Arlington International Notes (8/31/14)
Contact: Michael Adolphson
In today's notes:
AVANZARE ‘PLEASED WITH HIMSELF’ AFTER WASHINGTON PARK VICTORY
Donato Lanni and John Youngblood’s Avanzare has exited his victory in Saturday’s $150,000 Washington Park Handicap in great shape, according to his connections. The consistent son of Grand Reward made his first Polytrack start a winning one after eight consecutive runs on the turf, including four wins and three runner-up finishes.
“He came out really well,” reported Lindsay Schultz, assistant to conditioner Tom Proctor. “He ate up and his legs look good. He’s definitely pleased with himself.”
The 4-year-old bay gelding was exiting a tough loss in the Grade III Arlington Handicap, in which he made all the running only to finish fourth – beaten only three-quarters of a length. This time, he held on after setting just as glacial a pace to win by a head at the wire over Hattaash and race favorite Mister Marti Gras in a photo-finish.
The race was also win number 3,500 for jockey Chris Emigh – a 25-year veteran who has called Arlington International Racecourse home for much of his career. Interestingly, Avanzare also gave Proctor a milestone earlier in the year when the trainer landed his 1,000th win.
“(The owners) were really excited,” Schultz continued. “It was definitely a step forward for him – especially to win a graded stakes. From here, we’ll wait and see how he comes out and won’t bring him back too quickly.”
NUN THE LESS A PROMISING JUVENILE FOR BLOCK
Lothenbach Stable’s Chris Block-trained Nun the Less put on a showcase on Saturday afternoon in the opener – seven races before the day’s featured Grade III Washington Park Handicap where his stablemate Mister Marti Gras would go off favored. Making his second start, Nun the Less stalked beautifully in third, 2 1/2 lengths off the lead, and then accelerated like a mature horse to run clear of his rivals by six lengths at the wire. The victory earned him an excellent 88 Equibase Speed Figure.
By Candy Ride – currently the second-leading sire in the country – Nun the Less is out of the Forest Wildcat mare Nunnery and was bred by the famed Claiborne Farm in Kentucky. Nunnery, despite being by a dirt sprinting stallion, was actually a turf router who won the Waya Stakes at Saratoga at 1 3/16 miles as one of her four victories in 10 starts. Most intriguingly is the fact that Nun the Less’ second dam Convent is a full sister to the late, great racehorse and stallion Pulpit.
With such a pedigree, a seven-furlong maiden win under his belt and Block at the training helm, it would be no surprise to see the colt step up in class and trip next out – most likely at Keeneland – but such has not yet been confirmed. One thing is for sure – it was an eye-catching victory from a promising colt and for a very formidable owner/trainer combination.
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