|Arlington Park Barn Notes
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In today's notes:
French-bred Little Treasure, owned by Chicagoan Sidney L. Port and others, including the trainer, returned from her game length-and-a-half tally in Saturday's Grade III Pucker Up Stakes in fine fettle and was doing equally well Sunday morning, according to conditioner Laura de Seroux.
"All is well," said de Seroux on Sunday. "She ate up well last night and everything was fine with her this morning. She's a cutie."
Little Treasure was making only her second start in the United States on Saturday when running over the Arlington Park lawn after a French campaign. The 3-year-old daughter of Night Shift had captured the Grade II San Clemente Handicap at Del Mar in her American debut August 3.
What does the immediate future hold for Little Treasure?
"I think she deserves an invitation to the Queen Elizabeth," said de Seroux, speaking of Keeneland's Grade I Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes. "In fact, I think my next phone call will be to Rogers Beasley (Keeneland's Director of Racing)."
The Queen Elizabeth, for sophomore distaffers at nine furlongs over that Lexington oval's grass course, will be contested on October 12.
Joseph Graffeo's Two Item Limit, the two-time Illinois Horse of the Year who made her in-state debut a winning one Saturday, returned from her $42,000 Unique Type Handicap score in good order and was doing well Sunday morning, according to trainer Stephen L. DiMauro.
"She was looking good," said DiMauro, who checked on Two Item Limit early Sunday at Arlington Park before he left for the airport. "She ate up good last night and was bouncing around when I left her a little while ago. I'm going to leave her at Arlington for a few days. I'm not sure what my final plans will be. I'll decide in a few days."
Two Item Limit, arguably the top Illinois-bred currently in the training, has been competing on a national level throughout her career and was making her first start in the Prairie State Saturday. She came from off the pace to catch the front-running Shemya, owned by Joseph Marovich LLC & Crown's Way Farm, on the way to her four-length win.
Last year, Two Item Limit finished third in the Grade I Breeders' Cup Distaff at Belmont Park and remains a possibility for this year's renewal of that event at Arlington Park. The Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships come to the local oval for the first time in their 19-year history on October 26.
"I'm leaving my options open, for now," said DiMauro. "I talked to (Arlington racing secretary) Dave Bailey and he said he was writing an overnight stakes to be run on Columbus Day, which would be another possibility. So it will be one or the other (between the overnight stakes and the BC Distaff), depending on how she is training. We'll see how both races develop before we decide. But I was very pleased with her effort yesterday."
Steeplechase Farm's Mandy's Gold, who captured the Grade III Chicago Breeders' Cup Handicap at Arlington Park June 8, and Claiborne Farm's Trip, who won that same event run as the inaugural stakes of the 2001 season here, both visited the winner's circle at other ovals in graded stakes company Saturday.
Mandy's Gold, who made or forced the pace throughout in the 2002 Chicago Breeders' Cup, switched those tactics with a come-from-behind score in Saturday's Grade I Ruffian Handicap at Belmont Park. In her previous stakes win, Mandy's Gold won the Grade III Honorable Miss Handicap at Saratoga August 2.
The Virginia-bred is out of the same family as champion sprinter Gallant Bob, who won the 1975 Olympia Stakes at Arlington Park.
Also on Saturday, 2001 Chicago Breeders' Cup winner Trip became the first back-to-back winner of the Grade III Turfway Breeders' Cup, scoring by five and a half lengths in that $200,000 stakes event at the Northern Kentucky oval.
Trip, a homebred, now has career earnings of $888,773 in four seasons. She was coming off a winning effort at Saratoga August 9, and now has three wins in seven starts this season.
Rene Douglas, defending jockey champion at Arlington Park and currently far in front in the 2002 standings, surpassed last year's purse earnings total at the local oval on Saturday and could go over the $4 million mark in purse earnings here during Sunday's program.
During the 2002 Arlington Park season through Saturday, Douglas had amassed purse earnings of $3,946,922. Last year, during the entire 2001 Arlington season, Douglas' local purse earnings totaled $3,823,774.
Three regular members of the 2002 Arlington Park jockey colony are approaching the $1 million mark in local purse earnings after Saturday's races.
Jockey Carlos H. Marquez Jr. is approximately $4,000 shy of the seven-figure mark going into Sunday's races.
Jockey Frankie Lovato Jr. is currently about $17,000 short of that same mark through Saturday's races, and veteran Chicago reinsman Randy Meier needs around $50,000 in purse earnings to surpass the $1 million level of local purse earnings this summer.
Leading rider Rene Douglas had a riding double on Saturday's program, reaching the winner's circle in both stakes races during the afternoon. The Panamian-born reinsman was aboard Joseph Graffeo's Two Item Limit in the $42,000 Unique Type Handicap. Douglas was also astride French-bred Little Treasure, owned by Sidney Port Trust, Liberty Road Stable, & San Gabriel Investments, in the Grade III Pucker Up Stakes.
Jockey Randy Meier also had a double, winning the second with High Five Stable's Alroyed and returning with Wimp Free Racing Stable's Humble Fourteen in the fifth. Meier, incidently, rode his first Arlington Park winner on September 16, 1982, which is 20 years ago on Monday.
Newcomer Elvis Trujillo, second in the local standings, also won two races. Trujillo captured the third on Jan Nilsen's Paddy's Spy and the seventh on Chris Jean's Givetheboyacigar.
Bitterroot Racing Stable's Cellars Shiraz, second in Saturday's Grade III Pucker Up, is being pointed for Keeneland's Grade I Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes or Calder's $200,000 Calder Oaks. Both those races are on October 12.
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