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Arlington Park

Arlington Park Barn Notes (6/4/10)

Contact: Graham Ross

In today's notes:


All hail Margo Sutter! She’s the lady who bought a young horse bound for extinction off of the back of a truck a couple of years ago before the vehicle left the country, and that horse rewarded her humanitarian instincts with a paycheck Thursday at Arlington Park.

Ms. Sutter has dedicated herself to rescuing horses for some time, but her aptly named Letdetrumpetblare, who finished third in Arlington’s second race Thursday, was the first horse of the many she has rescued that has actually made it to the races.

Arlington-based trainer Michele Boyce, a friend of Sutter’s for several years who conditions Letdetrumpetblare for Sutter, helped fill in the details of Letdetrumpetblare’s unfortunate early days.

“I think he was either a weanling or a yearling when she bought him off the back of a killer truck as a baby because there was no market for him as a racehorse,” Boyce said. “Her attitude with Letdetrumpetblare was ‘if he can make it to the races – that’s fine – but if not, we can always find a good home for him.’

“Margo is a very dynamic person who been involved with non-profit horse rescue operations for a number of years – making sure that they all find good homes as pleasure horses,” Boyce said, “but this one is the first horse she has owned who was able to make it to the track as a racehorse. He finished fourth in the first start of his career last September here at Arlington. His two races at Hawthorne last winter were unimpressive, but I thought he ran very well yesterday (Thursday) considering his long layoff. Maybe next time he can win and we can all have a big celebration in the winner’s circle.”

Although sending horses to slaughter is now illegal in the United States, the practice is still legal in other parts of North America.

“Mexico, for instance, is a barbaric place when it comes to horse slaughter,” Boyce said. “I don’t know much about what the practices are in Canada, but thanks to Margo, this horse didn’t turn up on somebody’s dinner table in France.”


Thoroughbred racing fans throughout the world know that the 142nd Belmont Stakes – concluding leg of the 2010 Triple Crown and traditionally known as the test of champions – will be run Saturday on the outskirts of New York City.

However, it is entirely possible that more Europeans than American racing fans are aware that also on the Belmont Stakes Day program is the Grade I Woodford Reserve Manhattan Handicap – a major grass race stepping stone to the Grade I Arlington Million, which annually attracts horses from all over the world. This summer’s Million XXVIII will be run Aug. 21 over Arlington’s world famous turf course as the centerpiece event of the Chicago racing season.

Castleton Lyons’ Gio Ponti, who parlayed his score in last year’s Manhattan Handicap to a convincing tally in last summer’s Million, has been established as the 2-1 morning line choice in Saturday’s Manhattan, and is also presently pegged as the long range choice to become the first horse in history to win back-to-back Arlington Millions. However, taking things one step at a time is a rule of thumb in the Sport of Kings.

Jonathan Sheppard’s Just as Well, winner of the 2009 Grade III Arlington Handicap and runner-up behind Gio Ponti in last year’s Million, is likely to be a threat once again in Saturday’s Manhattan. Mr. and Mrs. Bertram Firestone’s Winchester, hero of Arlington’s Grade I Secretariat Stakes in 2008, is also in Saturday’s field, as is Richard Santulli’s Strike a Deal, who returned from a 10-month layoff to capture Pimlico’s Grade II Dixie Stakes on Preakness Day May 15. IEAH Stables and Resolute Group Stables’ Court Vision, winner of the Grade I Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland last fall and most recently second by a neck in Churchill’s Woodford Reserve Turf Classic on Kentucky Derby Day May 1, is also in the Manhattan.

Out on the West Coast Saturday, Bud and Judy Johnston’s Acclamation heads of full field of 12 turf runners in the Grade I Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap, another traditional prep for the Arlington Million to be run over 10 furlongs at Hollywood Park.

Acclamation won Hollywood’s Grade II Jim Murray Memorial Handicap on May 15 over the California grass, but among his challengers in Saturday’s Whittingham are Wildenstein Stable’s Loup Breton, third in Churchill’s Turf Classic, and Lucas Brothers’ Scintillo, fourth in the Jim Murray.


Beginning Sunday, Arlington’s “High 5” wager will be moved to the third from last race every racing day. Until Sunday, Arlington’s $1 wager, in which fans must correctly pick the first five official finishers in each race in their correct order, was offered on the last race of the day.

- END -

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