|Arlington Park Barn Notes
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In today's notes:
Tom R. Durant's Most Feared may not yet have totally earned his moniker, but made giant strides toward it with his victory in Saturday's Grade III Arlington-Washington Futurity at Arlington Park. This year, Arlington's traditional 2-year-old showcase event is serving as the final local prep for the Grade I Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile, and Most Feared's connections are pointing their Commanchero colt toward that October 26 event.
Should Most Feared make it two in a row by coming back to win the Breeders' Cup Juvenile in four weeks, the Texas-bred youngster will earn an additional $250,000 under the conditions of the Bessemer Trust Two-Year-Old Challenge.
Will Most Feared be pointed for that race, when the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships come to Arlington Park for the first time in their 19-year history?
"I sure hope so," said trainer Ronny Werner from Kentucky Sunday morning. "Assuming nothing blows up on us, that's where we're headed. It looks like he came out of that race yesterday real good. We pulled out last night and this morning he was playing in his stall."
In Saturday's Arlington-Washington Futurity, Most Feared was allowed to settle early, rallied when set down for the drive, took clear command at the furlong grounds and increased the margin the rest of the way for a three-length tally. Out of an Avatar mare, the colt came to Chicago off a nine and a quarter-length victory in the $50,000 Continental Mile at Monmouth Park August 18.
Woodbridge Farm's Moonlight Sonata came out of her Saturday effort in Arlington Park's Grade III Arlington-Washington Lassie in good order and her connections are considering the Grade I Long John Silver's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies as a possible next trip to the post.
"We've watched that race so many times, I don't know if I can cool her out," said an ebullient Bill Helmbrecht over his cell phone as he completed his drive back to his Kentucky base of operations Sunday morning. Was he hauling this year's Lassie victress?
"No, she's ahead of us," said Helmbrecht. "She cleaned up her supper last night and she's cold as ice this morning, so she's doing great."
Had Helmbrecht entertained thoughts of a start for Moonlight Sonata in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, to be run at Arlington Park October 26 when the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships come to Chicago for the first time in their 19-year-history?
"That would be a dream," said Helmbrecht. "I'll talk it over with Mr. (owner William) Geist and we're going to take a long look at it. What I can tell you right now is that we both love Arlington. It's like a dream come true to win a race like the Lassie. For a little guy like me from Antigo, Wisconsin, (also the birthplace of Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas), to win a Breeders' Cup race would be the ultimate dream."
In Saturday's Lassie, contested at one mile, Moonlight Sonata was unhurried early and rallied boldly when set down for the drive to close with a rush and win by a length and three-quarters. The Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, to be run this year at a mile and an eighth, would appear to suit her even more than eight furlongs.
Stronach Stables Inc.'s Macho Uno, with star billing in Sunday's Grade II Washington Park Handicap at Arlington Park, was in fine fettle during training hours in advance of his projected start later in the day.
However, overnight rains left the Arlington Park surface a sea of slop early in the day, and had Macho Uno's connections hoping for sunlight and wind to dry out the surface during the course of the afternoon.
"There's not much we can do," said Macho Uno's trainer Joe Orseno, who would obviously prefer a fast track for Macho Uno's first start since the Grade I Whitney at Saratoga August 3. "We'll see how the track looks during the course of the day. We'll play it by ear and go from there."
Macho Uno won the Grade I Breeders' Cup Juvenile two years ago, and would be a candidate for the Grade I Breeders' Cup Classic on October 26 at Arlington Park depending on his showing in Sunday's Washington Park 'Cap.
The Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships come to Arlington Park for the first time in their 19-year history on the last Saturday in October.
Godolphin Racing Inc., whose youngsters faded under the favorite's mantle in both the Grade III Arlington-Washington Lassie and Grade III Arlington-Washington Futurity on Saturday at Arlington Park, reported all was well with all three of its representatives as of Sunday morning during training hours.
"The horses are all fine," said assistant trainer David Duggan on Sunday. "No problems at all. We'll live to fight another day."
In the Lassie, Godolphin's 2-year-old filly Ashraaf was sent to the post as the 15-10 choice of the fans. She raced wide throughout and finished a well-beaten seventh.
In the Arlington-Washington Futurity, the Godolphin entry of Sharp Impact and Anasheed were also dispatched as the 15-10 public choice.
Anasheed, void of early foot, launched a bold bid when set down for the drive and was up to gain the place while beaten three lengths by the winning Most Feared.
Sharp Impact, who had won the $75,000 Spectacular Bid Stakes here September 7, vied for the lead until the head of the lane and weakened steadily thereafter to finish seventh.
"We found (discovered something) about the filly in the Lassie," said Duggan. "As for the Futurity - Sharp Impact, as we suspected, isn't quite ready to go a mile, although he may be able to do that when he's a little more mature.
"As for Anasheed," Duggan said, "he's a tough as they come. We'll take a week to think about the Breeders' Cup, and then run it by the 'Big Boss' (owner Sheikh Mohammed). He'll make the ultimate decision if we want to go in that direction."
Nelson Bunker Hunt's Souris, third in the Grade III Arlington-Washington Lassie Saturday after winning the $75,000 Top Flight Stakes here August 31, returned from the Lassie in good order, according to trainer Steve Asmussen.
"She ran well," said Asmussen. "It just looked like the mile got to her."
Coast To Coast Racing Fund LLC's Worker Man, fifth in the Grade III Arlington-Washington Futurity two race later on Saturday, was also in fine fettle Sunday morning, according to the rapidly rising Texas horseman.
"He ran respectable," said Asmussen. "He has a condition left, so we'll probably just look for a race with that."
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