Arlington Park Barn Notes (5/18/11)
Contact: Graham Ross
In today's notes:
BRITAIN’S BUTLER BREEZES BARRAGE OF STAKES HORSES MID WEEK
British-based trainer Gerard Butler has been a consistent presence in Chicago for a number of summers during Arlington’s International Festival of Racing each August, but this season the 45-year-old Newmarket-based conditioner made his first transatlantic crossing during the 2011 meet on Monday in time to supervise the training of several of his horses slated for Arlington stakes races over the next two weekends.
Headlining the Butler contingent was Michael Deegan’s Pachattack, familiar to Arlington fans for her sixth-place run in last summer’s Grade I Beverly D. despite dwelling at the break. The 5-year-old Pulpit mare breezed seven furlongs in 1:26.60 Wednesday morning under the watchful eye of Butler before galloping out the mile in 1:39.60 under confident handling by Arlington’s leading rider Junior Alvarado.
“That was a super work,” said Arlington head clocker Bobby Belpedio moments after the move. “I got her with splits of 25.40, 37.40, 49.40, 1:02.60 and 1:14.60, and she looked good doing it. She was going real easy.”
Down on the apron during the work, Butler watched her canter by the first time before the mare picked it up at the seven-eighths pole. “She seems to handle the (Polytrack) easily,” said Butler. “I would think the Beverly D. is a long term goal for us again this summer, but in the meantime I think we’d like to run her in the (Grade III) Matron Saturday a week (May 28).”
Following her Beverly D. outing last summer, the chestnut mare ran fifth in Woodbine’s Grade I E. P. Taylor Stakes last October and won the $175,000 Maple Leaf Stakes at that Canadian oval in November. She finished third in her 2011 debut in the Group III Winter Derby in March at Great Britain’s Lingfield over synthetic going and was then ninth over the Newmarket lawn in the Group III Dahlia Stakes May 1 after making the pace over soft ground.
Pachattack wasn’t the only Butler trainee to go over the local course this week. On Tuesday, Butler breezed his 4-year-old filly Akhmatova, owned by Trevor Stewart, five furlongs over the Polytrack with Eddie Perez in the irons.
“She just went an easy five-eighths (in 1:01.60),” said Butler, “but I think I’m going to run her in the (Grade III) Hanshin Cup, this Saturday (against males in Arlington’s first graded stakes of the 2011 season.) She gets in light so I think we’ll try her in that spot.”
The British-bred Akhamatova won her last two 2010 starts in British handicaps and then finished seventh in Deauville’s $68,000 Prix Miss Santamixa in her 2011 debut Jan. 7 when beaten two and a half lengths for the win.
Also breezing Tuesday for Butler was his Irish-bred 3-year-old colt Burj Alzain, owned by Asaad Al Banwan, as well as his other Irish-bred sophomore colt Joe Le Taxi, owned by Mark Johnston Racing. That pair breezed in company, getting a half-mile in 49 flat.
Burj Alzain is entered in an allowance optional claiming test Friday, but is also a possible candidate for the Grade II American Derby on July 9 as the second leg of Arlington’s Mid-America Triple.
Joe Le Taxi is likely to be entered for a race on Sunday.
PRINCEVILLE CONDO POINTING FOR PRAIRIE STATE FESTIVAL JUNE 25
Cherrywood Racing Stable II and Terry Biondo’s Princeville Condo, second by a nose in Arlington’s $100,000 Black Tie Affair Handicap on Prairie State Festival Day last year and then seventh in last summer’s Grade III Arlington Handicap, will be pointed for the upcoming Black Tie Affair Handicap on June 25, according to trainer Michele Boyce.
The 6-year-old Illinois-bred gelding was the winner of Fair Grounds’ $60,000 Diliberto Memorial Handicap in open company in New Orleans in December of 2009 but then suffered throat injuries that required surgery in the Grade III Colonel E. R. Bradley Handicap in his next start.
Princeville Condo returned to competition May 8 at Arlington in his first start since last summer’s Arlington Handicap and finished third beaten a length for all of it.
- END -