|Arlington Park Barn Notes
In today's notes:
With a five-win afternoon on Sunday, his second quintuplet of the Arlington Park season, leading rider Rene Douglas is in the hunt for numerous riding records at Chicago's premier oval - the question is how many?
With his five wins on Sunday, Douglas also reached the 100-wins-at-the-meeting mark on the 55th day of the current session that will run for 107 racing days. As the leading rider last year, Douglas reached the 100-win mark on the 75th day of the 2001 season.
Could Douglas approach Shane Sellers' record of 219 wins compiled during a 132-day session in 1991? It would be highly unlikely. The Panamian-born reinsman would have to average more than two wins a day for the rest of the season.
"But it gives me something to shoot for," said Douglas Wednesday morning. "It's not impossible so I won't rule it out yet."
Interestingly, Douglas also went over the $3 million mark in purse earnings during the 2002 season on Saturday, exactly 20 days earlier than he broke that barrier last summer. That is because Douglas has won nine stakes races this summer, and seven of those were graded stakes.
Currently, Kennard Knapp in 1965, Pat Day in 1981, and Jorge Velasquez in 1989 share the record of 11 stakes wins during an Arlington season. Douglas is in a position to shatter that mark.
"It has been a very good summer for me," said Douglas. "I am very fortunate that my agent Dennis Cooper has been able to get me on that many good horses."
One stakes that did get away from Douglas was the 20th running of the Grade I Arlington Million on Saturday, when Douglas was blocked in the final yards while riding Gary A. Tanaka's Falcon Flight, considered a longshot at more than 17-1 at post time.
"It was tough," said Douglas of one of his few disappointments this summer. "I felt like I did my job. I timed my move perfectly. I just needed a little luck at the end. I had to make a decision to try for that spot along the inside. I couldn't stand not trying for it. It was my only chance and I was smelling that $1 million. It was an unbelievable race. Everybody was trying hard. It just didn't quite work out."
Did Douglas think Falcon Flight would have won the Arlington Million if he had been able to get through and not been forced to check?
"Oh, yeah," said Douglas. "I would have won it by a length. Galloping out he passed them all and was in front by a length and a half just after the wire. He was the strongest horse at the finish."
Jimmy and Dennis Richard's Bonapaw, hero of the Grade III Hanshin Cup last month, is expected to accept Arlington Park racing secretary David Bailey's top impost of 124 pounds in Saturday's featured attraction, the sixth running of the $100,000 Arlington Sprint.
In that last trip to the post in the Hanshin on July 20 at one mile, Bonapaw broke in stride to make the pace and increased the margin in the late stages to tally by two and a quarter lengths.
Considering the facile nature of that last tally, Bonapaw appears a worthy successor to David P. Holloway Racing Inc.'s Bet On Sunshine, who posed in the winner's circle in each of the last three renewals of Arlington Park's main event at three-quarters of a mile. That 10-year-old is behind in his training pace from recent seasons but may make an appearance locally in a matter of days.
However, both Ron L. Brandenburg's Tic N Tin at 119 pounds and Thunderhead Farm's Sand Ridge at 118 are expected to go in the Sprint and could provide strong competition for Bonapaw.
Tic N Tin won the $50,000 Zen Handicap here at last asking August 4 and the $25,000 Shecky Greene Handicap in his previous start July 19 at Fairmount Park. Earlier in the meeting, the 7-year-old Illinois-bred captured the $84,400 White Oak Handicap here on June 22, Prairie State Festival Day.
Sand Ridge, also a 7-year-old, took down winning honors in the $150,000 Iowa Sprint Handicap at Prairie Meadows July 4, defeating Bonapaw by two and a half lengths that day. Before that he posted a win at Arlington in a conditioned allowance race June 7. Sand Ridge was purchased out of a 2-year-olds in training sale as the sale topper with money earned from Thunderhead's sale of Mariah's Storm.
That filly won the Arlington-Washington Lassie, the Arlington Heights Oaks and the Arlington Matron in successive seasons here before becoming a broodmare. In her latter career she became the dam of European champion Giant's Causeway, owned by Mrs. John Magnier & Michael Tabor.
Also considered likely for Saturday's Sprint and in with 115 pounds is John Franks' Halo Cat, second by a length and three-quarters here in his last start July 21 but a winner of four straight before that. The 4-year-old son of Southern Halo has been either first or second in his last seven outings.
A field of between 10 and 12 American Quarter Horses are expected to go postward in Sunday's Windy City Dash for 3-year-olds and upward.
Those expected for the 400-yard dash include Karl H. Smith's Quick to Flare Up, Robert Rodgers' Solid Gold Bullion, Stacy Martin's Special Hippity Hop, Bernard S. Flint's Can U Fly, Don or Brenda Evans' Casa de Royality and Walter R. Harrison's Heza Contendor.
Saturday from 12:15-12:45 p.m. will be CBS Beginner's Day at Arlington Park's Starting Gate Theatre. The session will be hosted by CBS 2 sportscaster Howard Sudberry.
Sunday will be Forest Grove Athletic Club Day. All guests will receive a free one-month membership to Forest Grove Athletic Club.
Thoroughbred Times' Breeder of the Week is Juddmonte Farms based on their homebred's victories in the Grade I Arlington Million and the Grade I Secretariat. Juddmonte's Beat Hollow captured the 20th running of the Arlington Million while their Chiselling took down winning honors in the 26th running of the $400,000 Secretariat.
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