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Arlington Park

Arlington Park Barn Notes (5/30/10)

Contact: Graham Ross
graham.ross@arlingtonpark.com

In today's notes:

STIDHAM SITTING PRETTY FOLLOWING SATURDAY’S STAKES

Darley Stable’s Tizaqueena tiptoed to a two-length tally in Saturday’s Grade III Arlington Matron, and Darley’s Tybalt came running late to clearly gain the place in Saturday’s Grade III Hanshin Cup, a one-two punch that must have added to the ruler of Dubai’s five decade-long love affair with the sport of Thoroughbred racing.

But if Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum was pleased, his Arlington-based trainer Mike Stidham had even more reason to smile, for in addition to sending those two to the post, he also serves as the conditioner of the Argentine-bred Gran Estreno, who finished third in the Hanshin while flying the powder blue-based silks of Feel The Thunder Stable.

“(Saturday) turned out to be a very good day,” said Stidham during training hours Sunday morning. “Everybody ran good, and everybody came back good and all the horses are doing good this morning.”

As an added bonus, although both Saturday’s $150,000 Matron and $100,000 Hanshin were run over Arlington’s Polytrack course, Tizaqueena, Tybalt and Gran Estreno are all equally proficient on grass, which leaves Stidham with a hand of three aces showing.

“We do have a lot of options,” Stidham admitted Sunday, “and plenty of time to decide what we want to do next with all of them. However, I would think that we might want to pursue the same campaign with Tizaqueena that we did last summer, and that would be to take a look at the (Grade III) Modesty and the (Grade I) Beverly D.”

The 54th running of the $200,000 Modesty Handicap, final designed local prep for the Beverly D., will be contested as part of Arlington’s Million Preview Day program July 17, while the Beverly D. will have its 20th renewal Aug. 21 on Arlington Million Day as part of the International Festival of Racing.

Although Tizaqueena stole the show with hobby horse times in the Matron, Tybalt was the victim of a slow early pace in the Hanshin. Like his namesake character from Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” – Tybalt picked his fight – but it was too little, too late.

“He was really rolling at the end,” said jockey Michael Baze of Tybalt’s late run against the victorious Country Flavor in the Hanshin. “The slow pace just didn’t set up well for us.”

Nevertheless, the tractable son of Storm Cat who went wire-to-wire over the main track in his previous start in New Orleans Feb. 27, and won the Ritz Club Handicap over the grass at Newmarket during his British campaign in 2007, may have another Polytrack start in his future.

“The Washington Park Handicap might be something for us to consider down the road,” said Stidham Sunday of Arlington’s Grade III 1 3/16-mile race over the local synthetic surface on Labor Day weekend. “We might also end up pointing Gran Estreno in that direction.”

JOCKEY INEZ KARLSSON ENJOYS MILESTONE SATURDAY

“This is my first win in a graded stakes race,” said an excited Arlington-based jockey Inez Karlsson immediately after guiding Jim Tafel’s Country Flavor to his three quarter-length tally in Saturday’s Grade III Hanshin Cup for trainer Greg Geier.

What she didn’t realize until later was that it was the 400th win of her career.

“When you think about it, 400 wins is really quite a lot for the amount of time I’ve been riding,” said Karlsson. “It makes me realize how hard it would be for anyone to get to 4,000.”

Karlsson also was accomplishing her first “hat trick” of the 2010 Arlington season Saturday with her win aboard Country Flavor, although she had two four-win days last summer.

Earlier in the afternoon she had won the second half of the Daily Double with Lonny Ogus, Joseph Paglini and Vincent Swartz Jr.’s Holy Thursday for conditioner Jimmy DiVito, and then captured the sixth race astride Cottonwood Stables’ Stormy Ballad for trainer Tony Granitz.

GEIER GETTING TO BE KING OF THE HANSHIN CUP

Veteran Arlington trainer Greg Geier, who saddled Jim Tafel’s Country Flavor to win Saturday’s Grade III Hanshin Cup, reported that the horse, the owner and the trainer were all doing well Sunday morning.

“That was a very nice win,” said Geier Sunday. “The owner (Barrington resident Tafel) had just got back in town and was out here yesterday. He was very happy, especially so because this horse is a homebred.”

Geier and Tafel also joined forces to capture the Hanshin two years ago with Coragil Cat, who was ridden by Spanish-born reinsman Diego Sanchez.

Saturday’s Hanshin Cup was also the 16th straight year that the race has served as an exchange race with the Japan Racing Association.

- END -

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