|Arlington Park Barn Notes
Contact: Graham Ross
(847) 385-7500 ext. 7319
In today's notes:
Team Block's Mystery Giver, hero of the $90,450 Cardinal Handicap here in June but unsuccessful in the $225,000 Arlington Handicap in July, worked five furlongs in 1:02 on the Arlington Park turf course Wednesday morning in a move Arlington Park clocker Bobby Belpedio termed "very impressive."
Mystery Giver, who remains a possible starter in the Grade I Arlington Million on August 17, worked with the "dogs" up on the course, and galloped out three-quarters in 1:15 with leading rider Rene Douglas aboard for the move.
"He worked about how I'd hoped he would work," said Mystery Giver's trainer Chris Block shortly after the move. "What I liked most about it was that he looked solid every step of the way. I got everything I was looking for.
"As for his status for the Arlington Million, I'm still not sure," said Block. "My dad will be up this weekend and we'll talk it over. We'll probably make a decision on the Million along about Sunday. Right now, I wouldn't want to classify his chances for the Million at any more than 50-50.
"If we were to run, Rene Douglas may or may not be available, depending on what they decide to do with Falcon Flight," Block said. "Should we decide to go in the Million, and Rene Douglas is not available, we'd try to get Robby Albarado."
In his last trip to the post July 27 in the Grade III Arlington Handicap, Mystery Giver finished fifth, beaten just over a length for all of it despite an unfortunate trip that left Block extremely displeased. Previously, the 4-year-old son of Dynaformer won the Cardinal Handicap here on Prairie State Festival Day June 22 by a half-length after being away from the races since March 24 in the Grade II Explosive Bid Handicap at the Fair Grounds. In that New Orleans outing, Mystery Giver was well beaten by Gary A. Tanaka's Sarafan and Juddmonte Farms Inc.'s Beat Hollow, both of whom are likely for the upcoming Arlington Million.
The second of four periods for a Breeders' Cup Future Bet commences this Friday and runs through Sunday. Wagering will be available from noon-6 p.m. Central time each day.
The Future Bet is a special wager that challenges fans to select in advance the winners of the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships races to be held at Arlington Park on October 26.
Available for wagering during this second period are future wagers on the Grade I John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf, the Grade I Breeders' Cup Mile and the Grade I Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf.
In each of the three races -- all grass events -- the pari-mutuel field has been listed as the morning line favorite. Other than the field entries, the shortest priced horse is Rock of Gibraltar, who has been set at 6-1 in the Breeders' Cup Mile. Others with relatively generous morning line odds are Sakhee, who is listed at 8-1 in the John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf; and Banks Hill, installed as an 8-1 proposition in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf.
Arlington Park is the host for the Breeders' Cup Future Bet that is being offered for the first time in the 18-year-history of the Breeders' Cup. The Future Bet allows bettors around the country to wager on horses that are likely to be pointed to one of eight Breeders' Cup races.
The first weekend of the Future Bet was held on the Fourth of July extended holiday weekend offering wagers on Grade I Breeders' Cup Classic, Grade I Breeders' Cup Distaff and Grade I Breeders' Cup Sprint.
"With the successful launch of the first future bet pools, we're very optimistic about this second wagering period," said Ken Kirchner, NTRA senior vice president of product development. "There are a lot of high quality horses listed at very good odds in each race. We hope that racing fans and wagering outlets are more familiar now with the Breeders' Cup Future Bet process. All systems are go for this weekend."
Under Breeders' Cup Future Bet rules, each race offers pari-mutuel groupings of 23 runners plus one field entry consisting of horses not in the body of 23 for each respective race. All betting, available at outlets nationwide, will be "win-only" with a minimum wager of $2. At the conclusion of wagering on August 11, odds for all entries become final. No refunds are made on horses that do not ultimately compete in their designated races.
Defending jockey champion Rene Douglas had a fantastic month of July in his bid for a repeat title at Arlington Park, and was all smiles when presented with his award Sunday.
"A month like I had, you can only dream about," said Douglas. "It's really unbelievable that I was able to win 44 races and five stakes races. What can I say? When you're hot, you're hot. But a lot of the credit should go to my agent Dennis Cooper. He's a great agent and a hard worker."
Trainer Hector Magana was trainer of the month for July at Arlington after saddling five winners and four third-place finishes from 11 July starters.
"I'm very happy," Magana said when presented with his award after the sixth race. "In fact, we almost won this race (with Dare to Dream Stable LLC's Bayville), so we're off to a good start this month."
Louie Roussel III was named owner of the month for July after his horses visited the winner's circle four times in July, accomplished one second and two third-place finishes from 10 starters during the month.
"I'm just thrilled," Roussel said. "It's an honor to be chosen here at Arlington. In fact, it's an honor to win anything here at Arlington."
The third "Breakfast at Arlington" program of the 2002 season at Arlington Park will be held from 7:30-9:30 a.m. on August 16, one day prior to the Arlington Million and the International Festival of Racing.
Hall of Fame Jockey Chris McCarron, who retired after riding Came Home to victory in the Grade III Affirmed Stakes at Hollywood Park June 23, will be a featured guest on the "live" portion of the program which will begin at 8 a.m.
McCarron is the leading money-winning jockey of all time with career earnings of $264,351,579. The native of Dorchester, Mass., will join Arlington Park television personality Christine Gabriel and Arlington Park announcer John G. Dooley during the "live" portion of the program, which will also include trainers and jockeys from all over the world in Chicago for the International Festival of Racing.
On Thursday, Arlington Park will host a St. Joseph Home Auxiliary Fundraiser Buffet Lunch beginning at 11:45 a.m. in the International Room to benefit the Little Sisters of the Poor. For tickets call Louise Stein (847) 991-9182.
On Friday, the band at Miller Lite Party In The Park will be "Brother John," a classic rock band.
On Friday evening at Party On The Patio at Trackside Arlington Park the band will be "A Kangaroo Court," an alternative rock band.
Hall of Fame Jockey Earlie Fires, the all-time leading rider at Arlington Park, had a riding double on Sunday's program.
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