|Arlington Park Barn Notes
Contact: Graham Ross
(847) 385-7500 ext. 7319
In today's notes:
Saturday's golden anniversary running of the Grade III Hanshin Cup, a $100,000 one-mile test for 3-year-olds and upward, has eight likely entrants and three possible starters at the present time.
The Hanshin, familiar to seasoned veterans of the Arlington Park scene as the Equipoise Mile, was renamed for the 2000 renewal in honor of the Japan Racing Association, which in turn recognizes Arlington Park with a race named in honor of Chicago's premier Thoroughbred oval.
Heading the list of likely candidates for the 50th renewal of the Hanshin is highweighted Bonapaw, a 6-year-old gelding owned by Jimmy and Dennis Richard. Bonapaw, winner of back-to-back sprint stakes in New Orleans last winter, comes to Arlington from Prairie Meadows, where he finished fourth in the $150,000 Iowa Sprint Handicap at last asking July 4.
Bonapaw will be asked to shoulder racing secretary and handicapper David Bailey's top impost of 121 pounds in the Hanshin.
Next in Bailey's list of Hanshin weights among those considered probable starters is B. Wayne Hughes' Discreet Hero, who has been assigned 116 pounds. Discreet Hero has been idle since last March 9 at Santa Anita, when he was a good third in the $75,000 Tokyo City Handicap at one mile. By Honour and Glory, a winner of the Grade I Metropolitan Handicap as a 3-year-old in 1996, Discreet Hero was victorious at the local oval last July 28 in the Grade III Round Table at nine furlongs. The 4-year-old colt also captured the $50,000 Alydar here at one mile earlier that month.
James Tafel LLC's Binthebest, likely for the Hanshin at 115 pounds, was second in the Grade III Aristides at Churchill Downs in his last start June 29. The Carl Nafzger trainee had won his previous outing at the Twin Spires oval when going three-quarters of a mile.
Coast To Coast Racing Fund LLC's Mercenary, also assigned 115 pounds, comes to Arlington from Lone Star where he was a well-beaten eighth in the $250,000 Dallas Turf Cup Handicap June 15. Before that, however, the son of Roar was third in the Grade III Lone Star Park Handicap on the main track May 27 and had been a good fifth in the Grade III Texas Mile there a month earlier.
A third horse likely for the Hanshin who is assigned 115 pounds is Steve Knight & Kuehne Racing's Slider. Trained by Dick Lundy, Slider comes to the Hanshin from the Grade III Cornhusker Breeders' Cup Handicap July 6 at Prairie Meadows where he finished fourth after making the pace.
John C. Oxley's Hero's Tribute, 114 in the Hanshin, came from off the pace to capture an allowance race at seven furlongs June 2 at Churchill and should appreciate the added distance.
Also likely for the Hanshin at 113 pounds are Gene Voss & Leslie Grimm's Frazee's Folly and Murray Smith & Earl Silverman's Proper Man. Both those invade from Louisville.
Still under consideration for the Hanshin at this time are George Maier's X Country, 117; Cresran LLC's Chindi, 115; and A.A.C. Stable's Secret Romeo, 115.
A crawfish party is a likely happening should Jimmy and Dennis Richard's Bonapaw win Saturday's Grade III Hanshin Cup. Or maybe even if he doesn't.
After all, when the twin brothers from New Orleans -- Big D and Doc -- shipped the only horse they own to Dubai last March the 6-year-old gelding finished sixth, but that didn't stop them and their friends from eating 180 pounds of crawfish they had transported to the desert oval.
"Because we were on the bubble in that race (the Dubai Golden Shaheen at Nad Al Sheba), by the time we got there I only had six days to train him," said Norman Miller III, who goes on the road with the Bonapaw when he leaves the Crescent City. "He needed a little more time to acclimate to that sandy surface, and we weren't allowed to run him in toe grabs."
Bonapaw, who won the $150,000 Iowa Sprint Handicap in 2001, finished fourth in this year's renewal of the July 4 sprint at Prairie Meadows.
"Nobody hooked us last year," said Miller of those America's Birthday outings. "This year a Grade I sprint winner went out with us and we knocked each other out. The homeboys (Thunderhead Farm's Sand Ridge, trained by Don Von Hemel) came from off the pace to win it. The race set up for them."
Bonapaw finished fourth in that last Iowa start, beaten two and a half lengths by Sand Ridge. It was his first start since Dubai.
In his two other starts during the winter in New Orleans, Bonapaw won the $75,000 Colonel Power Handicap January 16 and came back to capture the $100,000 Taylor's Special Handicap February 24 while under the care of regular conditioner Tucker Alonzo who stays in Louisiana throughout the year.
"I'm proud that they asked me to go on the road with him," said Miller, whose grandfather was track superintendent at Hawthorne years ago. "I'm having the time of my life. We may stay here in Chicago for the Arlington Sprint August 24, or it's possible we'll try him on the grass again. He showed he liked it when he won on it during his only start over it when he was still a 3-year-old."
Although Steve Asmussen's Arlington Park barn has been participating since the season began, the nation's top trainer in wins closed out the Lone Star season Sunday in fine fashion by winning a record seven races on that North Texas racetrack's closing day program.
The previous record for trainer wins on a single day at Lone Star was four, established by Asmussen and rival Cole Norman
The 36-year-old Asmussen clinched his fourth straight training title at Lone Star with a record 95 victories. Norman was second with 83 wins.
Lizabeth Gore's Scooter Roach breezed four furlongs on the grass in :50 4/5 Wednesday at Arlington in preparation for his upcoming engagement in Sunday's Grade II American Derby.
Starlex Farm's Private Son breezed five-eighths in 1:06 4/5 over the lawn in advance of the Grade III Arlington Handicap on July 27.
Team Block's Ioya Two worked three-quarters in 1:15 handily on the grass in advance of the Grade III Modesty Handicap July 27.
Team Block's Mystery Giver breezed that same six furlong turf distance in 1:15 2/5 in advance of the Arlington 'Cap, final local prep for the Grade I Arlington Million August 17.
A season-high superfecta of $37,453.40 for a $2 wager was established last Friday.
A season-high pick 3 of $11,120.20 was also recorded on that day.
Friday's band at Miller Lite's Party In The Park is Voices - a modern rock band.
Friday's band at Trackside Arlington's Party On The Patio is The Fairlanes, who play Fifties and Sixties rock.
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