|Arlington Park Stakes advance
Contact: David Zenner (847) 385-7535
Stakes Advance: The Hanshin Cup (Grade III)
BONAPAW LIKELY CHOICE IN GRADE III HANSHIN CUP
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (July 18, 2002) -- Bonapaw, who races in the colors of twin-brother owners Jimmy and Dennis Richard, should rule the choice as he heads a field of eight horses entered for Saturday's $100,000 Hanshin Cup at Arlington Park. The grade III race, formerly known as the Equipoise Mile, serves as an exchange race with the Japan Racing Association, which annually presents an Arlington-titled stakes race.
A 6-year-old son of Sabona, Bonapaw comes into the Hanshin after finishing fourth as the odds-on choice in the $150,000 Iowa Sprint Handicap, a race he won last year. In between the two Prairie Meadows runs, Bonapaw annexed the $75,000 Thanksgiving Handicap, the $75,000 Colonel Power Handicap and the $100,000 Taylor's Special Handicap, all at the Fair Grounds before running sixth in the $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen at Nad Al Sheba. The Norman Miller III trainee, who will carry top weight of 121 pounds in the Hanshin, will be ridden by Gerard Melancon.
Slated to face the top weight in the Hanshin (with weight assignment and jockey listed) are: George Maier's X Country (117 pounds, Eusebio Razo Jr.); B. Wayne Hughes' Discreet Hero (116, Shane Laviolette); James Tafel LLC's Binthebest (115, Jon Court); Coast To Coast Racing Fund LLC's Mercenary (115, Frank Lovato Jr.); Steve Knight & Kuehne Racing's Slider (115, Rene Douglas); John C. Oxley's Hero's Tribute (114, Craig Perret); and Murray Smith & Earl Silverman's Proper Man (113, Chris Emigh).
Of these, Discreet Hero is certainly no stranger to the Arlington Park surface. The 4-year-old son of Honour and Glory won the $50,000 Alydar Stakes and the Grade III $125,000 Round Table Stakes in 20-day span here last year. Though winless since his Arlington scores, the Al Stall Jr.-trained colt has been facing stakes competition and finished a good third in the $75,000 Tokyo City Handicap in his last start March 9 at Santa Anita.
X Country returns to the main track after finishing fourth in the $75,000 Independence Day Handicap on the turf at Mountaineer Park. Previously, the son of Muhtafal won the $75,000 Slipton Fell Handicap in June at the West Virginia oval after scoring in an allowance race at Churchill Downs one month earlier.
Binthebest, second in the Grade III Aristides at Churchill Downs last out, is in search of his second win of the year and first-ever stakes victory. His lone 2002 victory came in allowance company at the Louisville racetrack in May. Earlier this year, the son of Binalong finished a good third in the Grade II Churchill Downs Handicap on the Kentucky Derby day undercard.
A winner in eight of 23 starts, Slider looks to rebound after finishing fourth in the Grade III Cornhusker Breeders' Cup Handicap at Prairie Meadows on July 6. Prior to the Iowa race, the Dick Lundy-trained son of Prenup captured money allowance races at Oaklawn Park in February, Keeneland in April and Churchill Downs in May.
Mercenary, unraced since finishing third in the $250,000 Dallas Turf Cup Handicap June 15, ran third in the Grade III Lone Star Park Handicap in May at the Texas oval.
Hero's Tribute, who was on the Triple Crown trail last year, won an allowance race at Churchill Downs June 2. In 2001, the son of Sea Hero captured the Grade II Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont Park.
Completing the lineup for the Hanshin is Proper Man. The 5-year-old Harlan horse is winless this year but ran second in a pair of allowance races at Churchill Downs this spring.
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