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Friday, October 25, 2002
Contact: Notes Team (847) 385-7472/7473
$2 Million John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (Grade I)
Ballingarry -- The 3yo colt galloped 1 ¼ miles on turf under exercise rider Jeff Ford for the John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf. "He really loved it," said trainer Laura de Seroux, who watched from a stable pony. "I had both him and Dublino pick it up and stretch their legs."
De Seroux has only seen Ballingarry in the flesh since he cleared quarantine Wednesday after arriving from France Monday night. "He does everything right," said de Seroux, impressed at what a fast learner he is.
"He adapted to the American style right away. He's learned how to jog the wrong way around the track. Horses gallop by, and nothing bothers him."
Denon -- On the eve of the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, trainer Bobby Frankel expressed confidence in each of his seven contenders.
Turf entrant Denon walked Frankel's Barn 12 shedrow at Arlington on Friday morning.
"It's been a good year," Frankel said. "All of them are coming up to their races the way I like them to. I can't make any excuses. They're all doing great."
Frankel said Denon galloped so strong Thursday, he decided to walk the 4yo Friday.
"He'll appreciate the ground when he can cut into it," Frankel said. "He's doing super."
Edgar Prado, who collected his first Triple Crown victory when Sarava was a 70-1 upset winner in this year's Belmont Stakes, seeks his first Breeders' Cup win Saturday.
Falcon Flight -- The 6yo horse walked shedrow with groom Julio Roca Friday after arriving on a Federal Express flight Thursday night from California with the groom and trainer Donald Burke II.
"We got in about 8 p.m. and he ate up really fast," said Burke. "He's ready to go."
Burke took a close look at the wet turf course. "It will be a little soft, which won't hurt him," said Burke. "But he runs on anything. The condition of the course won't make any difference."
Falcon Flight, the only horse in the lineup with any experience over this course, has run well over it in the past under different conditions with two victories in three starts.
He won the Stars and Stripes Breeders' Cup Handicap over a firm course in 2001 and captured the Arlington Handicap over a yielding course this July. He returned to finish a close fifth despite bad racing luck in the Arlington Million in August.
Golan -- With exercise rider Roy Carter in the irons, the 4yo colt just cantered around the turf course Friday morning. The Irish-bred worked 3f in 38 Thursday morning over the grass.
"He runs on any kind of ground," trainer Michael Stoute said. "The rider thought the going was on the soft side of good. We're going to walk the course later to find out what it's like."
Jockey Kieren Fallon joined Stoute in his walk around the Arlington course.
Golan, a son of Spectrum, has not run since he was second in the Juddmonte International at York on Aug. 20, and that was only his second start of the year.
"He's had a very light campaign," Stoute said. "The plan is to send him for the Japan Cup (Golan finished 6th last year in Tokyo), but he has to get over this hurdle first."
High Chaparral -- The Aidan O'Brien-trained 3yo son of Sadler's Wells went to the turf track Friday morning to canter on the surface he will race over Saturday. Stable rider Michael Kinane has the mount.
"Our horses have hit form at the right time and I have two exceptional rides in High Chaparral and Rock of Gibraltar," Kinane said. "This little bit of rain has taken a bit of the sting out of the turf and I don't think we'd be complaining too much about that. The Turf is a small field now and Golan is definitely a fresh horse. I've seen Sir Michael (Stoute, Golan's trainer) here and he has a little bounce in his step...he's a dangerous man when he has a bounce in his step. My fellow was a little bit lethargic in the Arc and we just have to hope he'll bounce forward out of it.
"This is as good as it gets and why Coolmore are in it. They put plenty (of money) out and they need to get a few stallions coming back every year. But also they're very enthusiastic and get great enjoyment out of it. It's an enviable group of horses we've got so you're entitled to be a bit excited about what's coming up tomorrow. The pressure is there, but if you're afraid of it you don't do your job well. I'm fully prepared."
Perfect Soul -- Trainer Roger Attfield, who nearly won the 1990 Turf when With Approval finished second to In The Wings, readily admits that Perfect Soul is taking a big step forward in this year's renewal of the 1 ½-mile turf marathon.
"It's a big step up for him," Attfield said. "I know the horse has a tremendous amount of ability and I think he'll make a great 5-year-old."
The 4yo son of Sadler's Wells is the most lightly raced colt in the Turf with three wins from just five starts. His debut didn't come until June.
"I'm not sure when he came over from Ireland, but as a 2-year-old, he was on the West Coast with Bob Baffert," Attfield said. "I believe they had a lot of problems. He's always been an immature horse anyway. They had some shin problems with him and he fractured a cannon bone, which required screws. The screws were removed and he went to an Ocala farm.
"I picked him up from the Ocala farm in February and took him to my winter base at the Payson Park Training Center in Florida. He wasn't ready to run until June."
Following victories in each of his first three races, Perfect Soul tested stakes competition at his Woodbine base and finished second in the Niagara Breeders' Cup Handicap and fourth in the Canadian International - both Grade I events.
Owner Charles Fipke hopes Perfect Soul is another diamond in the rough. The Vancouver native, along with Dr. Stewart Blusson, started the largest mineral staking rush in North American history in 1992 when he discovered a diamond mine northeast of Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories of Canada. The Ekati Mine is considered to be one of the world's largest and Canada's only diamond mine.
Perfect Soul finished his Breeders' Cup preparations Friday, with a 1 ½-mile gallop over Arlington Park's turf course under exercise rider Paul O'Sullivan.
"It's not that soft," O'Sullivan said. "Now we were on the outside of the course, but I'd say the course is on the firm to good side."
The Tin Man -- The 4yo gelding galloped 1 ½ miles on the main track with exercise rider Paul Nilluang.
Trainer Richard Mandella repeated that he was not sure how the son of Affirmed would handle "off" turf for the first time.
Mandella won the Turf in 1993 with Kotashaan en route to Horse of the Year honors.
With Anticipation -- With Anticipation arrived at Arlington Park on Thursday evening following a private van ride from Saratoga Race Course in upstate New York. The veteran 7yo gelding was bedded down in Barn 16 Friday morning on the eve of his second encounter in the Turf. He finished seventh last year.
Trainer Jonathan Sheppard realizes that this year's renewal won't be easy either.
"The logical ones, High Chaparral and Golan, are the ones to beat," Sheppard said. "Denon, of course, is tough, too. He's coming into the race well and if there's a cut in the ground, he'll appreciate that. The two races prior to our meeting in the Turf Classic (the United Nations Handicap and Sword Dancer), there was very little to choose between us. He's a nice horse.
"Let's face it, you can't count any of these out at this level. There's not a lot of depth to the race, but they're all very solid horses."
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Thursday, October 24, 2002
Contact: Notes Team (847) 385-7472/7473
$2 Million John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (Grade I)
Ballingarry -- The 3yo colt, who cleared quarantine Wednesday after arriving from France Monday night, had his first look at the turf course Thursday morning for the John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf. He galloped about 1 ¼ miles under exercise rider Jeff Ford.
"I was very impressed with him," said trainer Laura de Seroux, who saw the colt in the flesh for the first time in the quarantine barn after he was purchased privately following a victory in the Canadian International Championship Sept. 29 at Woodbine and returned to Europe.
"I was delighted with the way he handled himself; he didn't flinch," said de Seroux. "He's a typical elegant tall 'scopy' Sadler's Wells horse.
"Although it was raining this morning, I don't expect the turf course to be horrible," added de Seroux. "I like his post position (2). The speed is on the far outside and he should be able to cut the corner on the first turn."
Ballingarry is owned by a partnership headed by 91-year-old Chicagoan Sid Port, whom de Seroux associates with previous good luck at Arlington. "I was with Charlie Whittingham when he won the Beverly D. here with Claire Marine for Mr. Port (in 1989)," said de Seroux.
Jeff Ford and Etienne Drion collaborate on groom duties for the colt.
Denon -- Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel galloped his Turf contender Denon 1 3/8 miles on a "good" main track at Arlington Park on Thursday.
"He galloped really good," Frankel said. "I don't know how he feels, but he sure looks very good. He really looked super out there. Unbelievable. In fact, I might not even gallop him [Friday] he's so strong."
Frankel had a visitor drop by his Barn 12 Thursday - old friend Gary Jones, the retired trainer who started 12 horses in the Breeders' Cup. Jones participants included Turkoman (third in the 1985 Classic and runner-up as the favorite the following year), Meafara (second in the 1993 Sprint) and Lakeway (third in the 1995 Distaff).
"You're living my dream," Jones said. "I keep looking at these names you're training for and it keeps amazing me. It took a long time to get there."
"Yeah," Frankel said, who dominated claiming races in New York and California in the 1970s. "All of those claiming races you win don't mean anything."
"At least we figured that out early on," Jones said. "You've got to do it with good horses, don't you?"
"Yeah, you do it with the good horses and then they'll come," Frankel said. "They don't trust you until you get some good horses and win some big races. Juddmonte helped me because they gave me good horses early on. The other people came along later."
"In my opinion, Juddmonte has got the best operation out there," Jones said.
"They've got some unbelievable fillies, huh?"
"I think it's good to start as a claiming trainer," Jones said. "You get a good feeling for a horse. You just don't want to get caught in a rut and labeled a 'claiming trainer.'"
"Yeah, some of those guys think it's all about being leading trainer and winning races," Frankel said. "Meanwhile, we're just trying to be the top money winner."
Jones was in town to accept the Mr. Fitz Award presented Wednesday night by the National Turf Writers Association to his friend, retired jockey Chris McCarron. McCarron was unable to attend because he is currently filming scenes for the movie "Seabiscuit."
Falcon Flight -- The 6yo gelding was scheduled to arrive at the track around 8 p.m. Thursday after an Federal Express flight from California. Based at Hollywood Park, he worked 4f on the turf Wednesday at Santa Anita.
A candidate for the "horses for courses" longshot in the race, Falcon Flight has won twice in three stakes starts over the Arlington turf course while none of his seven rivals has raced over it.
Golan -- The 4yo Irish-bred colt breezed 3f in 38 over the Arlington turf course Thursday morning with jockey Kieren Fallon aboard.
Installed as second choice at 3-1 on the morning line for the Turf, the son of Spectrum went around the turf course under the watchful eye of trainer Michael Stoute after schooling in the paddock.
Fallon said he was impressed by how Golan is coming up to the race.
"He's trained very well," said the rider, who partnered Golan to victory in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot in July. "He's had an easy year (just two starts) coming up to this, and he's got a nice draw in the middle of the field (Post 4)."
Golan was beaten a half-length in the Juddmonte International Stakes in his most recent start on Aug. 20.
"I think he's got it together better now than in the Juddmonte," Fallon said. "There wasn't much pace in that race and that didn't suit him at all. I think he's in good form now."
High Chaparral -- Trainer Aidan O'Brien's runner in the Turf remained in his stall Thursday morning awaiting USDA approval of his blood tests. O'Brien plans to canter the 3yo son of Sadler's Wells Friday morning.
"We're very happy with him," O'Brien commented. "He didn't lose much weight after the Arc so he was fairly fit, but I probably hadn't got him sharp enough. Mick (Kinane) said he was very relaxed through the race but they just quickened on him and went away. He was closing on them down to the line, but I probably just hadn't got him mentally sharp enough on the day. He was doing plenty of work to get him fit before the Arc but he was getting very relaxed because it probably wasn't competitive enough for him.
"He's been good since and, like the others, you just hope he's come forward. He seems very alert now, very sharp, and all the horses have come forward for their runs, so we're hopeful. The plan had been to give him a prep before the Arc but after he got sick, we couldn't."
Perfect Soul -- Perfect Soul arrived at Arlington Park at 7 a.m. Thursday following a long van ride from Canada, exercise rider Paul O'Sullivan reported. The 4yo colt stretched his legs and got familiar with his new surroundings at Barn 1A by walking the shedrow.
"We were due in about five o'clock, but we were held up at the border for a few hours," O'Sullivan said. "We'll take him to the track [Friday].
"He's a nice horse, but he's just four years old. He never ran at three, and he's green. He's still a goof and has fun. It's a huge step for him, but if the ground comes up soft, he'll like that."
Trainer Roger Attfield is due to arrive Thursday afternoon.
The Tin Man -- Asked how the 4yo gelding might respond to an "off" turf course for the first time in his career, trainer Richard Mandella replied with typical candor. "Coming from California, I have no idea," said the Hall of Famer. "Who knows? He may even be better on it."
The Affirmed gelding, who has won six of 11 starts on firm California courses, galloped about 1 3/8 miles on the main track under exercise rider Paul Nilluang Thursday.
Mandella did not think the outside post in a field of eight will create any problem. "I think he will be on the lead," said Mandella. 'It's just a matter of whether he can do it or not."
Mandella has enjoyed his share of success on the Arlington turf. He won the 1990 Beverly D. with Reluctant Guest in 1:53 1/5, which still stands for a course record for 1 3/16 miles on turf. He has also placed four times in the Arlington Million: Sandpit was second in 1995 and 1997 and third in 1996; Redattore finished third in 2001.
Felipe Pulido is The Tin Man's groom.
With Anticipation -- Following his 6f workout in 1:14 2/5 at Saratoga Race Course on Wednesday, With Anticipation walked trainer Jonathan Sheppard's shedrow Thursday morning then boarded a private van to be transported to Arlington Park.
"He's all set," Sheppard said.
The five-time Grade I winner, traveling with exercise rider Kate Fitzpatrick, is due to arrive in Chicago around 8 p.m. He will be stabled in Barn 16.
With Anticipation, seventh at odds of 7-2 in last year's Turf, rattled off three consecutive Grade I wins before finishing a curious sixth in the Turf Classic Invitational at Belmont Park on Sept. 29.
"Obviously his last race was a puzzling race," Sheppard said. "It was not his true form. The horse didn't appear at all distressed after the race; he wasn't even really blowing that much.
"Was it that he didn't like the soft ground that day, was it that he was jostled around turning for home or was it that he just had an off day for reasons best known to himself? We don't know. Maybe it was a combination of those things.
"Pat Day didn't think that the jostling had that much to do with it, but I kind of thought it did. It seemed to me that occurred during a critical part of the race when he was just asking him to go. He got sandwiched a little bit. Knowing the horse and his temperament, he might have just said, 'Ah, to heck with this.'"
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Monday and Tuesday notes
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