|Arlington Park Barn Notes
In today's notes:
Patrick-Louis Biancone, a conditioner of international renown for more than two decades, has returned to Arlington Park where he most recently won Chicago's traditional main event for juvenile Thoroughbreds two years ago.
Biancone arrived in Chicago by equine air transport on Monday, accompanying eight horses slated to compete during the weekend of the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, which come to Chicago and Arlington Park for the first time in their 19-year history on October 26.
The 50-year-old Frenchman first drew attention in the United States when he brought Daniel Wildenstein's filly All Along to this country to earn 1983 Horse of the Year honors. However, before that, on his 29th birthday in 1981, he captured the Group I Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby) with Bikala, who went on to be the French Horse of the Year that year.
Then, after spending most of the 1990s training in Hong Kong, Biancone brought Jack Liebau et al's Trailthefox here in 2000 to take down winning honors in the Grade II Arlington-Washington Futurity. However, that fixture will be upstaged this year by the Grade I Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile as part of the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships.
Among the Biancone trainees that arrived at Arlington Park Monday is Fabien Ouaki & Biancone's Whywhywhy, who captured the Grade I Futurity at Belmont Par k by a length and three-quarters on September 15.
Should Whywhywhy win the $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile, the entire son of Mr. Greeley would earn an additional $250,000 as a bonus award under the conditions of the Bessemer Trust Two-Year-Old Challenge.
Also slated for a start in the upcoming Juvenile among the Biancone octet is Michael Tabor's Zavata, third in the Grade I Hopeful at Saratoga August 31 after capturing the Grade II Saratoga Special there August 14. Earlier in the spring at Belmont, the Phone Trick colt won the Grade III Tremont.
Which one of those two should be favored in their upcoming October 26 faceoff?
"The Juvenile is a race for the babies," said Biancone Monday afternoon as he watched his horses settle in on the Arlington backstretch. "When you race babies, it is not always the best horse that wins, but the best horse that day. That is why I am more comfortable bringing two than one. If I had four, I'd run four of them."
Also among the 2-year-olds brought to Arlington by Biancone is Michael Tabor & Edward P. Evans' Stellar, a Virginia-bred daughter of Grand Slam who was fourth in Saratoga's Grade I Spinaway August 30 after finishing second in the Grade II Adirondack there August 12.
Stellar is being pointed toward a start in the Grade I Long John Silver's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies.
Tabor's Brancusi, sixth in the Grade I Champagne at Belmont last Saturday, did not make the trip to Chicago after a late change in plans. Most of the others in the Biancone contingent are scheduled for supporting stakes leading up to the Breeders' Cup races.
Cliveden Stud's Fraulein, the European-campaigned 3-year-old filly who is a projected starter in the Grade I Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf, arrived at Arlington Park Saturday under the supervision of trainer Edward Dunlop's assistants Peter Boothman and Tracy Johnson.
The Filly & Mare Turf is one of eight races to be contested at Arlington Park October 26 as part of the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships when those showcase events comes to Chicago and the local oval for the first time in their 19-year history.
After leaving England a fortnight ago, Fraulein and her two handlers stopped at Woodbine in Canada long enough to capture the Grade I E. P. Taylor Stakes September 29 at that Ontario oval at 11-1 odds.
Were her handlers surprised at her quick success in North America?
"Well, no," Boothman answered. "That's why we were there. The pace was very slow, and our filly was the first to kick in and they never caught her. They just never kicked back."
Boothman, 62, an assistant to Dunlop for the last eight years, is a former jockey who was England's champion apprentice in 1958. He gets on Fraulein when she goes to the track.
"She's a good ride," said Boothman, who has obvious affection for the horse from whom he will be separated when she is sold following the Breeders' Cup. "I ride her all the time, and when she wins, it's a lot of payback. She's a nice one."
Will he miss her when they are separated shortly?
"Sure," he said, "but it's part of the game, isn't it? There's always a new batch coming in, and so you go on with them."
Boothman was born in Norton Disney, Lincolnshire, and pointed out that America's Walt Disney was of a family that came from that region.
"There are still the concrete tombs of Walt's ancestors back home where I come from,' Boothman said.
Johnson has worked for Dunlop for the last three years. She is from Newmarket, and was a former assistant to trainer John Gosden.
Fraulein, incidentally, although British-bred, is by the German sire Acatenango out of a German-bred mare.
"She did a canter this morning," said Boothman of Fraulein Monday afternoon. "She'll do the same tomorrow, and on Wednesday and Thursday we'll pick up the pace a little. We may breeze her three-quarters on Friday."
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