|Arlington Park Barn Notes
In today's notes:
Godolphin Racing Inc., easily the primary influence in the World Series Racing Championship (WSRC) again this year, is also gearing up a group of 2-year-olds locally for their possible engagements in the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships.
The Breeders' Cup, Thoroughbred racing's answer to the Super Bowl, will be held at Arlington Park for the first time on October 26. Included among the eight Breeders' Cup races are the Grade I John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf and the Grade I Breeders' Cup Classic, 11th and 12th races in the WSRC.
However, also slated that afternoon will be the Grade I Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile and the Grade I Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, and those 2-year-old fixtures serve as a barometer for future Thoroughbred stars on the international scene.
Globally, Godolphin's Marienbard won the sixth leg of the WSRC in Germany on Sunday, and is being considered next for the ninth leg in France: the Group I Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp October 6. Meanwhile, Godolphin's Grandera is being pointed for the Group I Ireland the Food Island Champion Stakes at Leopardstown this Saturday.
Locally, Godolphin's Sharp Impact breezed five-eighths in 1:00 4/5 Monday in preparation for his upcoming engagement in Saturday's $75,000 Spectacular Bid Stakes. The Spectacular Bid is the final local prep for Arlington's Grade III Arlington-Washington Futurity September 28, which serves as a prep this year for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.
"Sharp Impact is a pretty straightforward colt," said Dave Duggan, who handles Godolphin's day-to-day operations at Arlington for trainer Eoin Harty. "We don't know yet how far he'll go, but his temperament says he'll go on. You can do anything with him in the mornings. He's done everything we've asked of him, so far."
In his career debut and only trip to the post to date on July 18, Sharp Impact broke alertly to press the pace, challenged for command after the furlong grounds in that five-eighths dash and drew clear late for a length and a quarter score.
"Actually, we thought he would have taken a run (needed a race) to give his best, but he surprised us by winning at first asking," said the Irish-born Duggan. "So, we're taking it step by step with him, and this (Saturday's Spectacular Bid) is the next step. We'll just take it as it comes."
Sharp Impact, by the Brazilian-bred Siphon out of a Carson City mare, was bred in Kentucky by former Kentucky governor Brereton C. Jones. Ray Sibille will be in the irons in the Spectacular Bid.
Not nominated to the Spectacular Bid, but waiting in the wings for the Arlington-Washington Futurity, is Godolphin's Anasheed, who has made three career starts.
Anasheed, out of the money in his first start at four and a half furlongs June 28, finished second next time when going a mile July 28, and broke his maiden at that eight furlong distance August 18 by a length and a half.
"It looks like we'll train him straight into the Futurity," said Duggan. Anasheed is a son of 1992 Belmont Stakes and Breeders' Cup Classic winner A. P. Indy out of the Nureyev mare Flagbird.
"He's bred to go a mile and a quarter," said Duggan of Anasheed, "and yet they bet him off the board in that first start going four and a half furlongs. He never even had a chance to get his feet under him in that first race, and in his second race he lost a lot of ground racing wide.
"Ideally, we'd like to have gotten another race into Anasheed before the Futurity, but nothing has come up at the right distance. We'll see how he runs in the Futurity. If he runs ordinary, we'll take a look at a grass stakes for him, but if he runs well, we'll try and point him toward the Juvenile. We're leaving every avenue open."
Also with all avenues open is Godolphin's High Descent, a colt by Elusive Quality out of a Staff Writer mare who makes his first career start in Monday's fourth race.
There is some precedent for Godolphin 2-year-olds at Arlington that go on to bigger and better things as they mature and stretch out. Last year, Godolphin's Jilbab broke her maiden here going a mile in a race for juvenile distaffers, with Duggan as the day-to-day overseer. Earlier this summer, that daughter of A. P. Indy won the Grade I Coaching Club American Oaks at Belmont Park July 20, while now under the tutelage of trainer Saeed bin Suroor.
"I kept her in Dubai until Christmas," said Duggan, "and then Kiaran McLaughlin got her and she started to progress and they turned her over to bin Suroor. We knew she was a decent filly when we had her, but she needed a distance of ground."
Edward Wiggins & Kenneth R. Spraggins' Wiggins, a 2-year-old colt by Cartwright who broke his maiden August 10 here in his second trip to the post, is slated for a work Tuesday morning in preparation for a start in Saturday's $75,000 Spectacular Bid Stakes.
"I'm really excited about it," said Spraggins about Wiggins in the Spectacular Bid this Saturday. "I'm going in there and I just can't wait, he's doing so good right now. That three-eighths breeze on Tuesday should set him up just right."
In Wiggins' first trip to the post on July 25, he was dispatched as the odds-on choice in the wagering. The Illinois foal, bred by his co-owner/trainer, pressed the pace until the lane but then weakened to finish third. What happened?
"Too much Richard Hazelton, that's what happened," said Spraggins of Hazelton, who has saddled more than 4,000 career winners. "I've got to give him credit. He did the same thing I would have done if I'd been in that position. He ran an entry and my horse got a little intimidated racing between them. They didn't bother my horse. They just intimidated him, but my colt learned a lot from the experience."
In his August 10 outing, Wiggins broke in full stride to make the pace and held on willingly in the late stages to tally by a neck.
"This colt fits right in with this bunch," said Spraggins of the Spectacular Bid. "I've been schooling him to relax and make one big run. Frankie Lovato Jr. will ride Wiggins on Saturday. He's a good 2-year-old rider and his style fits this colt perfectly. He won't rush him."
Spraggins, who saddled Hunk Of Class to dead-heat for the win in the Arlington Sprint in 1997, was asked about Wiggins' somewhat obscure breeding.
"I raced this colt's mama," said Spraggins of Wiggins' dam, a mare named Dames Quarter by Nepal. "She had a lot of heart and she makes a good cross with Mr. Prospector. Cartwright is by Forty Niner, and he's a son of Mr. Prospector. She's dead now, but I do have a yearling half-sister to Wiggins with the same nick.
"The thing I've found out about the Cartwrights," said Spraggins, "is that you have to take your time with them. I broke this colt in November and then I just turned him out for three or four months and let him grow."
Jockey Robby Albarado is likely to go over the $1 million mark in purse earnings at the meeting on Monday's Labor Day program.
Jockeys Corey Lanerie, Chris Emigh and Elvis Trujillo all had riding doubles on Sunday's program, and all three riders scored them with back-to-back victories.
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