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Arlington Park Stakes advance

Contact: David Zenner (847) 385-7535

Stakes Advance: The Arlington Handicap (Grade III)


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (July 25, 2002) -- California invader Kappa King will share starting high weight of 117 pounds with the Canadian-based Strut the Stage and the locally campaigned Mystery Giver in the $225,000 Arlington Handicap Saturday at Arlington Park.

The Grade III Arlington Handicap is the last local prep for the Grade I Arlington Million and will be run at the Million distance of a mile and a quarter over Arlington's world-renowned turf course. The Arlington Handicap is part of a troika of stakes races that comprise Million Preview Day that also features the running of the Grade III $150,000 Modesty Handicap and the $100,000 Round Table Stakes.

Kappa King, who races in the colors of Tom Tatham, comes to Arlington off a solid third-place finish, beaten less than two lengths, in the Grade II American Handicap at Hollywood Park on July 4. The 5-year-old son of Kingmambo was making only his second start in the United States when he went to post in the American after capturing his domestic debut over the same course five weeks prior. Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel has given the mount aboard Kappa King to Southern California-based reinsman Pat Valenzuela.

Sam-Son Farm's Strut the Stage, beaten only a whisker by Startac over this course in the Grade I Secretariat Stakes as a 3-year-old, returns to Arlington after most recently running sixth in the Grade II Firecracker Breeders' Cup Handicap at Churchill Downs. Prior to the Kentucky race, the 4-year-old son of Theatrical was fourth in the Grade I Manhattan Handicap at Belmont Park on Belmont Stakes Day after capturing the Grade II Dixie Stakes at Pimlico on the Preakness Day undercard. Robby Albarado has been named to ride the Mark Frostad-trained colt.

Illinois-bred Mystery Giver, owned by Team Block, jumps up in class after besting his state-bred rivals in the $90,450 Cardinal Handicap on Prairie State Festival Day June 22. However, the Chris Block-trained son of Dynaformer is no stranger to open company stakes races. This winter in New Orleans, the 4-year-old bay colt won the $150,000 Fair Grounds Breeders' Cup Handicap. Two-time Arlington Park riding champion Mark Guidry will fly in for the day from Saratoga to pilot Mystery Giver.

The top-weighted trio will be joined in the starting gate by (in order of weight assignment with jockey listed): Gary A. Tanaka's Falcon Flight (115 pounds, Rene Douglas); Starlex Farm's Private Son (115, C. H. Marquez Jr.); Gainsborough Farm, Inc.'s Catchy Word (114, Larry Melancon); Richard L. Duchossois' National Anthem (114, Frank Lovato Jr.); Buckram Oak Farm's Tubrok (114, Jesus Castanon); Alan Drey's Bahroba (113, Chris Emigh); and Ron Isbell Jr.'s Gretchen's Star (113, Eusebio Razo Jr.).

Falcon Flight, winner of the Grade III Stars & Stripes Breeders' Cup here last summer, returns to the site of his last victory. The son of Persian Bold has only made two starts since capturing the Stars & Stripes and has not raced since last September 30 when sixth in the Grade I Canadian International at Woodbine. Falcon Flight is trained by Donald Burke II, who earned his first victory as a trainer when Falcon Flight scored here in 2001.

Locally-based Private Son, trained by Sally Schu, turns back in distance after coming up only a neck short at a mile and a half in the Grade III Stars & Stripes Breeders' Cup Turf on July 6. In two other starts this year, the 4-year-old son of Miesque's Son ran second and first in allowance races at Keeneland and Churchill Downs, respectively.

Catchy Word makes only his third start, and first in stakes company, in the United States after campaigning in Great Britain last year. In two domestic races, the Henry Cochran-trained son of Cadeaux Genereux ran second and then first in fourth-level allowance races at Churchill Downs.

National Anthem, fifth in the American Handicap last time out, makes his first local start for trainer Chris Block, who takes over the conditioning of the son of Royal Academy from Hall of Fame trainer Ron McAnally.

Tubrok, winless in three starts this year, finished second, beaten only a head by Catchy Word, in a fourth-level allowance race at Churchill Downs last time out July 6.

Bahroba rallied from far back to finish fifth, beaten only 2 lengths, in the Stars & Stripes after running fourth in allowance company over this oval in June.

Gretchen's Star makes his first foray into stakes company after rattling off successive allowance scores on the turf in Kentucky, most recently winning at Churchill Downs on June 29.

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