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|Arlington Park Barn Notes (8/28/09)
Contact: Graham Ross
In today's notes:
Fourteen 2-year-old colts and two juvenile geldings have been nominated to the 75th anniversary edition of the Grade III Arlington-Washington Futurity Sept. 5.
The one-turn one-mile extended sprint serves as Arlington’s traditional main event for equine youngsters who might go on to compete in next spring’s Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes.
Heading the list of Futurity nominations is Gold Mark Farm’s Backtalk, the undefeated son of 2004 Kentucky Derby and Preakness hero Smarty Jones. Trained by Tom Amoss, Backtalk won Churchill Downs’ Grade III Bashford Manor July 3 and came back to take down winning honors in Saratoga’s Grade II Sanford at last asking July 30.
The first three finishers in Arlington’s $53,200 Spectacular Bid Stakes on Aug. 8 – Arlington’s final major prep for the local Futurity – are also among those nominated to the upcoming Labor Day weekend event.
Darrell and Evelyn Yates’ Dixie Band was no disappointment to his backers when winning the Spectacular Bid by a length and a half as the even-money choice of the fans, while Oak Crest Farm’s U Appeal to Me proved clearly second best when finishing 2 1/4-lengths to the good of Priscilla Graham’s Turf Melody in that seven-furlong sprint.
One of the more interesting nominations to the Arlington-Washington Futurity is Richard Ravin’s Yesnabay, who broke his maiden July 20 in Scotland by seven lengths over the Ayr grass course.
Also worthy of mention is Bass Seeligson Partnership and Hugh Fitzsimmons’ Oak Motte, another Amoss trainee who came on late to break his maiden by 2 1/4-lengths going three-quarters at Arlington Aug. 8 and should appreciate the added distance of the Futurity.
Twenty-five 2-year-old fillies have been nominated to the 75th anniversary edition of the Grade III Arlington-Washington Lassie Stakes Sept. 5, Arlington’s traditional showcase event for juvenile members of the distaff set.
Nancy Mazzoni’s She Be Wild, undefeated in two starts including a 5 1/4-length tally in Arlington’s $55,400 Top Flight Stakes Aug. 8, appears the headline attraction at this time based on her facile score in the local oval’s final major prep for next week’s Lassie.
Trained by Arlington’s leading conditioner Wayne Catalano, the daughter of Offlee Wild broke her maiden with a 7 1/4-length score at first asking here on May 30.
Powerohm Racing Stables’ Sister Resistor, who made the pace in the Top Flight before weakening to third, and Stan Whisenant’s Gabba Girl, who finished fourth a nose behind Sister Resistor after being forced to take up sharply in that same test, both are prominent among the Lassie nominees.
With a riding double Thursday at Arlington, both accomplished in tandem with leading trainer Wayne Catalano, jockey Ariel Smith is quickly gaining attention this season at Arlington.
Smith captured Thursday’s fourth race aboard Montesano Racing’s My Best Pal Red and came right back to the winner’s circle after the fifth astride R. M. Living Trust’s Prestidigitation for Arlington’s defending trainer champion.
On Wednesday, Smith won his first race this season at Arlington on Lars Becdelamotte’s Rose’s Tiger, also for Catalano.
“Cat has been putting me on live horses,” said Smith of his sudden surge this week. “I rode a lot of nice horses for him the last time I was here three and a half years ago, but since then I’ve been riding in South Florida.”
Smith, 26, born in Hialeah, Florida, is the son of longtime Panamanian-born jockey Alfredo Smith Jr.
Thoroughbred owner Clyde Rice, a highly respected horseman and former trainer who now operates a training center in Ocala, Florida, celebrated two victories 20 minutes apart Thursday – the first at Saratoga and the next at Arlington Park.
Saratoga’s leading trainer Linda Rice, daughter of the owner, saddled City Sneakers to win Saratoga’s seventh race Thursday, while Arlington’s current runner-up trainer Moises Yanez saddled Rice’s Lemon Drop Girl to win Arlington’s fifth less than a half-hour later.
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