|Arlington Park Barn Notes
Contact: Graham Ross
(847) 385-7500 ext. 7319
In today's notes:
Many have already gone, but most will return among those involved in Saturday's Million Preview Day at Arlington Park, and there were no reported problems among the equine contestants in any of the three stakes events.
Horses who shipped to Chicago for Million Preview Day as well as those who were stabled locally all apparently emerged unscathed. Several of those who used Saturday's stakes as a prep for the International Festival of Racing August 17 remain on schedule for the traditional showcase events of the Windy City Thoroughbred season.
Ladies first, of course, and the First Lady at Arlington this weekend was Edouard de Rothschild's England's Legend. The French-bred used her winning effort in Saturday's Grade III Modesty Handicap as her final local prep for the upcoming Grade I Beverly D., Arlington's $700,000 main event for fillies and mares.
"She'll be fine," said Nicholas Bachalard, an assistant to trainer Christophe Clement of England's Legend. "I've got a flight out of town in a couple of hours," he said moments after Saturday's Modesty, "and she'll leave by van for Saratoga tomorrow (Sunday), but she came back fine and she should be in good shape tomorrow. She likes this course and this was a good place to get her ready for the Beverly D."
As the defending champion in the Beverly D., England's Legend is now in a position to become the first two-time winner of the sister race to the Arlington Million as well as the first to win the Modesty and the Beverly D. in the same season.
William S. Farish's Quick Tip, clearly second best in Saturday's Modesty, left Arlington early Sunday, apparently in good order.
"Quick Tip ran a huge race," said Lenny Pike, who serves as agent for Quick Tip's jockey Robby Albarado on Sunday. "Her only problem was that nobody ran with the winner doing the first part of it."
Richard L. Duchossois' Innit, third in Saturday's Modesty, also returned in good order, trainer Chris Block indicated Sunday morning.
"She ran a good race," said Block, "and she came back fine and is doing well today."
Block also started Team Block's Ioya Two in the Modesty, and that 7-year-old mare, who won last year's Modesty, also came out of the race well.
"She's just not quite the same as she was last year," said Block of Ioya Two. "It may be time to retire her. I'll have to talk it over with my dad, but I suspect she's just lost a step now that she's a year older."
Gary A. Tanaka's Polaire, fifth in Saturday's Modesty, shipped out early Sunday, but trainer Donald J. Burke II had indicated before Saturday's Modesty that Polaire was unlikely for the Beverly D.
Gary A. Tanaka's Falcon Flight, hero of Saturday's Grade III Arlington Handicap and last year's Grade III Stars and Stripes Breeders' Cup Turf here, left Arlington Park early Sunday morning on a return trip to California. However, his status for the Grade I Arlington Million August 17 remains uncertain.
"If he comes out of this race in good and thrives, and underscore thrives, I'll consider the Million," Burke said in winner's circle ceremonies following Saturday's Arlington 'Cap. "He will have to come out of the race better than he went into it. When a horse runs as hard as he did in this race they can run badly in the next one."
Tom Tatham's Kappa King, second in Saturday's Arlington 'Cap, came out of the race without problems, according to Pam Fitzgerald, an assistant to trainer Al Stall Jr. Although Kappa King is trained by Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel, the horse was stabled locally in Stall's barn.
"The groom (Demetrio Lagunas) went back to California and the horse is going to New York," said Fitzgerald. "He's fine."
Ron Isbell Jr., owner and trainer of Gretchen's Star, third in the Arlington 'Cap, shipped early Sunday morning, but was very pleased with his horse's performance shortly after the race Saturday night. "He gives me everything he's got every time he runs," Isbell said.
Starlex Farm's Private Son, fourth in the Arlington 'Cap, had his trainer in good spirits shortly after Saturday's race, although Private Son's status for the Arlington Million remains uncertain.
"My horse, he ran his little heart out," said Schu late Saturday. "He did the best he could. I don't know about the Arlington Million, however. I'll have to think about that for a few days before I decide."
Team Block's Mystery Giver, fifth in the Arlington 'Cap, was doing better than he should have been Saturday night and Sunday morning, according to trainer Chris Block.
"I had him in the best form he's ever been," said Block Sunday. "He only got beat a little more than a length and I was very disappointed in the ride he got Saturday. He could run again today, he got so little out of the race. He ate up everything last night, which isn't like him if he's had a hard race. That means he never ran hard, and I thought I had him at his best coming up to Saturday. I don't know what we'll do now. We'll have to think about it. I won't rule out the Million but I think there is another race that weekend which is more likely. We'll see.
"National Anthem also came back well," said Block of the Richard L. Duchossois colorbearer who ran ninth in Saturday's Arlington 'Cap after being saddled by Block.
Sam-Son Farm's Strut the Stage, sixth in Saturday's Arlington 'Cap, apparently came out of the race in good order but may be given a little freshening at this time, an assistant indicated Saturday night. Strut the Stage has now disappointed in two straight races for no obvious reason.
Alan Drey's Bahroba also came out of Saturday's Arlington 'Cap without problems, trainer Dennis Ebert indicated.
"I guess we'll have to ship out of town to win a race with this horse," Ebert said Sunday.
Shelley Bates & Don Von Hemel's Cowboy Stuff, who scored a front-running victory in Saturday's $100,000 Round Table Stakes, was in fine fettle Sunday morning, according to veteran Midwestern trainer Don Von Hemel.
"He came out real good," said Von Hemel, 68, who was born in Kansas but campaigned at Ak-Sar-Ben as a jockey or trainer throughout much of that oval's history. "He ate good last night and is doing good this morning.
"I haven't really decided what's next for Cowboy Stuff," Von Hemel said. "I could send him back to Iowa for the Iowa Classics, or I could take him to Remington (for the $250,000 Oklahoma Derby Aug. 25). At the one place he'd be 1-9 (Cowboy Stuff is an Iowa-bred) and at the other more like 9-1, but the money is a lot better at the other place. I'll think about it."
One question Von Hemel could answer without hesitation is what happened to the grave of Hall of Fame Thoroughbred Omaha, which had been buried on the grounds of the now-defunct Ak-Sar-Ben.
"It's still there where it was," said Von Hemel of the remains of 1935 Triple Crown winner who also won the Arlington Classic that year. "They are trying to figure out what to do with the site right now. Personally, I hope they leave it where it is. That spot holds a lot of memories for a lot of horsemen that spent most of their careers there, and I'm one of them."
Jockey Robby Albarado, leading rider here in 1996, began his Arlington Park season Saturday in flying fashion with a win aboard James D. Tilton Jr. & Niall M. O'Callaghan's Bird Valley in the third race of the day.
Arriving on the 39th day of the current Arlington Park season, Albarado has little chance to catch leading rider Rene Douglas, the defending champion and the winning rider in six out of the seven graded stakes at this session, including all of the graded grass stakes.
"We can't beat him but we can give him a hard time," said Lenny Pike, Albarado's agent on Sunday morning. "Last year, we arrived at Arlington on July 21 and rode here full time until September 16, and during that time, we rode 64 winners and Douglas had 58, so we beat him head-to-head."
Dennis Cooper, agent for Douglas, when congratulated on Douglas' phenomenal current season Sunday morning, was asked if he was going to allow anyone else to win a few races.
"Not if I can help it," Cooper said. "I'm going to try to win 'em all."
However, both those Arlington champions will have added competition beginning Wednesday, when Corey Lanerie begins riding locally.
Lanerie, leading rider at the recently concluded Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie, Texas, meeting, rode 92 winners at that oval this season, and has been leading rider there in three of the last four years.
"We made more money (rode more purse earnings) there this year ($2.1 million) than we did when we set the record for most winners three years ago (102 winners for $1.9 million purse earnings)," said Rick Mocklin, agent for Lanerie. "We had an amazing meeting there, but we're both looking forward to being here now."
Carl Pollard's Caressing, winner of the 2001 Singapore Plate and Eclipse Award winning 2-year-old filly in 2000, worked five furlongs in :59 Sunday morning, recording the fastest time of the morning at that distance.
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