|Arlington Park Stakes advance
IMPORTS MAY RULE THE ROOST IN ARLINGTON CLASSIC
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (June 26, 2003) -- Irish-bred colts European and Good Day Too add an international flavor to Saturday's renewal of the $175,000 Arlington Classic, presented by Woodford Reserve, a mile and an eighth turf race for 3-year-olds.
The Grade II Arlington Classic is the first leg of Arlington's famed Mid-America Triple which continues with the Grade II $250,000 American Derby, presented by Jack Daniel's at a mile and three-sixteenths on the turf on July 20. The series concludes with the Grade I $400,000 Secretariat Stakes at a mile and a quarter on the grass during the International Festival of Racing on Aug. 16.
European, a recent purchase by Team Valor, will be making his North American debut in the Arlington Classic. The son of Great Commotion was a perfect two-for-two in his native Ireland. He most recently won the Amethyst Stakes over good ground at Leopardstown in his only start as a sophomore. He broke his maiden over turf listed as yielding at The Curragh in June 2002. Now trained by Elliott Walden, European will be ridden by Shane Sellers.
Good Day Too, purchased a short time ago by Ross Gilbert, arrived in the United States on Sunday on the same flight that carried European. Unraced as a 2-year-old, the Danetime colt made his debut at The Curragh in March with a victory over yielding turf in a seven-furlong maiden race. Less than a month later, he ran second in the Leopardstown 2000 Guineas Trial at that Irish racetrack. In his final start overseas, the bay colt was second beaten only a head in the mile and a quarter Silver Stakes at The Curragh.
Good Day Too will race for Irish trainer Tommy Stack in the Classic but will be transferred to the care of locally-based conditioner Chris Block following Saturday's race. Curt Bourque has the mount.
Slated to face the invaders (with jockey listed) are: Coast To Coast Racing Fund's Lone Star Deputy (Shane Laviolette); J. J. Pletcher's Lismore Knight (Rene Douglas); Henry E. Pabst's Ontario (Ray Sibille); Claiborne Farm's Remind (Cornelio Velasquez); Virginia Inman's Distinguishable (Uriel Lopez); Jer-Mar Stable's Scottago (C. H. Marquez Jr.); Oak Crest Farm's Herculated (Frank Lovato Jr.); and Dolphus Morrison's Rapid Proof (Calvin Borel).
Remind ships to Arlington after consecutive second-place finishes behind Senor Swinger in the Grade III Crown Royal American Turf on May 2 at Churchill Downs and the Grade III Jefferson Cup at the Twin Spires oval. The Deputy Minister colt is trained by Hall-of-Fame conditioner Bill Mott.
Lismore Knight returns to stakes action after winning a second-level allowance race at Belmont Park on May 17 in his first start of the year. Last year, the Todd Pletcher-trained son of Woodman won the Grade II Summer Stakes at Woodbine and ran second in the Grade III Generous Stakes at Hollywood Park.
Though winless in five starts this year, the Hal Wiggins-trained Rapid Proof has been competitive in stakes events. The son of Fast Play was just a nose in back of Remind when finishing third in the Jefferson Cup earlier this month and previously ran fourth in the American Turf. Prior to the Churchill races, he was a hard-luck second in the $111,000 Forerunner Stakes at Keeneland.
The local contingent for the Arlington Classic is headed by Herculated, who finished third in the $47,400 Awad Stakes over a sloppy track June 8. The Awad was originally carded for the turf but run on Arlington's main track following heavy rain. The Mike Stidham pupil won his only start on turf, capturing a first-level allowance at about one mile at the Fair Grounds.
Arlington Park -- host to the record-breaking 2002 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships and the Chicago area's premier Thoroughbred racetrack located in Arlington Heights, Ill. -- runs a 104-day meet in 2003 through Saturday, Sept. 27. Arlington Park, whose parent company is Churchill Downs Incorporated (Nasdaq: CHDN), also operates seven off-track, simulcast-wagering facilities: Trackside Arlington Park (Arlington Heights), Trackside Quad City Downs (East Moline), Trackside Chicago, Trackside Rockford, Trackside McHenry, Trackside Waukegan and Longshots featuring Trackside OTB in South Elgin. Information on Arlington Park can be found online at www.arlingtonpark.com.
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