|Arlington Park Barn Notes
In today's notes:
Stronach Stables Inc.'s Macho Uno, the Eclipse Award winning juvenile of 2000, heads a list of 21 nominations to the 70th running of the Grade II Washington Park Handicap at Arlington Park on September 29.
With the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships coming to Arlington Park for the first time in their 19-year history on October 26, this year's Washington Park 'Cap, for 3-year-olds and upward, will serve as the final local prep for the Grade I Breeders' Cup Classic four weeks later.
The $400,000 Washington Park 'Cap will be contested at a mile and three-sixteenths, while the Breeders' Cup Classic, run at a mile and a quarter, will be the richest race in American Thoroughbred racing this year when it comes to Chicago offering its purse of $4 million.
Macho Uno, who won the Grade I Breeders' Cup Juvenile on his way to divisional honors two years ago, had an abbreviated sophomore campaign due to injury, missing the Triple Crown but coming back to the races in time to capture the Grade III Pennsylvania Derby at Philadelphia Park. The colt by 1994 Horse of the Year Holy Bull then finished a creditable fourth in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Belmont Park when the World Thoroughbred Championships were held in New York last season. On June 1 this year, Macho Uno captured the Grade II Massachusetts Handicap at Suffolk Downs in Boston.
Macho Uno has already arrived at Arlington Park in advance of next weekend's Washington Park 'Cap and is considered likely to head the field at this time.
The gray 4-year-old arrived in Chicago Wednesday after working at Woodbine Race Course on the outskirts of Toronto on Monday after a brief vacation at Stronach's Canadian farm in Ontario.
Also considered a probable starter in next Sunday's Washington Park Handicap at Arlington Park is Diamond A Racing Corporation's Pleasantly Perfect, who will be invading from Southern California.
In his last trip to the post, Pleasantly Perfect finished a good fourth behind Came Home in the Grade I Pacific Classic at Del Mar on August 25, beaten less than three lengths. Trained by Hall of Fame conditioner Richard Mandella, the 4-year-old Pleasantly Perfect made only one start, his career debut, as a sophomore and did not complete the course.
By 1981 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Pleasant Colony out of a mare by 1978 Triple Crown winner Affirmed, Pleasantly Perfect broke his maiden February 27 and had graduated the next two allowance conditions prior to the Pacific Classic.
Glen Hill Farm's Bonus Pack, eighth in the Pacific Classic last time but a five and a half length winner of the Grade III Dominion Day Handicap at Woodbine July 1, is also likely for the Washington Park at this time. The son of 1993 Belmont Stakes winner Colonial Affair won two races at Gulfstream last winter.
Considered possible for the Washington Park at this time are: Flying Column II's Generous Rosi, Robert E. Meyerhoff's Include, William L. Clifton Jr.'s Pleasant Breeze and Joseph V. Vitello's Tenpins.
Potential contributors to "Riding for a Cure" - the horseman-oriented drive to find a cure for cancer - are reminded that the fundraiser will be held as scheduled on Monday, with proceeds going to the American Cancer Society.
"I'm overwhelmed by the response we have received," said Arlington Park television personality Christine Gabriel, "but wish to remind everyone of the contributors' deadlines for the event.
"Riders in the event are requested to bring their sponsors' contributions with them in order to take part in Monday's trail ride," Gabriel said.
"We have a total of 130 people taking part in the trail ride and have reached our capacity in that phase of the fundraiser," Gabriel said. "The trail ride will begin and end at the Barrington Hills Riding Center, with stops at Hill 'n Dale Farm and Horizon Farm along the 20-mile trip."
Jockey Frankie Lovato Jr., an accomplished musician, will headline the entertainment at the dinner portion of the fundraiser that follows, with about 250 contributors now expected to attend. Stacy Darjean will serve as the disc jockey and jockey agent Dennis Cooper will be the Master of Ceremonies.
The Breeders' Cup Challenge, an Internet- and e-mail-based sweepstakes with a $10,000 grand prize for selecting the most correct winners among the eight Breeders' Cup races, is now underway at ntra.com.
The contest is designed to promote the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships which will be coming to Chicago and Arlington Park for the first time in their 19-year history on October 26.
In addition to the $10,000 grand prize for picking the most Breeders' Cup winners, four berths to next January's Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship will also be awarded through a special "Head2Head" competition that will be contested over a four-week period. More than 50 additional prizes will be awarded to fans at other levels of game success, based on the number of winners they select.
The "Pick Eight" phase of the contest will begin shortly after the post-position draw for the World Thoroughbred Championships on October 23. Users must then make one win selection in each of the eight Breeders' Cup races by noon Central time on Saturday, October 26. The individual making the most correct selections will receive $10,000, with tiebreakers utilized in the event of a tie.
For the "Head2Head" phase of the competition, users will be presented with a series of "Match-Up" style wagers, whereby two horses are isolated and matched-up against one another within selected televised races. The competition is intended to educate consumers on the new "Head2Head" wager that will be part of the wagering menu for all eight of this year's Breeders' Cup wagers. For each race, users select which horse they think will finish better than the other in that given race.
There will be approximately 20 "Head2Head" races in that phase of the competition, beginning the weekend of Saturday, September 21 and running through Sunday, October 13. Users will build points based on their "Head2Head" selections, with one point awarded for each correct selection. The top four finishers at the end of the competition will be sent to Las Vegas to compete in the Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship.
Thoroughbred racing fans are reminded that Arlington Park will host a "Future Bet Seminar" on Saturday, featuring Arlington's TV host Christine Gabriel, her co-host Michael Costanzo, Daily Racing Form's Marcus Hersh and the Daily Herald's Joe Kristufek.
The seminar will run from 11:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m. in Arlington's Starting Gate Theater. This weekend's Future Bet will feature discussion on the upcoming Grade I Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile and the Grade I Long John Silver's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies.
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