|Arlington Park Barn Notes
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In today's notes:
Arthur I. Appleton's Galic Boy and Mt. Joy Stables Inc.'s Just Like Jimmy, equally weighted at 121 pounds for Sunday's $42,000 Golden Pheasant Handicap, are expected to renew their rivalry in that one-mile turf test that serves as the featured event of the afternoon.
Each has finished in front of the other in their two meetings at Arlington Park this summer. Both made their last starts in the $60,000 The Bart Stakes August 18 with Just Like Jimmy finishing second by a head to Starlex Farm's Private Son. Galic Boy was fifth, a length further back, in that mile and a sixteenth turf test.
Before that, when the pair matched strides in the $45,000 Bowl Game Stakes here July 7, Galic Boy was the victor, with Just Like Jimmy a length behind as the runner-up.
Galic Boy, a 7-year-old son of Irish River, won the Grade III Robert F. Carey Memorial Handicap at Hawthorne last November and was fourth in both the Grade III Ft. Lauderdale and Canadian Turf handicaps last winter at Gulfstream.
Just Like Jimmy, a 5-year-old son of American Derby winner The Name's Jimmy, was second by a head to Team Block's Mystery Giver here in the $90,450 Cardinal Handicap here June 22 as part of Prairie State Festival Day.
Among those expected to challenge the equally weighted pair in Sunday's Golden Pheasant include Live Oak Plantation's Monarch's Maze, 119; Mr. & Mrs. Michael P. Brickman's Smilin' Slew, 117; Richard L. Duchossois' Apt to Be, 116; and Grace Turnbow's Man o' Rhythm, 114.
Monarch's Maze has been idle since finishing third in Gulfstream's $65,000 Fraise Stakes March 15 but won the Grade II Red Smith and Jamaica handicaps in New York last fall.
Jockey Seth Martinez, leading rider at the Canterbury Park meeting that concluded Labor Day, made his first day at Arlington Park a winning one by capturing Wednesday's seventh race astride Carolyn Friedberg's Algezir.
What was not so immediate was Martinez' route from Minnesota to Chicago, which saw him drive north three and a half hours in the Land of 10,000 Lakes before heading in a Southeastern direction toward the Windy City.
"My girlfriend and I had to haul a horse trailer to Bemidji, Minnesota after Canterbury's meeting ended Monday evening," said Martinez, a 23-year-old native of New Mexico. "After we dropped the trailer off, we turned around and headed here, pulling off in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, about 11:30 Tuesday night for a few hours before continuing on to Arlington.
"We got to Arlington this morning," said Martinez after riding Algezir to a $62.60 win payoff for trainer Richie Scherer in the turf test.
(Scherer added to his training laurels by saddling Friedberg's Poons for a victory in the eighth race, giving the owner-trainer team two wins for the day.)
Martinez, who had also ridden Algezir to break his maiden by three lengths in his previous start at Canterbury August 8, had nothing but praise for the son of 1995 Breeders' Cup Turf winner Northern Spur, despite his dismissal in the local odds.
"I think this is going to be a decent horse," Martinez said. "I thought so that day I broke his maiden at Canterbury. He did it real easy.
"I also am very impressed with Arlington," said Martinez, who was also leading rider at Turf Paradise in Phoenix, Arizona, last season. "I'm only here for a few days to visit before Phoenix opens. I just wanted to see the place and ride a few races here. I'm glad I came."
Godolphin Racing Inc.'s Grandera, current points leader in the 2002 World Series Racing Championship (WSRC), heads a field of nine named to Saturday's Group I Ireland the Food Island Champion Stakes at Leopardstown.
The mile and a quarter Irish Champion serves as the seventh leg of this year's WSRC, which celebrated its fifth leg here at Arlington August 17 when Juddmonte Farm's Beat Hollow won the 20th running of Grade I Arlington Million.
In addition to Grandera, Godolphin is expected to send Prix d'Ispahan winner Best Of The Bests to the post in the Ireland's Saturday classic. Godolphin is attempting to follow up the victory of its Fantastic Light in last year's Irish Champion. Fantastic Light went on to be the winner of the 2002 WSRC.
Trainer Aiden O'Brien, who saddled Giant's Causeway to win the 2000 Irish Champion, is expected to start Mrs. John Magnier's Hawk Wing, winner of the Group I Coral-Eclipse Stakes in July, as well as Michael Tabor & Mrs. Magnier's High Chapperal. That altered son of Sadler's Wells won the Group I English Derby as well as the Group I Irish Derby in June.
Hall of Fame jockey Earlie Fires, Arlington Park's all time leading rider, won six races from seven mounts here in September of 1966 and captured the 3,000th race of his career here in September of 1982.
Now with more than 6,200 career winners, Fires is likely to pass another milestone this September with his 2,700th win at Arlington Park.
The 55-year-old Arkansas native is one win away from that mark, with three mounts scheduled for Thursday here.
Fires rides R.T.M. Racing Ltd.'s Bellisimo in the sixth race Thursday, E. R. Meyer's Dr. Robbie in the seventh, and Greg Derybowski & Hat Trick Racing Stable's Six Straight Trics in Thursday's finale.
Jockey Randy Meier, another senior member of the Arlington Park jockey colony at 48 years of age, had a riding double on Wednesday, scoring with Michael Conway & Miller Racing Stable Ltd.'s Alfayiz in the second half of the opening daily double. The Nebraska native returned to the winner's circle after the sixth with W. S. Farish & W. Temple Webber Jr.'s Quick Alert.
Leading rider Rene Douglas also had a riding double Wednesday at Arlington. The Panamian-born reinsman won the opener astride Cheryl's Myth, owned by William Schaffrick, and repeated with a tally in the third aboard John Franks' Luckymata. Douglas is the defending riding champion at the local oval.
Friday's band for the Miller Lite Party in the Park is British Export, a Beatles tribute band. They will be joined by WXRT's Terri Hemmert.
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