|Arlington Park Stakes advance
Stakes Advance: Washington Park Handicap (Grade II)
MACHO UNO STRONG FAVORITE IN WASHINGTON PARK HANDICAP
Champion to Use Race as Local Prep for Breeders' Cup Classic
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (Sept. 27, 2002) -- Stronach Stable Inc.'s Macho Uno, champion 2-year-old in 2000, will be a prohibitive favorite Sunday when he heads a field of five older horses in the Grade II Washington Park Handicap at Arlington Park. The $400,000 Washington Park, to be run at a mile and three-sixteenths, will serve as the final local prep for the mile and a quarter $4 million Grade I Breeders' Cup Classic to be run here Oct. 26 when the World Thoroughbred Championships come to Chicago for the first time in their 19-year history.
Sunday's Washington Park Handicap, as well as the $150,000 Sea O'Erin Breeders' Cup Mile offered as a second stakes on the Arlington Park program, will be shown live on NBC as part of a 90-minute "NTRA Road to the World Thoroughbred Championships" telecast beginning at 3:30 p.m. Central time.
A 4-year-old son of Holy Bull, Macho Uno burst on the scene late in his freshman campaign and took the Grade I Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs that season en route to earning the 2000 Eclipse Award as the nation's outstanding 2-year-old. His 3-year-old season was marked by injury and he missed the Triple Crown campaign. He returned later in the year to win the Grade III $500,000 Pennsylvania Derby at Philadelphia Park and concluded his sophomore season with a fourth-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Belmont Park last October.
This year, the striking grey/roan horse captured the Grade II $500,000 Massachusetts Handicap at Suffolk Downs in June. Following a fourth-place finish in the Grade I $750,000 Whitney Handicap at Saratoga in August, Macho Uno was sent to Stronach's Adena Springs Farm in Ontario for a brief vacation. After a successful workout at Woodbine Race Course on Sept. 16, he was shipped to Arlington Park to begin preparation for the Breeders' Cup Classic and following a five-furlong drill here Monday, it was decided to use the Washington Park Handicap as his final Classic steppingstone. Trainer Joe Orseno has named Hall-of-Fame jockey Gary Stevens to handle the reins on Macho Uno, who will carry highweight of 119 pounds.
Slated to face Macho Uno Sunday (with jockey and weight assignment) are: Joseph V. Vitello's Tenpins (Robby Albarado, 116 pounds); Glen Hill Farm's Bonus Pack (Jesus Castanon, 115); Flying Column II's Generous Rosi (Jorge Chavez, 115); and William L. Clifton Jr.'s Pleasant Breeze (Rene Douglas, 115).
Tenpins makes his first start since finishing third in the Grade I $750,000 Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs in June. In that mile and an eighth test, the Don Winfree-trained son of Smart Strike set the pace for a half mile. That defeat snapped a six-race win skein that dated back to his maiden victory over this oval in September 2001 and included a victory in the Grade III William D. Schaefer Handicap at Pimlico in May.
Bonus Pack, eighth in the Grade I $1 million Pacific Classic in his last start, is looking for his fifth win of the season in the Washington Park Handicap. The son of 1993 Belmont Stakes winner Colonial Affair tallied in the Grade III $200,000 Dominion Day Handicap at Woodbine Race Course in Canada in July.
Pleasant Breeze comes to Arlington off a three-length victory in allowance company Saratoga Race Course last month. The H. James Bond trainee is three for seven this year with all of his seasonal scores coming in the allowance ranks. However, the 7-year-old son of Pleasant Tap has more than $1.2 million in career earnings having captured the Grade II $500,000 Meadowlands Cup in 1999 and the Grade II Saratoga Breeders' Cup the following year.
Completing the field for the Washington Park Handicap is Generous Rosi. The 7-year-old horse by Generous has not raced since earning a gate-to-wire victory in the $50,000 Buckpasser Handicap here August 3, his lone score this year. Last year, the Niall O'Callaghan charge won the Grade III Turfway Park Fall Championship and then finished second to Aptitude in the Grade I $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park.
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