was elected to the National Museum and Racing Hall of Fame at Saratoga Springs in 1990, and conditioned such Thoroughbred flat runners as Storm Cat and With Anticipation in addition to Informed Decision and Forever Together, the 69-year-old British-born horseman is steeplechase racing’s all-time leading money winning trainer with more than $11 million in earnings – or more than twice those of his closest pursuer.
Probably Sheppard’s most famous runner over the jumps was Augustin’s Flatterer, a steeplechase champion from 1983-86, during which time he swept the 1983 steeplechase Triple Crown – the only horse ever to perform that feat.
Flatterer also won four straight Colonial Cups at Camden, South Carolina, carried 170 pounds to victory in course record time in the 1985 Temple Gwathmey at Belmont Park, and then shouldered a record 176 pounds to victory in the 1986 National Hunt Cup.
A golf tournament to benefit injured Arlington Park jockey Rene Douglas and his family has been scheduled for Monday, July 20, to be held at Indian Lakes Golf Course in Bloomingdale, Illinois.
Douglas, Arlington’s six-time jockey champion and the only rider in Arlington Park history to win four successive jockey titles, was seriously injured in a riding accident at Arlington on May 23.
Celebrity players who have already been scheduled for the tournament include Ronny Bull, Bob Love, Ron Magers of ABC News, Rich Nye, Billy Pierce, and Laffit Pincay, Jr., but that list is expected to grow exponentially.
Among other added incentives at the tournament will be prizes for Beat the Pro, Closest to the Hole, Hole-in-One-Contest, Longest Drive, and Winning Team.
Registration Deadline for the tournament is July 15 at $150 per person, $550 per foursome and $45 for Dinner Only.
Sign In on the day of the tournament will be at 11 am, Tee Off at Noon, Dinner & Silent Auction at 6 pm and Live Auction at 7 pm.
Indian Lakes Golf Course is located at 250 West Schick Road, Bloomingdale, Illinois, 60108.
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