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Friday, October 25, 2002
Contact: Notes Team (847) 385-7472/7473
$1 million Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (Grade I)
Banks Hill/Starine -- On the eve of the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, trainer Bobby Frankel expressed confidence with each of his seven contenders.
Banks Hill trotted on the "muddy" main track and Starine walked Frankel's Barn 12 shedrow Friday in advance of Saturday's Filly & Mare Turf.
Frankel reported that "no decision has been made" as to whether defending Filly & Mare Turf champ Banks Hill would run. Throughout the week, Juddmonte Farms' officials have stated that the champion 4yo filly might be scratched if Arlington Park's turf course comes up "soft."
Rain fell at the Arlington Heights racetrack for the second straight day, but forecasts call for clearing skies late Friday and partly cloudy skies Saturday with temperature in the mid 50s. The turf course was labeled "yielding" for Friday's program at Arlington Park.
Meanwhile, Frankel said that Starine would appreciate some moisture in the course.
"She's a superior soft turf horse," Frankel said.
Chopinina -- Chopinina arrived at Arlington Park at 2 a.m. Friday following a long van ride from Woodbine Race Course in Canada.
The gray 4yo filly stretched her legs with a 45-minute stroll around the Barn 1A shedrow later that morning. Trainer Alec Fehr is scheduled to arrive in Chicago on Saturday morning.
Dublino -- The 3yo filly galloped about 1 ¼ miles on turf Friday with exercise rider Nuno Santos.
"She seems to be very keen and was really moving like a deer over that footing," said trainer Laura de Seroux. "I call it squishy. I can hear it on my pony."
De Seroux explained that Dublino was named for a Greek tavern on the island of Syros frequented by French assistant Christopher Musgrave.
Golden Apples -- The 4 yo daughter of the up-and-coming British stallion Pivotal jogged a mile on the main track Friday morning, the exercise putting a broad smile on the face of trainer Ben Cecil.
The prospect of soft turf for Saturday's Filly & Mare Turf is no deterrent to Cecil's enthusiasm, either.
"She'll handle everything. She runs well on anything you put in front of her," Cecil said of the winner of Arlington Park's Beverly D. Stakes during the summer.
The filly arrived Thursday on a Federal Express flight from Cecil's Southern California base, and the trainer said she traveled perfectly.
Cecil expects his three-time Grade I winner to be running mid-pack or a bit farther back until it's time to turn on the gas for the run home in the 1 ¼-mile race. "I think she has a helluva shot. We can use some luck, too.
"She runs her race every time we've run her, and she's as good now as she's ever been."
Patrick Valenzuela, who rode her in her Beverly D. and Yellow Ribbon victories, will be back in the irons for the Saturday date.
Gossamer -- Trainer Luca Cumani supervised the 3yo filly's exercise Friday morning as Gossamer cantered around the turf course.
"The turf is on the soft side of good," Cumani said, "which would be ideal for her."
Gossamer, by Sadler's Wells, will be making her first start at more than a mile in the 1 ¼ mile Filly & Mare Turf. She had been pre-entered in the Mile, but the presence of Rock of Gibraltar in that race was enough to convince Cumani that the filly would be better off in the distaff race.
"If she's ever going to get a mile and a quarter," he said, "it will be over this course."
Islington -- The 3yo filly comes off a strong effort in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, but both jockey Kieren Fallon and trainer Michael Stoute are adopting a "wait and see" attitude toward her start in the Filly & Mare Turf.
The Irish-bred just cantered once around the turf course Friday morning with exercise rider Tracey Thompson aboard.
"She had a tough race in the Arc," Stoute said. "We won't find out if it affected her until crunch time in Saturday's race. With 3-year-old fillies, you never know what's one race too many."
For his part, jockey Fallon said, "She's had a very hard season and she had a very hard race in the Arc. It will be interesting to see how she comes out of that."
Stoute was also watching the skies as rain continued to fall on Arlington Park.
"She's most effective on fast or good ground," the trainer said. "I just hope it doesn't get any softer than it already has."
Kazzia -- Godolphin Racing's Kazzia galloped a mile and a quarter on the main track at Arlington Park Friday, a day after arriving from New York.
Jorge Chavez, who rode the German-bred filly to victory in the Flower Bowl Invitational, has the call Saturday.
"I am very happy with her," trainer Saeed bin Suroor said. "She had the little problem with her foot (an abscess in the left front) over the weekend, but she is fine now."
Bin Suroor, who has saddled two Breeders' Cup winners from 17 starters, is optimistic Kazzia will deliver a good performance Saturday.
"I think the ground should suit her tomorrow," bin Suroor said. "We will check it tomorrow, but it should be like what she raced on in England. I have confidence she will run a big race."
Owsley -- The 4yo filly settled into Arlington Barn 14 Thursday evening an uneventful flight to Chicago from New York. Friday morning, she went out on the muddy track and galloped 1 ¼ miles.
Owsley has won on both firm and yielding courses, so trainer Randy Schulhofer was unconcerned with track conditions Saturday. "She'll run pretty much over anything," he said.
Owsley is named for a county in Kentucky, Schulhofer said. "(Breeder-owner Arthur) Hancock liked to name his horses after counties - like Harlan," Schulhofer said. "There are 120 of them and he's used them all up."
Riskaverse -- Soft ground doesn't seem to bother this 3yo Dynaformer filly, who won the Sands Point at Belmont Park on a yielding course and Keeneland's Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup on a good course this year. In fact, nothing seems to bother her.
"We've been here for 10 days, and we've seen rain, snow, wind, cold and one day, we even saw the sun," said trainer Pat Kelly. "We've taken her all around here - today, she went with the pony - and she seems to really like it here. I'm happy with the way everything is going. Now, it is just up to her to run her race."
Jockey Mark Guidry will ride Riskaverse in the Filly & Mare Turf, breaking from post 1.
Turtle Bow -- The 3yo French-bred filly finally arrived on the Arlington Park scene Friday morning after a van ride from Churchill Downs. The daughter of Turtle Island came from France to run in the Flower Bowl Invitational at Belmont On Sept. 28, then was shipped to Kentucky, where she was under the care of Niall O'Callaghan.
Francois Rohaut, who trains Turtle Bow, arrived at Arlington Thursday night and was awaiting the filly's arrival Friday morning.
"I haven't seen her for a few weeks," Rohaut said. "Since she was running in the Breeders' Cup, we kept her in the U.S. She'll just walk today. She had her final workout on Tuesday (4f in 49 at Churchill).
"I'm happy to see the rain," Rohaut said, clearly in the minority among the group of dripping-wet media. "The softer the going, the better for her. Her best races have come on soft tracks, at Deauville (a victory in the Prix d'Astarte) and at Belmont (a close second in the Flower Bowl)."
Rohaut, who won the Prix Vermeille with another 3yo filly, Pearly Shells, has 90 horses in training at his base at Pau, in southwestern France. He has 80 flat runners, and trains 10 steeplechasers.
"I thought she should have won the race at Belmont," he said. "The rider (Christophe Soumillon) lost his whip in the stretch, but the worst part was she couldn't get to the rail. She was forced to go outside, and that cost her several lengths. She only was beaten by a neck, so I thought she should have won if she had gotten through on the inside."
Zenda -- The 3yo filly who made her U.S. debut at Keeneland on Oct. 12 when she was second in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup, cantered around the main track at Arlington Friday morning.
At Keeneland, she was beaten a neck by Riskaverse over a track that was softened by a day-long rain.
"She likes it a little firmer," said trainer John Gosden. "I really don't want to see the turf here turn too soft."
The English-bred daughter of Zamindar made her best showing of the year in the Poule d'Essai des Pouliches at Longchamp in May, when she beat Firth of Lorne by a length. Regular rider Richard Hughes will be up Saturday.
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Thursday, October 24, 2002
Contact: Notes Team (847) 385-7472/7473
$1 million Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (Grade I)
Banks Hill/Starine -- Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel galloped his Filly & Mare Turf contenders, Banks Hill and Starine, 1 3/8 miles on a "good" main track at Arlington Park on Thursday.
"People keep overlooking Starine," Frankel said. "Just look at her form. She had a break and people forgot about her. The (Ragozin) sheets say she ran a length-and-a-half faster than the winner (Kazzia) because she was wide (a 6+ versus an 8). She ran the best number in her last race and that was the first time I ran her in four or five months."
Frankel hopes the weather holds up for Saturday, but said that the rain which fell in Arlington Heights on Thursday morning won't exactly bother two of his runners.
"If the course comes up soft, I'll be in good shape with two of my horses," Frankel said. "Starine is a superior soft turf horse and Denon is superior, too."
If Arlington's grass course is soft, Juddmonte Farms' officials have stated that defending Filly & Mare Turf champ Banks Hill would likely be declared from the race.
"It's not my decision," Frankel said. "But as of now, it looks like we're going to run."
Chopinina -- Trainer Alec Fehr sent Chopinina through three miles of "exercise" at Woodbine on Thursday morning before boarding a van at 10 a.m. (CDT) to Arlington Race Course for Saturday's Filly & Mare Turf. She is expected to arrive around midnight.
"She galloped one mile, loped another mile, then galloped another mile," Fehr said. "We're good to go."
Chopinina has presented a challenge for Fehr, a 35-year-old who has been training horses at Woodbine since 1994.
"I'm dealing with a horse that absolutely doesn't gallop," Fehr said. "She just refuses. Training her has been quite unconventional. She has an attitude where she decides what she does. There's nothing you can do about it.
"Since I took over her training this year, I've been scratching my head. The entire year, I haven't been able to gallop her one turn around the track successfully. The old trainer (Jerome Meyer) had the same problem.
"And when she works, I have to send her out with two or three different sets of horses to see who she'll pick and choose to go with. Sometimes, she'll work an eighth of a mile and then she'll turn back. I just send in the next set to see if she wants to run with them.
"I know it's all bizarre, but that's why she had three miles of 'exercise' [Thursday]. What she does changes from one minute to the next."
In addition, Chopinina has "fallen in love" with Fehr's stable pony Louie.
"The problem now is that she won't go anywhere without him," Fehr said. "She won't even go to the track without him. And when you're out there, she never wants to leave his side. When we're working, I have to break her off and try to get her encouraged or interested in her competition. When she's done, she rushes back to the pony.
"All of this was very frustrating early in the year before I knew what we were dealing with. When I first got her, I thought she'd be a bum. But she's a nice filly. I had no idea she'd be this good. Nowadays, things just keep moving forward...for now."
Dublino -- The 3yo filly galloped about 1 ¼ miles on the grass Thursday under exercise rider Nuno Santos. Alfredo Garcia is her groom.
"She has been training exceptionally well since she won the Del Mar Oaks (Aug. 24)," said trainer Laura de Seroux. "She leaves from post 4, but I think posts are irrelevant on this grass course at 1 ¼ miles because it is such a long run to the first turn."
Golden Apples -- The morning-line 5-2 favorite for the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf is scheduled to arrive late Thursday afternoon on a flight from Southern California. Her trainer, Ben Cecil, was on the grounds Thursday morning, eager for the arrival of his multiple graded stakes winner.
Golden Apples, owned by Gary Tanaka, comes to the race from victories in Arlington Park's Beverly D. Stakes and Santa Anita Oak Tree's Yellow Ribbon Stakes.
Cecil, a nephew of British training legend Henry Cecil, will be saddling his fourth Breeders' Cup entrant, with a top finish of fourth by Magellan in the 1998 Mile.
Gossamer -- The 3yo daughter of Sadler's Wells, who was entered in the Filly & Mare Turf even though the Mile had been the first preference, cantered 5f on the turf course Thursday morning with regular exercise rider Debra Jones aboard. Clockers gave her credit for a 3f breeze in 39 4/5 over the "good" grass course.
"It was just a light canter, not even a breeze," said trainer Luca Cumani. "I just wanted her to stretch her legs. She's already done all her work at home (Newmarket). She worked around the 'bend' at Newmarket last week to get ready for Arlington."
Cumani was referring to a replica of the Arlington Park turf course turn that was built on the Newmarket gallops to prepare horses for their U.S. debut.
The trainer said that Gossamer, who has never run beyond one mile, was entered in the 1 ¼ mile Filly & Mare Turf to avoid running into strong favorite Rock of Gibraltar, who will seek his eighth straight victory in the Mile.
"If she's ever going to get a mile and a quarter, it will be over this course," Cumani said. "It's on the firm side of good, and that should be to her liking."
Islington -- The 3yo filly, coming off a big effort against colts in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, breezed 3f in 38 over a "good" Arlington turf course Thursday morning with exercise rider Tracey Thompson up. Before going onto the turf track with stablemate Golan, the Irish-bred schooled in the paddock as trainer Michael Stoute watched.
Kieren Fallon, who will ride the filly Saturday, was aboard when she finished fifth in the Arc and when she won the Yorkshire Oaks and Nassau Stakes earlier in the year.
"She's had a very hard season," Fallon said, "and she had a hard race in the Arc. It will be interesting to see how she comes out of the Arc. I rode work on her once since the Arc.
"She's a very good filly," said the jockey, "and I thought she could win the Arc. But things didn't go right for her in that race. There was only one horse in front of her, which didn't suit her. She still ran a great race."
Islington, a daughter of Sadler's Wells, finished fifth in the Arc, two lengths behind winner Marienbard. All her four lifetime victories have come against fillies.
Kazzia -- Godolphin Racing's Kazzia, winner of the Flower Bowl Invitational in her lone U.S. start, arrived Thursday afternoon at Arlington Park from New York.
Kazzia, who is 5-1 on the morning line, will break from post position 12 under Jorge Chavez.
Owsley -- The filly galloped about 1 ½ miles at Belmont Park Thursday and then boarded a plane about 9:30 for a flight to Arlington Park.
"She's doing real good," said Jose Garcia, assistant to trainer Randy Schulhofer.
Riskaverse -- Trainer Pat Kelly waited until she worked on the Arlington turf on Tuesday before confirming her as a candidate for the Filly & Mare Turf. Wednesday, she drew Post 1 with jockey Mark Guidry.
"We brought her here to see how she would come out of the Queen Elizabeth [a neck victory in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland on Oct. 12]," Kelly said. "She's had a great week here and she can really be a handful, like most fillies."
Riskaverse jogged once around Arlington's main track Thursday morning the wrong way with exercise rider Danny Vogt, came back to the barn and continued her playful mood. She immediately tried to run her face in her bedding, even before they could get the tack off her. She finally settled for rubbing her face on the back and shoulders of groom Rosendo Lopez.
"All I can do is keep her happy," Kelly said. "Everything else is up to her."
Turtle Bow -- The 3yo French-bred filly is due to arrive at Arlington Park Friday after a van ride from Churchill Downs. Trainer Francois Rohaut is expected to arrive Friday.
Turtle Bow, a daughter of Turtle Island, made her U.S. debut in the Flower Bowl Invitational at Belmont on Sept. 28, when she ran second to Kazzia. She was then sent to Churchill Downs, where she has been under the care of trainer Niall O'Callaghan for the past three weeks.
Turtle Bow breezed in Kentucky Wednesday, with O'Callaghan reporting she went 4f in 49.
Christophe Soumillon, who has been aboard in her last three starts, will have the mount Saturday.
Zenda -- The 3yo filly coming off a second in the Queen Elizabeth Challenge Cup Stakes at Keeneland on Oct. 12, cantered around the Arlington turf course Thursday morning with exercise rider Paul Matthews aboard.
"I wanted her to canter around the bend at three-quarters speed," said trainer John Gosden. "What the Americans call a 'two-minute lick.' I wanted her to have a feel of the turf, which I judge to be good to firm right now.
"The Keeneland race was her first start in quite awhile, and it poured for 36 hours before the race. She didn't like the soft ground. She likes it just as it is here, and I wouldn't want to see it turn soft."
Regular rider Richard Hughes will be in for the mount on Zenda Saturday. The daughter of Zamindar won the Poule d'Essai des Pouliches at Longchamp in May. Her start before the Queen Elizabeth was a second in the Coronation Stakes on June 21.
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Monday and Tuesday notes
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