|Arlington Park Barn Notes
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In today's notes:
Stronach Stable's Macho Uno, the erstwhile Eclipse Award champion who still flashes brilliance but lacks consistency, remains on schedule for a breeze Monday morning at Arlington Park in advance of a possible start in the Grade II Washington Park Handicap at Arlington September 29.
Macho Uno, winner of the Grade I Breeders' Cup two years ago, has been brought to Arlington with a projected goal of the Grade I Breeders' Cup Classic on October 26 as a longer range target. Monday's move should help crystallize Macho Uno's tentative preparations for that kind of campaign.
"I've been disappointed with the weather the last couple of days," said assistant trainer Russell Dederian Sunday morning, following two overnight rains in the Chicago area. "I looked out my hotel window this morning and there were puddles of water on the track. The track had dried out well during the day yesterday and it was clear when I went to bed last night.
"Naturally, I haven't been able to do too much with him the last couple of days," said Dederian. "All we've been able to do is jog and canter him a little bit. Joe Orseno (Macho Uno's trainer) is coming in tonight and will be here for the work tomorrow."
Macho Uno, a son of 1994 Horse of the Year Holy Bull, arrived at Arlington Park Wednesday after working five furlongs in 1:02 2/5 handily at Woodbine Race Course on the outskirts of Toronto last Monday. Orseno clocked him going out seven-eighths in 1:30 and the mile in 1:45.
In his last trip to the post in the Grade I Whitney Handicap at Saratoga August 3, Macho Uno finished fourth, beaten less than three lengths for all of it. Earlier in the summer, the gray 4-year-old won the Grade II Massachusetts Handicap at Suffolk Downs June 1.
Next Sunday's $400,000 Washington Park Handicap will be one of four stakes races offered during Arlington Park's "Preview Weekend at the Park" on September 28-29. The Washington Park 'Cap will serve as the final local prep for the Breeders' Cup Classic. Also on the local program next Sunday will be the grassy $150,000 added Sea O'Erin Breeders' Cup Mile, which will serve as the final local tune-up for the Grade I Breeders' Cup Mile.
Nelson Bunker Hunt's Souris, who won the $75,000 Top Flight Stakes by two lengths here August 31, heads a list of 32 juvenile distaffers named to Saturday's Grade III Arlington-Washington Lassie Stakes at Arlington Park.
The Lassie, traditionally the main event of the Chicago Thoroughbred racing season for 2-year-old fillies, this season becomes the final local prep for the Grade I Long John Silver's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies. That race will be contested October 26 at Arlington Park when the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships come to Chicago for the first time in their 19-year history.
Also featured on Saturday's program will be the Grade III Arlington-Washington Futurity. The latter is the final local prep for the Grade I Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile. Together with two stakes races on Sunday's program, next weekend is being billed as Arlington Park's "Preview Weekend at the Park" with all four stakes serving as precursors to Breeders' Cup races here on the last Saturday in October.
The Top Flight, which enjoyed its third renewal this season, was designed to be the final local prep for the Lassie. In that six-furlong outing, Souris pressed the early pace, gained the advantage entering the lane and drew clear late for a two-length tally while less than fully extended to be an undefeated two for two in her brief career.
Souris, a daughter of Defrere trained by Steve Asmussen, broke her maiden in her competitive debut here August 1 with a four and a half-length tally.
Also expected to go to the post in the Lassie is Godolphin Racing Inc.'s Ashraaf, who arrived at Arlington Park from Southern California as the summer ended. She registered a 10½-tally in a maiden race at one mile here September 14.
In two earlier starts on the left coast, Ashraaf had finished fourth in her career debut at Hollywood Park July 13 and then ran sixth in her second outing at Del Mar August 11. However, both of those Southern California starts were in sprint races, and the bay daughter of Deputy Minister is bred to prefer a distance of ground. She is out of the mare Cinnamon Sugar, who is by the 1984 Breeders' Cup Classic winner Wild Again.
More accomplished than Ashraaf, albeit on a smaller stage, is Rodney E. Orr's Calldara, another filly considered likely for Saturday's Lassie. The Kentucky-bred daughter of Sultry Song broke her maiden by three and a half lengths at Emerald Downs July 7 in the $35,000 Angie C Stakes and then came back to tally by five in the $75,000 Barbara Shinpoch at that Washington oval.
K. K. & Vilasini Jayaraman's Fabulous Brush, another expected Lassie participant, won the $100,000 Pepsi Bassinet Stakes at River Downs by five lengths on August 31. The homebred daughter of Cobra King broke her maiden at previous asking on August 10 at Ellis Park when she tallied by five and a half.
The Woodbridge Farm's Moonlight Sonata, another expected Lassie participant, finished clearly second best in the Bassinet last time at the Cincinnati oval, five lengths behind Fabulous Brush but four and three-quarters to the good of the third place finisher.
James and Dennis Richard's Bonapaw, who won the both the Grade III Hanshin Cup Handicap and the $100,000 Arlington Sprint Handicap at Arlington Park in his two previous starts, extended his winning skein to three when he captured the Grade I Vosburgh Handicap at Belmont Park in New York Saturday.
Bonapaw, who has now won five of seven races this year, toured the seven furlongs of the Vosburgh in 1:22.34 under regular rider Gerard Melancon, who was aboard for both local tallies.
William P. Stiritz & Brian F. Zander's Robin Zee, who was fourth in the Grade II American Derby here July 21, won the $75,000 Prairie Meadows Derby Saturday night by four lengths at that central Iowa oval.
Shelley Bates & Don Von Hemel's Cowboy Stuff, victor in Arlington Park's $100,000 Round Table July 27, finished second by three in the nine-furlong event.
Arlington-based jockey Elvis Trujillo rode Windward Passage, the third place finisher, and veteran local reinsman Chris Emigh was fourth astride Missme.
Conditioner Mike Stidham and jockey Frank Lovato Jr. accomplished a training-riding double Saturday at Arlington Park with Oak Crest Farm's Liberation in the second and Stonerside Stable's Catalissa in the fourth.
Jockeys Alfredo Juarez Jr. and Ray Sibille both also had riding doubles on the program.
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