|Arlington Park Barn Notes
Contact: Graham Ross
(847) 385-7500 ext. 7319
In today's notes:
Twelve years ago, Irish trainer Dermot Weld made a brief trip to New York to saddle the Irish invader Go and Go in the Belmont Stakes and emerged the victor in the final leg of the Triple Crown.
Two years ago, Weld launched a Chicago invasion with the Kentucky-bred but Irish-campaigned Pine Dance and won the second leg of Arlington Park's Mid-America Triple.
Now Weld, who floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee when he brings a horse across the Atlantic Ocean, is trying again. After becoming the winningest trainer in the history of Ireland in the fall of 2000, Weld has shipped Moyglare Stud's Jazz Beat to Arlington to contest Sunday's Grade II American Derby, presented by Jack Daniel's.
As Arlington's oldest stakes race, the $225,000 American Derby has been won by National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame horses Damascus, Buckpasser, Round Table, Swaps, Native Dancer, Hill Prince, Citation, Alsab, Whirlaway, Black Helen, Cavalcade and Emperor of Norfolk. An even dozen American Derby winners have bronze plaques in Saratoga Springs.
But on Sunday, for the second time in three years, the American Derby cannot overlook the Irish invasion. Jazz Beat, who boxed across the Irish Sea on one ferry, boxed across the English Channel on another, and then flew on an Air France Paris-to-Chicago air charter mid-week, was relaxed and happy as he grazed enthusiastically on the grass outside Arlington's International Barn Saturday morning.
"The boss (Weld) won't send a horse anywhere unless they're very relaxed individuals," said Jeffrey Byrne, Jazz Beat's Irish-born groom and exercise rider who accompanied Jazz Beat on his flight. "Look at him. He's a grand looking individual and he's enjoying his 'pickin.' He loves your grass here. It reminds him of home.
"We had him out for a little canter this morning," said Byrne. "But tomorrow morning I'll just give him a little walk around the shedrow before the race. In his last race (the Group I Budweiser Irish Derby at The Curragh June 30), the ground was a little too soft for him and the distance was a little too far (a mile and a half). But he was right in the midst of them turning for home. I think he'll give a good account of himself tomorrow afternoon."
Interestingly, there is another Thoroughbred 3-year-old named Jazz Beat that was bred in Kentucky. A son of Dixieland Band out of a Forty Niner mare, that bay remains lost at sea while meandering in the Mid-Atlantic region. With four career starts, three at Laurel and one at Monmouth, the American Jazz Beat has yet to visit the winner's circle. But that, figuratively if not literally, is a horse of a different color.
Horizon Stable's Mananan McLir galloped an easy mile and a half Saturday morning in preparation for his engagement in Sunday's American Derby.
The California invader, trained by Wally Dollase, finished fourth in his last trip to the post in the Grade III Cinema Breeders' Cup Handicap at Hollywood Park June 30.
"Everything is good," said groom Panchiano Salazar, as he bathed the Kentucky-bred that began his career in Great Britain. "We had no problems on our trip from California and he's been happy since he got here.
"I like Arlington, too," said Salazar, who was born in Santa Rosa, Guatemala. "It's very pretty here. This is my second trip. I was here a few weeks ago for the Arlington Classic."
Irish Acres Farm's Afleet Buck, who bled when finishing 13th last time in the $90,450 Cardinal Handicap here June 22, will be on Lasix for the first time in Sunday's Grade II American Derby.
"He bled badly in that last race," said trainer Alfonso Razo of the homebred son of Bucksplasher. "He'll be on Lasix this time. I hope it helps, but this is going to be a real, real tough race. However, he's doing good right now.
"Next week we have Colorful Tour going in the Round Table," said Razo. "He's been training very well and I expect him to run really well next week."
The Round Table will be contested next Saturday along with the Grade III Arlington Handicap and the Grade III Modesty Handicap as part of Million Preview Day at Arlington Park on July 27.
The Arlington Handicap is the final local prep for the Grade I Arlington Million, while the Modesty fulfills that same capacity for the Grade I Beverly D., sister race to the Million as part of Arlington's one-day International Festival of Racing on that day.
The final local prep for the Grade I Secretariat, also part of the International Festival of Racing and final leg of the Mid-America Triple, is Sunday's Grade II American Derby.
Veteran jockey Duane Salvino, who captured the second half of Friday's daily double at Arlington Park aboard Tom Swearingen Racing Stable, Peter Abruzzo & Greco Racing's Supreme Cream, was visiting the winner's circle at Chicago's premier Thoroughbred oval for the first time in 17 years.
Although a Chicago native, the 39-year-old Salvino still has his home in Kansas, where his wife and four children reside. Salvino has ridden at racetracks in America's Heartland for much of his career, but began it galloping horses locally for his father, former trainer Terry Salvino. The elder Salvino still lives in Chicagoland and is now booking engagements for his son.
"Dad told me Duane called home all excited last night to tell us he'd won," said Michele Salvino, Duane's sister and a member of Arlington racing secretary David Bailey's staff this year. "Of course, my father already knew. He'd watched the race."
Duane Salvino rode his first race at 16, and won his first race at Arlington in 1979.
Thirty-seven years ago tomorrow, on July 21, 1965, apprentice jockey Earlie Fires recorded his first Arlington win, capturing the second race astride Mrs. W. E. Morgan's Rundan for trainer John Morgan. Fires was inducted into the National Museum and Racing Hall of Fame at Saratoga last August 7, and is Arlington's all-time leading rider with 2,686 wins through Friday.
Leading rider Rene Douglas and Elvis Trujillo, his closest pursuer nine wins behind, both had riding doubles on Friday's program.
Fifty-three years ago tomorrow, on July 21, 1949, four-time Arlington Park riding champion Steve Brooks, also a member of the National Museum and Racing Hall of Fame at Saratoga, booted home five winners from seven mounts on the eight-race card.
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