Arlington Park Barn Notes (8/27/10)
Contact: Graham Ross
In today's notes:
SNOW TOP MOUNTAIN NOMINATED TO PUCKER UP STAKES
Barbara Hunter’s Snow Top Mountain, adjudged winner of the Grade III Arlington Oaks July 3 over the main track at the northwest Chicago oval, is one of 29 sophomore fillies nominated to the Grade III Pucker Up Stakes to be run over Arlington’s world famous turf course on Labor Day Monday Sept. 6.
The Labor Day feature will be the third and final Monday live racing program conducted at Arlington in 2010 before the local season ends Sept. 26.
In the history of Arlington Park, only two 3-year-old fillies have won the Arlington Oaks over the main track and come back to win the Pucker Up over the grass.
The first one was Arthur Hancock III and Leone Peters’ Ribbon in 1980, conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Harry Trotsek. Six years later, Dan Agnew’s Top Corsage, trained by Jerry Fanning, accomplished that same unusual stakes double.
Since the Arlington Oaks, Snow Top Mountain has made one start, finishing second beaten only a neck in the $70,000 Hat Mosely Stakes over the Saratoga grass course, but went a half-mile over the upstate New York lawn in 51.80 breezing on Wednesday while the “dogs” were well out from the rail.
Tom Proctor trains the homebred daughter of Najran who is out of Hunter’s Storm Cat mare Motokiks. Should the Arlington Oaks winner return to Arlington and win the Pucker Up, Snow Top Mountain would be the first filly to win both races since the local main track was converted to Polytrack in time for the 2007 racing season.
Dundalk 5’s Dundalk Dust, adjudged runner-up in the Arlington Oaks, is also among the 29 Pucker Up nominees.
Last summer’s Pucker Up winner, Nelson McMakin’s Hot Cha Cha, finished second in last Saturday’s Grade I Beverly D. Stakes to Richard Duchossois’ Éclair de Lune.
LIVESAY’S ‘LORD’ HAS LIVELY FUTURE
Like Hall of Fame trainers D. Wayne Lukas and Bob Baffert, longtime locally based conditioner Charlie Livesay began his career as a horseman with Quarter Horses, but that was after his career as a jockey, which he began as a 7-year-old and concluded at 14.
“I got to be 140 pounds at 14 so I had to quit,” said Livesay, born in southwest Kansas but raised in Colorado. “Still, I did win my last race riding a Quarter Horse going 220 yards.”
Now 76, Livesay has never been fortunate enough to have the stock of Lukas or Baffert, but he’s always had a good “hand” on a horse, and it appears he may have found a good one in Cherokee Lord, owned by the Millard Seldin Revocable Trust and the Estate of Hoss Inman.
Bred in Kentucky by the ownership, Cherokee Lord was allowed to go off at 50-1 in last Saturday’s Grade I Secretariat Stakes and made the pace until the furlong grounds before giving way grudgingly in the late stages. Nevertheless, the altered son of Sir Cherokee finished fourth under Julio Felix, beaten just over two lengths for the win.
“When I turned for home I didn’t think anyone was going to get by me,” said Felix in post-race quotes. “A real nice horse beat me today but I think I can get him in the future. (Cherokee Lord) is still learning. He has only run seven times. He’s getting better – like me - but I’m getting older faster.”
Of course, the Secretariat winner was Donegal Racing’s Paddy O’ Prado, who some have dubbed the top turf horse in the country, and others, including jockey Kent Desormeaux, have deemed the best 3-year-old in the country on turf or dirt.
“That race may have been a little too far for him,” said the realistic Livesay when talking about Cherokee Lord less than a week after the 10-furlong Secretariat. “I trained his mama and she went six furlongs in 1:09 for me. This horse’s best distance may be a mile or a mile and a sixteenth, but I don’t really know that because he’s getting better all the time. He still gets all wide-eyed and gets to looking around on me when he runs. I’ve never wanted to put blinkers on him and I still don’t. He’ll get over that habit in time.
“I think this horse might well turn out to be the best horse I’ve ever had,” said Livesay, who began his training career in 1958 after a stint with the rodeo and some time in the Army. “I had a nice horse named Bionic Lover not too long ago, but he never did have the greatest legs in the world.”
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