Arlington Park Barn Notes (5/27/10)
Contact: Graham Ross
In today's notes:
EUPHONY SEEKS 2ND STRAIGHT SCORE IN ARLINGTON MATRON SATURDAY
It’s been 35 years since any member of the distaff set captured the prestigious Grade III Arlington Matron in two successive seasons, but that’s what Pin Oak Stable’s Euphony will be trying to do Saturday when she attempts to duplicate the feat of Sixty Sails.
Also, there was a 14-year gap separating trainer Donnie K. Von Hemel’s Matron victory last year here with Euphony from the time he saddled Thunderhead Farms’ Mariah’s Storm for her Matron win in 1995, and even more surprisingly, no trainer has saddled two successive winners of Arlington’s filly and mare fixture since Ivan Parke saddled Harbor View Farm’s Swinging Mood to win two straight Matrons in 1966 and 1967. (Sixty Sails had two different trainers.)
Despite that history, the Von Hemel-trained Euphony has been established as the 9-2 second choice in the morning line for Saturday’s Matron, and the 48-year-old Kansas-born conditioner evaluated his mare’s chances Thursday morning during training hours.
“In her last race she was not as consistent as she always had been,” said Von Hemel, speaking of Oaklawn’s $100,000 Bayakoa Stakes on April 7, “but you could tell going into the first turn she wasn’t herself. It was a particularly flat effort for her, and I don’t really know why, but she’s trained well since then, and she usually likes any surface she runs over, including the Polytrack here.”
In the winter of 2009, Euphony won the Bayakoa prior to her Matron score.
Von Hemel will also saddle Robert Zoeller’s Peach Brew in the Matron, but she has been installed at 15-1 in the morning line.
“She’s had a couple of outs this year,” said Von Hemel of Peach Brew’s fifth-place finish in Hawthorne’s Grade III Sixty Sails Handicap at first asking April 17, and her fourth-place effort in $80,000 allowance optional claiming company May 9, “and I think she’s ready for a good effort. Also, the mile and an eighth distance Saturday doesn’t hurt her chances. She won the (Grade III) Arlington Oaks last summer at that distance.”
MATRON LONGSHOT SOUPER MISS ON THE OUTSIDE LOOKING IN
Owner Robert Ackerman and trainer Mickey Goldfine enjoyed success together racing the highly regarded 3-year-old Senor Swinger in the early part of 2003, and took advantage of that horse’s promise to sell the sophomore to Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert and the ownership of Robert and Beverly Lewis while the colt had optimal value.
Their 5-year-old mare Souper Miss, scheduled to start in Saturday’s Grade III Arlington Matron, also showed a lot of promise as a youngster, but shortly after finishing third in 2008 Purple Violet here, she wheeled and threw her rider during training hours here, skidded on the pavement outside Barn 9 while loose, and seriously injured both stifles.
After more than a year on the sidelines, Souper Miss appears to have gotten her groove back, winning her last four straight including Hawthorne’s Peach Of It Handicap April 24.
“She’s doing real well right now but she doesn’t have a good post position Saturday,” said Goldfine Thursday morning. “We’re concerned about getting caught out wide going into the first turn and we hope she can work her way in before that. Timmy (Thornton) is a good rider. We just hope he doesn’t have to ask her for too much early. We think she deserves a shot in this race, but that outside post certainly doesn’t help.”
Goldfine, 57, has been training on his own for 15 years but served as an assistant for his father, the revered Arlington trainer Lou Goldfine, for many years before his retirement.
Lou Goldfine retired in 1997 with 575 career victories at Arlington, and is in sixth position on Arlington’s all-time leading trainers list. He is enjoying his retirement in South Florida where he has a condominium that overlooks the race track at Gulfstream Park.
Mickey Goldfine and the entire Goldfine family flew to South Florida earlier this month to help Lou celebrate his 90th birthday May 16.
BRAZILIAN-BRED ‘PRINCESS’ TRYING TO REGAIN SOUTH AMERICAN FORM
Brazilian-bred Celtic Princess, owned and bred by Coudelaria Jessica in her native land, won the Group I Margarida Polak Lara and the Group I Linneo de Paula Machado at Hipodromo da Gávea, but she hasn’t won in her last four American starts – all over American grass in 2010.
However, she did finish second by a neck in her first start over the Polytrack at Turfway Dec. 5 in the $50,000 My Charmer Stakes, and she worked a bullet five-eighths in 58 flat handily over Keeneland’s Polytrack May 20 in anticipation of her start in Saturday’s Matron.
“She seems to negotiate the tighter turns here better when she races on Polytrack,” said trainer Eduardo Caramori Thursday morning. “For awhile, we had no expectations for her in this country, but now suddenly, we do.”
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