|Arlington Park Barn Notes
Contact: Graham Ross
(847) 385-7500 ext. 7319
In today's notes:
Nine winners in nine races!
Arlington Park linemaker Mike Battaglia celebrated a perfect day Thursday at Chicago's premier Thoroughbred oval when his top program selections in each of the afternoon's nine races earned their predicted victories.
"That was a lot of fun," said an ebullient Battaglia over the phone from Churchill Downs Friday, where the 52-year-old native of Covington, Kentucky, also makes the morning line. "I've been doing this for 30 years now, and I've never swept an entire card before. I don't know if it has ever been done anywhere else on a Thoroughbred program - all I'm going to say for sure that I've never done it before or known or heard of anyone else that has done it before. That was an unbelievable day for me. It really caught me by surprise.
"I watched the first three races at Arlington," said Battaglia, "so I knew I'd won those, but then I got busy down here and I missed the next three. Then I got a chance to watch two more and knew I'd won those, so I went back and checked the results of those I'd missed and realized that I'd picked those winners on top. Then, there was just one race to go, so I watched that and darned if that son of a gun didn't win as well.
"I was pleasantly surprised," Battaglia concluded. "I just wish I'd bet on all of 'em."
Did he bet on any of them?
"Yes, the first three," Battaglia said. "I had the opening daily double, and the first Pick 3 before I got busy down here."
George Todaro, Howard Litt & Jerry Hollendorfer's Cappuchino, winner of the $55,000 Round Table Handicap at Bay Meadows June 9, has arrived at Arlington Park to compete in the Grade II Arlington Classic on June 29 at a mile and a sixteenth over the local lawn.
The 68th running of the Arlington Classic, won in the past by legendary Thoroughbreds such as Alydar and Buckpasser, is the first leg of the Mid-America Triple. The Chicago series is restricted to 3-year-olds and in recent years has been contested entirely on turf. The Mid-America Triple continues with the 88th running of the Grade II American Derby July 21 and concludes with the 26th renewal of the Grade I Secretariat Stakes as part of the International Festival of Racing on Arlington Million Day August 17.
Cappuchino, trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, is a sophomore son of Capote out of the Lyphard mare Tara Roma, and was making his first appearance on grass in his recent Bay Meadows outing. The bay broke in full stride to make the pace and held on willingly to be best by a head.
"He didn't win it easily, but he won it all right," said Hollendorfer. "He has some turf breeding in his pedigree, but that race was the first time we had run him over it. That's why we brought him here, to see how well he does over grass against the kind of horses he'll see in the Classic. If he does well, we'll keep him here for the other races. If not, we'll make other plans.
"I'll probably give him a breeze Sunday or Monday," said Hollendorfer, "and maybe take him over the turf course on Wednesday."
Before switching to the grass in his last outing, Cappuchino had finished second, beaten only a neck in the $150,000 California Derby at Bay Meadows April 13, but was then seventh in the Grade III Lone Star Derby May 11.
Earlier last winter Cappuchino won the $55,000 Golden Bear Stakes at Golden Gate Fields and was second by a nose in the Grade III Golden Gate Derby at that oval.
Hollendorfer, perennially the leading trainer in Northern California, came to Arlington Park on a full-time basis for the first time last season and narrowly bested local conditioner Wayne Catalano for leading trainer honors here.
Catalano, who won the local training title in 2000, is currently leading conditioner this season with 10 wins, but Hollendorfer saddled three winners Thursday -- the first training triple of the season -- to bring his current total to eight wins.
"We had a good day," said Hollendorfer, who celebrated his 53rd birthday earlier this week. "We had some good luck, but we did okay. We try to do what we can on a daily basis -- that's how we work our operation."
One year ago, veteran Arlington Park trainer Gene Cilio won two of the six Prairie State Festival races, capturing the Purple Violet Stakes with Joseph Marovich LLC & Crown's Way Farm's Shemya, and coming right back to saddle R 'n R Breeders' Act of War to win the Springfield Stakes.
Cilio had nominees in five of the six Prairie State Festival races last year, missing representation only in the Lincoln Heritage Handicap when Stamas, Marovich Ent. LLC & Crown's Way Farm's Soccory was forced to the sidelines. "Soccory would have been 8-5 in there," Cilio said regretfully at the time, "but she's out for the year. We had to have surgery done on her to remove two chips from her ankle."
On Saturday, Soccory will get a chance to make amends as the second highweight in the Lincoln Heritage at a mile and a sixteenth over the grass. She is assigned 117 pounds behind Team Block's Ioya Two, the two-time defending champion in the Lincoln Heritage, who shoulders the top impost of 122.
In her last trip to the post May 21 Soccory finished second by a neck in an allowance race on the grass at Hawthorne. The 5-year mare made the pace until the final strides in that one-mile test.
Arlington Park celebrates its second Junior Jockey Club activity on Sunday when Junior Jockey Club members get to meet the jockeys and get their autographs. The first 300 members will be given a free set of jockey goggles for their favorite jockeys to sign. One group of jockeys will be available before the first race from 12-12:30 p.m. A different group of jockeys will be available for autographs after the first race, and a third group after the second race.
Team Block's Ioya Forever, a 3-year-old daughter of Louis Quatorze, broke her maiden at third asking in Thursday's finale at a mile and a sixteenth on the grass. She is a younger half-sister to Ioya Two, the 7-year-old mare who will be attempting her third straight score in Saturday's $75,000 Lincoln Heritage Handicap.
A 2-year-old colt by Louis Quatorze named Three Punch Louie is consigned by Prairie Hill Farms as Hip No. 6 in Saturday's Illinois Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Foundation 2002 Annual Sale of Two-Year-Olds in Training and Horses of Racing Age. The sale will begin at 6:30 p.m. Anyone who buys a 2-year-old Saturday from Prairie Hill Farms with a minimum purchase of $10,000 will also be offered a four-person, two-day pheasant hunt in South Dakota.
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