Arlington International Barn Notes (5/3/15)
Contact: Michael Adolphson
In today's notes:
MILLION WINNER HARDEST CORE AIMS FOR RETURN BID
Rockingham Ranch and Donegal Racing’s Finnegans Wake stamped himself as perhaps the top turf horse in the land with an eye-catching head victory at the wire in the Grade I $500,000 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs on Saturday afternoon. A winner of last year’s Grade III $200,000 Arlington Handicap at Arlington International Racecourse and fifth and fourth in the last two runnings of the Grade I $1 million Arlington Million, the son of 2005 Million winner Powerscourt and his connections will hope to make the third time the charm this August, as he is under serious consideration for a return to Chicagoland.
“It’s absolutely on our radar,” said trainer Peter Miller. “It’s a long ways off still and we have some work to do in between, but as long as he’s healthy and doing well I’d love to take him to Chicago.
“Yesterday was really big for us,” Miller continued. “To get a Grade I, it’s huge for him as a stallion prospect and really just big in a lot of ways. To give Rockingham Ranch their first Grade I, especially with (Rockingham principal Gary Hartunian) only being involved in racing a couple years, is huge. Also, Jerry (Crawford, principal of Donegal) was there with the whole Donegal group on (Kentucky) Derby Day. It was just a really cool win. I couldn’t be happier.”
After last year’s Million, Hartunian purchased a majority interest in the bay horse and turned him over to Miller in California after 22 races over four seasons with Dale Romans. Since, the talented charge has won four graded stakes, while placing second in two others, from seven starts. The Turf Classic win was Finnegans Wake’s first at the top level.
INTERNATIONAL JOCKEY LERMYTE WINS FIRST ARLINGTON RACE
Well-traveled international rider Jerome Lermyte, who has taken up residence in the 2015 Arlington International Racecourse meet’s jockey colony, got his local winning percentage off to a good start when winning one of his first four mounts on Saturday afternoon. Ranging up strongly on the outside with Glockenburg’s Pavel Vashchenko-trained Madam Nancy in upper stretch of the fifth race – a one-mile turf claiming event – his mount was significantly bumped by leader Spring Again, regained balance and finished well for the place. After an objection and stewards’ disqualification, the native of Toulouse, Haut Garonne, France, safely placed one in the win column.
“It feels great. I wish I would have crossed the line first, but it feels really good,” Lermyte said. “I was about to fight for the lead when (Spring Again) hit me. My horse really lost her balance and I was afraid she would stumble, but then she kicked again. She was probably the best; I felt I had a lot of horse. It feels good to get the win out of the way, even if I didn’t cross the line first.”
The soon-to-be 27-year-old has ridden in Germany, Switzerland, Mauritius, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Macau, Singapore, South Korea and Australia – in addition to the United States and his home country. The victory was his second in the U.S. and he now carries a fledgling American record of 15-2-0-1. He is represented by Tim Hanisch.
Multiple graded stakes-winning stalwart Mister Marti Gras – last seen finishing seventh in the $60,000 Challenger Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs – worked a half-mile in :49.40 (24/39) for owner Lothenbach Stables and trainer Chris Block.
Savoy Stable’s stakes-placed turf and synthetic specialist Stormy Pacific worked a half-mile in :48.60 (14/39) for trainer Dale Bennett on Sunday morning.
Afford, who was last seen finishing an ultra-game fourth – beaten only 1 1/4 lengths – in the Grade II $400,000 New Orleans Handicap on Mar. 28, worked a half-mile in :49 flat (16/39) for trainer Greg Geier and the late Jim Tafel.
Savoy Stable’s promising sophomore filly Distorted Type, most recently seventh in the Grade III $200,000 Florida Oaks at Tampa Bay Downs in only her third career start for trainer Dale Bennett, breezed a half-mile in :49 flat (16/39).
Stakes-placed 4-year-old filly Doc Galore, who climbed from $10,000 claiming ranks last September to placing in the $50,000 Third Chance Handicap two starts back for trainer Scott Becker, worked three furlongs in :37.40 for defending champion owner William Stiritz.
Jim Tafel LLC’s graded stakes-placed allowance horse All Stormy worked a half-mile in :48 flat (8/39) for trainer Greg Geier.
Savoy Stable’s stakes-placed sprinter Forest Man, who was last seen finishing an even third in the $75,000 Sophomore Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs in his third career start, breezed four furlongs in :48 flat (8/39) for trainer Dale Bennett.
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