Arlington International Barn Notes (6/28/15)
Contact: Michael Adolphson
In today's notes:
THE PIZZA MAN ‘FULL OF HIMSELF’ HEADING INTO ARLINGTON HANDICAP
Midwest Thoroughbreds’ multiple Illinois-bred champion and Arlington International Racecourse fan favorite The Pizza Man put some of the finishing touches on his preparation for the Grade III $100,000 Arlington Handicap on July 11 at Arlington on Sunday morning, working five furlongs in 1:01.20 at Churchill Downs. Regular rider Florent Geroux flew in for the move.
“He worked on the dirt and he usually doesn’t work that great on it, but as long as he gets something out of it – that’s what matters,” said trainer Roger Brueggemann. “He’s doing really well and his last race didn’t take much out of him. He’s so full of himself, I almost wanted to run him last night in the (Grade II $200,000) Firecracker (Stakes at Churchill), but we’re waiting for the 11th. He’s maturing and getting better as he’s getting older.”
The 6-year-old gelded homebred son of English Channel has been aimed toward the Grade I $1,000,000 Arlington Million – for which the Arlington Handicap is the local prep – since the end of last season. Overall, he has 13 wins – eight of those at Arlington – and eight stakes victories. Last out, he won the $65,000 Opening Verse Stakes at Churchill, handily defeating Firecracker winner Departing. The long-winded bay with the pizza-shaped star had his marquee victory when taking last year’s Listed $400,000 American St. Leger at 1 11/16 miles.
Geroux also flew in to ride his Breeders’ Cup Sprint-winning mount Work All Week. Midwest’s reigning two-time Illinois Horse of the Year and 2014 Eclipse Award champion sprinter blazed a bullet half-mile in :46.40 for Brueggemann.
“He went great,” Brueggemann said afterward. “He’s ready.”
Work All Week races next week in the Grade II $250,000 Smile Sprint at Gulfstream Park – a Breeders’ Cup Sprint ‘Win and You’re In’ event.
OVERHEARD TO SPREAD THE WORD IN MODESTY
Pin Oak Stable’s multiple graded stakes winner Overheard is headed to the Grade III $100,000 Modesty Handicap on July 11 at Arlington International Racecourse, according to trainer Malcolm Pierce. The Woodbine-based daughter of Macho Uno has been working well in the mornings, including a bullet half-mile move at her home Woodbine base on June 20 in :47.40. She worked again on Saturday morning in :48 flat.
“That’s the plan,” Pierce said. “She’s doing well. She and (stablemate) Deceptive Vision are two pretty good fillies and this may be their last season of racing, so we try to separate them as best we can. We are planning on running Deceptive Vision in the (Grade II $200,000) Dance Smartly next week. (Overheard) is a small filly and this also gives her another week, which should be to her advantage. If we are happy with the race over the course, I think it could be a good prep for the (Grade I $700,000) Beverly D.”
Overheard has raced twice in 2015, finishing third last out in the Grade II $200,000 Nassau Stakes – a head behind Deceptive Vision – going a mile and a fourth in a salty conditioned allowance at Keeneland to kick off her season on Apr. 9, also at a mile on the grass. Last year, she won the Dance Smarty at 1 1/8 miles and in 2013 won the Grade III $150,000 Valley View Stakes at Keeneland going 1 1/16 miles to cap off her sophomore season.
Last year, she ended her season with a game third to Arlington darling La Tia in the Grade III $200,000 Athenia Handicap at Belmont Park – beaten only a neck. Overall, the homebred has an impressive career mark of 16-5-5-5 with $510,346 in earnings.
“I don’t have any excuses for the Nassau,” Pierce said. “She got through and made her run up the inside and saved some ground. It was a tough race at Keeneland. I don’t know what her best distance is because she only runs the last three-eighths of a mile and her races aren’t tough on her. We look forward to coming (to Arlington).”
BEVERLY D. RETURN POSSIBLE FOR I’M ALREADY SEXY
Hit the Board Stable’s I’m Already Sexy may take another stab at the Grade I $700,000 Beverly D. on Aug. 15, according to her connections. Already a winner of Arlington International Racecourse’s Grade III Pucker Up Stakes, Grade III Modesty Handicap and Hatoof Stakes over the last two seasons, the Chicago fan favorite expanded her resume on Saturday afternoon when taking the Grade III $100,000 Eatontown Stakes at Monmouth Park for trainer Wayne Catalano.
“She seems to have come out of the race in good order,” said Anna Seitz, principal of Hit the Board. “She ate up and was her usual self.
“I spoke to Wayne and the Beverly D. is definitely possible,” she continued. “We will also look at the (Grade III $150,000) Matchmaker (Stakes at Monmouth on Aug. 2).”
Last year, the dark bay daughter of Ready’s Image was sixth – beaten only 2 1/2 lengths – in the Beverly D. behind five Grade or Group I winners: Euro Charline, Stephanie’s Kitten, Just the Judge, La Tia and Somali Lemonade.
In a 23-race career thus far, the $20,000 Fasig-Tipton October 2011 bargain has won nine races and six stakes for earnings of $633,700. At Arlington, she has won four of her seven attempts.
TIMEADAY AND TIZGORGEOUS TOP PURPLE VIOLET NOMS
Ernest Allen Meadows’ Timeaday and Michael Schroeck’s Tizgorgeous top the nominations for the $50,000-added Purple Violet Stakes at Arlington International Racecourse on July 4 for Illinois-bred 3-year-old fillies. The two stakes winners are among 14 nominees to the one-mile Polytrack event that has been won in the past by the likes of Grade I winner La Tia in 2012 and Grade III winner Summer Mis in 2002.
Tizgorgeous has raced just once in 2015, but it was a strong performance for trainer Richie Scherer. In a high-priced claiming event, she defeated older fillies and mares on the grass at Arlington on May 17 at odds of nearly 20-1. One race prior, the daughter of Tizdejavu was victorious in the $100,000 Debutante Stakes at Hawthorne Race Course on Dec. 13 over dirt. In three starts over the Arlington all-weather surface, the bay filly has a lone win when breaking her maiden by just over eight lengths in a state-bred six-furlong maiden special weight event on Sept. 7.
In contrast, Timeaday has regressed in form in recent starts. After winning on debut at Fairmont Park on Sept. 1, the daughter of Birdbirdistheword won an allowance event at Hawthorne in her third start before annexing the $75,000 Showtime Deb Stakes over the same course – defeating Tizgorgeous in the process. Since, she has just one win in four starts and has failed to hit the board in her last three, including the $50,000 Pretty Jenny Stakes on Apr. 11 as the 9-5 favorite.
Pretty Jenny second- and third-place finishers Hollarforadollar and Scatladybdancing have both nominated to the Purple Violet. Owned by V-Leaf Stables, Richard Ravin and trainer Larry Rivelli, Hollarforadollar made her Polytrack debut a winning one when winning an allowance race at Arlington on May 16 going six furlongs. The daughter of Bring the Heat has yet to finish out of the exacta in four starts, but also has yet to race beyond six panels.
Scatladybdancing, on the other hand, has had ample experience going two turns, having raced credibly in two turf allowances against older fillies and mares during the current Arlington meet. Owned by RNB Racing, the Terrel Gore-trained daughter of Scat Daddy won her debut on dirt at Hawthorne in December and recorded a 90 Equibase Speed Figure last out when finishing fourth to Seeking Luck on May 23 – the co-highest of all nominees.
Two of the more impressive maiden winners at the meet, Oak Rock Racing, Charrywood Racing Stables and Terry Biondo’s Devil’s Rose and Good Times Stable’s Speak Up Sailor, each nominated for their respective connections. Michele Boyce-trained Devil’s Rose was a runaway winner going 6 1/2 furlongs on May 31, while Chris Block-trained Speak Up Sailor easily took her debut heat on May 9 going six furlongs. The latter would return against older foes in a June 6 six-furlong allowance, but faltered late in an effort that appears to be a toss.
LOTS O’ LEX TOPS WORK TAB
Lisa Lex’s Grade III $100,000 Modesty Handicap-bound Lots o’ Lex impressed in her work, going five furlongs in 1:00 flat for trainer Gerry Aschinger and assistant Sandy Adkins. The work was a full second quicker than the next-fastest move.
Grade III $100,000 Arlington Handicap probable Yankee Dealer worked three furlongs in :38 flat for trainer and part-owner Mike Reavis.
Twin Creeks Racing’s stakes-winning turf filly Notte d’Oro worked a half-mile in :49 flat. She is under consideration for both the Grade III $100,000 Modesty Handicap on July 11 and the $100,000 Lady Canterbury at Canterbury Park the same day.
Well-bred graded stakes-winning turf marathoner Dramedy worked six furlongs in a sharp 1:11.80 for trainer Gerry Aschinger, assistant Sandy Adkins and owner John James Revocable Trust. He is confirmed for the Grade III $100,000 Stars and Stripes on July 11.
Tom Fedro and Team Block’s Afortable, who is aiming toward a possible run in the Grade III $100,000 Stars and Stripes – a race that would be his first attempt at a marathon distance – worked seven furlongs in 1:28.60 for trainer Chris Block. He is a three-quarter-brother to last year’s third-place finisher in the Stars and Stripes, Suntracer.
Grade III $100,000 American Derby-bound Nun the Less worked seven furlongs in 1:28.60 for Lothenbach Stables and trainer Chris Block. The same connections’ multiple graded stakes winner Mister Marti Gras got the bullet for the same distance in 1:27 flat.
Margaret Burlingham’s multiple stakes winner Saint Leon returned to the work tab, going five furlongs in 1:02 flat for trainer Michele Boyce.
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