|Arlington Park Barn Notes
Contact: Graham Ross
(847) 385-7500 ext. 7319
In today's notes:
Winstar Farm LLC & Thomas F. Van Meter II's Mr. Mellon, victor by a neck in Saturday's Grade II Arlington Classic, returned to Churchill Downs early Sunday morning but was in fine fettle following his score in the first leg of Arlington Park's Mid-America Triple.
"He came out of the race in excellent fashion," said Shannon Ritter, Arlington Park-based assistant to trainer Elliott Walden. "He ate up everything last night, and he was doing well this morning before he went back to Louisville.
"I was watching the race on one of the monitors on the apron," Ritter said. "I could tell that Rene (jockey Douglas) was very confident in him (Mr. Mellon), so I wasn't worried. You could see that the horse was just pulling him around."
Trainer Wes Hawley, who saddled Jerry Givens & Jack Gullatt's Seainsky to finish a fast closing-third at 56-1, also reported that his colt came out of the race in excellent fashion.
"He ran a good race yesterday and he's doing fantastic today," Hawley said. "He never got to run until about the last eighth of a mile, so I was very pleased with his performance. Considering his lack of seasoning, I was very pleased that he was able to hang in there like he did and keep coming. If he hadn't gotten in a little trouble early, he'd have been right there. I'm not saying he would have won but there would have been a three-horse photo instead of two.
"Obviously, the further the better for him," said Hawley, "so I'm definitely looking at those two races (the Grade II American Derby July 21 and the Grade I Secretariat August 17) coming up. We'll probably give him one or two works before then to see how he's doing. We know he's fit, and he'll run all day long, but as for when he'll work or how far he'll go, that depends on him."
Red-hot apprentice jockey Elvis Trujillo scored his fifth riding triple of the young Arlington Park season Saturday to move within three wins of leading rider and defending jockey champion Rene Douglas, who has visited the winner's circle 26 times through Saturday.
However, Trujillo loses his "bug" -- the five-pound allowance for his apprenticeship -- on July 8, and Harry "The Hat" Hacek, agent for the young Panamanian, was asked if that was a concern.
"I'm not worried at all," said Hacek, who although a native of Chicago has handled a lot of the best riders all over the country during his career. "It's not the weight allowance that's making his horses win, it's the way he positions them. I'm really impressed with the way this kid does that. It's a gift, a natural talent he has, not something that can be taught. I'm very impressed with this young man.
"I've been through this before, with Steve Cauthen and Darrel McHargue," said Hacek, naming two of the top riders he handled when they made the transition from apprentice to journeyman. "Because of their talent, they were never hindered when losing the 'bug,' and this young man won't be, either."
Trujillo's five triples are by far the most of any jockey through the first 19 days of the meeting. Saturday's "hat trick" began with Terry Bruner's Dancing Gamble in the second race of the day, continued with Jerry Hollendorfer's Mona The Snake in the fifth, and concluded with Frank C. Calabrese's Lite Up The Knight in the sixth.
Trujillo, 18, who arrived in Chicago in time for the Arlington season, began his American riding career last November in Southern California. The native of Panama City, Panama, a graduate of the Laffit Pincay Jr. Jockey School in that country, rode successfully in Mexico before trying the Southern California circuit.
Frank C. Calabrese's Golden Antigua, a winner of her last two in a row, is one of the bigger names among 25 fillies and mares nominated to Thursday's $45,000-added Possibly Perfect Stakes at a mile and an eighth on the grass.
In her local bow, contested at that distance but on the main track here June 15, the mare by 1991 Preakness and Belmont Stakes winner Hansel pressed the early pace, took command at the eighth pole and drew clear at the wire.
However, prior to her local bow, Golden Antigua won over the turf course when capturing Hawthorne's $45,000 Nicole Stakes by a half-length when going a mile and a sixteenth.
Sam Pollock's Grey Ballet, a 4-year-old filly trained by Steve Flint who was a creditable fourth last time in an allowance race on grass at Churchill Downs, is also expected to contest the Possibly Perfect.
Trainer Chris Block nominated both Richard L. Duchossois' Applesolutely and Sandbar Farm's Lunar Star to the Possibly Perfect, but only one of those mares will be a starter in Thursday's featured event.
Larry Bielfeldt & Ed Weaver's Salty Farma, who won her last outing June 9 going a mile on the Churchill Downs turf course, is another expected Possibly Perfect participant, as is Russell L. Reineman Stable Inc.'s Lady of Peace.
Regatta Stable's Twilite Tryst, a daughter of Afternoon Deelites who is another coming off a win on the grass at Hawthorne, is also considered likely for the Firecracker Day fixture here.
Those under consideration for the Possibly Perfect include Gary A. Tanaka's Histoire Sainte, Arbaway Farm's Lady Angharad, William S. Farish's Quick Tip and Louis L. Haggin III's Tabadabado.
The world-famous Budweiser Clydesdales, always a crowd favorite among the guests at Chicago's premier Thoroughbred oval, will be making their first appearance of the season at Arlington Park between the races this Saturday, July 6.
Thirty-six years ago tomorrow, on July 1, 1966, Hall of Fame jockey Laffit Pincay Jr. recorded the first American win of his career here at Arlington Park aboard Fred W. Hooper's Teacher's Art. Pincay is now the winningest rider of all time as he moves within striking distance of the unprecedented 10,000-win milestone.
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