|Arlington Park Barn Notes
In today's notes:
The third running of the $75,000 Top Flight Stakes, designed as the final local prep for the Grade III Arlington-Washington Lassie at Arlington Park, will be run August 31 at Chicago's premier Thoroughbred oval and give local fans a preview of the Midwest's better 2-year-old fillies currently in training.
The Lassie, Arlington's main event for juvenile distaffers, will be contested at one mile around one turn on September 28.
The Top Flight earned immediate legitimacy when Brian Griggs & Mike Goetz' She's a Devil Due took down winning honors in the inaugural edition in 2000. That daughter of Devil His Due went on to capture the Grade II Walmac International Alcibiades at Keeneland later that fall and finished her season with a good third-place effort in the Grade I Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies.
Likely to head the field for this year's Top Flight is Jerry Hollendorfer & Marta Racing Ventures' Christmas Time, conditioned by Arlington's defending trainer champion Hollendorfer. The daughter of 1992 Arlington-Washington Futurity winner Gilded Time is undefeated in the first two starts of her brief career.
In her racing debut here June 27, Christmas Time was settled behind the early leaders in a four and a half furlong dash, took command in the vicinity of the furlong grounds and drew clear late for a two and a half-length tally. When sent back to the post August 11 in "non-winners of one other than" company, she used the same tactics to win by a length and a quarter at six furlongs when the odds-on choice of the fans.
Out of the Empire Glory mare Simple Sunrise, Christmas Time was bred by George Steinbrenner III's Kinsman Farm and foaled in Florida.
Likely to challenge Christmas Time once again is Peter Stamas & Crown's Way Farm's Invader, who finished second to that rival last time. Before that, when making her career bow on a sloppy track here July 27, Invader pressed the pace, challenged for command in the late stages and proved best by a neck.
An interesting filly who is also expected at the present time for the Top Flight is the Bernie Flint-trained Golden Dayjur, owned by Robert D. Nash. At last asking, the Maryland-bred broke her maiden by six lengths when going five furlongs at Mountaineer Park. Previously, the daughter of Pursuit of Love had missed at Ellis Park in her debut when racing for a $50,000 tag at Ellis Park July 27.
Briardale Farm's Tosmah won the Arlington Matron in 1964 and she's in the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame.
Eleven years earlier, Calumet Farm's Real Delight won the Matron for the second straight year, and she too has a bronze plaque in the Museum at Saratoga Springs.
The Arlington Matron, Chicago's Labor Day feature, will be contested for the 66th time on September 2 to culminate the long holiday weekend that signals the end of summer. An interesting field of fillies and mares is possible for the featured attraction on the first of only two Monday racing days in 2002 at Arlington Park.
Among the 24 distaffer nominations to the nine-furlong Matron is Select Stable's Take Charge Lady. Should her trainer Ken McPeek choose to participate, Take Charge Lady would be the unquestioned star attraction in the field.
The daughter of Dehere has visited the winner's circle seven times during 10 career starts, and McPeek, who is pointing the 3-year-old filly toward a meeting with older mares in the Grade I Breeders' Cup Distaff at Arlington October 26, may want an early barometer of her chances.
Take Charge Lady won the first three starts of her career last year, including a score in the Grade II Walmac International Alcibiades, before she finishing sixth in the 2001 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies.
As a sophomore, she began her season with an eight and a half length tally in the Grade III Silverbulletday in New Orleans and followed that with a five-length win in the Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks. Take Charge Lady came back to visit the winner's circle at Keeneland with a four and a quarter length score in the Grade I Ashland, and she was a good second to Farda Amiga in the Grade I Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs.
In her last trip to the post, Take Charge Lady won Churchill's Grade III Dogwood May 25 by a length and three-quarters.
Sunday's Quarter Horse race at Arlington Park -- the 10th running of the $50,000 Windy City Dash -- is also the fourth leg of the Mid-America Quarter Horse Racing Championship Series.
The seven-race series is designed to give older horses increased racing opportunities and offers nearly $150,000 in guaranteed purses at Midwest racetracks. The series also offers $15,000 in bonus money: $7,500 to the horse with the most points in series races, $5,000 to second and $2,500 for third.
The Windy City Dash is set as the fifth race at Arlington Sunday with an approximate post time of 3 p.m. (CST).
Carlos Vela's OV Jet worked 220 yards in :13 2/5 on Saturday at Arlington in preparation for the 400-yard Windy City Dash, and Antonio Delgado's Dash the Rocket toured that same eighth of a mile distance in :13 2/5.
Seventeen years ago Sunday, on August 25, 1985, more than 35,000 fans flocked to the grounds at Arlington Park to watch the "Miracle Million" from temporary bleachers 25 days after the old Arlington Park burned to the ground.
Eighteen years ago Sunday, on August 25, 1984, Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas saddled his first Arlington winner -- Leslie Combs II & Equites Stable's Lucky Lucky Lucky -- in the Arlington Oaks.
Arlington Park's Junior Jockey Club will offer a walking tour during "Arlington Park History Day" Sunday, giving members a chance to learn about the rich history at the local oval.
Veteran Arlington Park jockey Chris Emigh, currently third in the local standings, went over the $1 million mark in earnings at Arlington Park this season on Thursday.
Arlington jockeys Elvis Trujillo and Carlos Marquez Jr. both had riding doubles Friday at Arlington Park.
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