|Arlington Park Barn Notes
Contact: Graham Ross
(847) 385-7500 ext. 7319
In today's notes:
Steeplechase Farm's Mandy's Gold returned in good order from her winning effort in Saturday's Grade III Chicago Breeders' Cup Handicap and was doing well Sunday morning, according to trainer Michael Gorham.
"She came back perfect," Gorham said Sunday morning at the Arlington Park stakes barn. "Everything is good. I was very pleased with her race yesterday."
Always well placed in Saturday's $164,440 extended sprint, Mandy's Gold gained the advantage leaving the backstretch and prevailed by a head at the wire. As the odds-on choice of the fans who wagered a total record amount in Illinois for a Belmont Stakes Day program, Mandy's Gold returned $3.40 while touring the seven furlongs in 1:22.86.
"This is the first time I have ever been to Arlington Park," said Gorham, who is based at Delaware Park during the summer months. "The horses got here Tuesday and I flew in Wednesday night. We thought we'd bring these two horses in and take a shot and so far it's worked out for us."
Gorham, who celebrated his 38th birthday Wednesday, opening day at Arlington this season, has Behind The Bluff, a 3-year-old filly he co-owns with John D. Murphy, in Sunday's $45,000 Flawlessly Stakes.
"I'm hoping she's going to be a pretty nice filly on the grass," Gorham said of Behind The Bluff. "She ran an excellent race last time out in non-winners of one other than company and she's raced once on the grass already in her career. I expect her to run well today.
"I'm not sure what our future plans are for either of these fillies," Gorham said. "Actually, there's a few different races that might fit into our plans. We'll ship out Monday morning, but it's quite possible we'll be back later in the season."
Darby Dan Stable & Phillips Racing Partnership's Cat and the Hat, easily second best in Saturday's Grade III Chicago Breeders' Cup Handicap at Arlington Park, was also without problems Sunday morning after finishing only a head behind the winning Mandy's Gold but six lengths to the good of the third-place finisher.
"She's fine today," said an ebullient trainer Carl Nafzger on Arlington's apron during training hours. "In fact, she's on a van back to Churchill Downs right now.
"I don't really know what our plans for her are right now," said Nafzger. "To tell you the truth, we really wanted to see how she'd handle this kind of competition, and I was very pleased with the effort she showed.
"I've been here at Arlington for about a week now," said Nafzger, who will leave an extensive string at the local oval for the session that runs through October 27. "I'm leaving Tuesday, but you'll be seeing me a lot throughout the season."
Jockey E. T. Baird, who is currently second in the Arlington Park standings through the first four days of the season with five wins, one behind leader Rene Douglas, had a riding double on Saturday's program. Baird rode Frank C. Calabrese's North of Six to victory in the second race and returned to the winner's circle with Frosty Stable's Johnna Ray in the ninth event.
Baird finished in a tie for fourth position in the jockey standings at the recently concluded Hawthorne meeting with 16 wins. He is the son of R. L. "Bobby" Baird, whose own riding career encompassed decades of the local track's history.
Jockey Carlos H. Marquez Jr., another son of a former Arlington Park reinsman, also had a riding double Saturday, taking the opener astride Dennis Churilla's Karenz's Brother and the sixth aboard Hernandez Racing Club's Heir.
Jockey Chris Emigh, who tied with Baird for fourth position at the Hawthorne spring session, also posted two wins here Saturday. Emigh took the third with Gary Tussey & Tom Dorris' Carbon Comet and the finale aboard Team Block's Suprise Me Again.
Wayne Catalano, leading trainer at Arlington Park this season after saddling five winners through Saturday's fourth day of the meeting, is a former jockey who rode the first winner of his Arlington Park career 28 years ago tomorrow, on June 10, 1974. Catalano's first local winner came astride Jerrell & Levitch's Think of That.
Jockey Jerry LaSala, a Chicago-area native who has ridden two winners during the first four days of this meeting, one on Thursday and one on Friday, rode the first Arlington Park winner of his career 20 years ago Tuesday. On June 11, 1982, LaSala guided Niko & Weiner's Selling Fever to the winner circle here.
Trainer Frank Kirby was credited with his first winner at Arlington Park 27 years ago Tuesday, on June 11, 1975, when he saddled Shinrone Farm's Doctor Act for a score.
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