|Arlington Park Barn Notes
In today's notes:
Stronach Stables Inc.'s Macho Uno, an Eclipse Award winner two years ago, breezed one mile at Arlington Park Monday morning in preparation for an increasingly likely start in the Grade I Breeders' Cup Classic here October 26.
The Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships come to Arlington Park and Chicago for the first time in their 19-year history on that last Saturday in October. The $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic, richest Thoroughbred race run in North America, serves as the showcased final Breeders' Cup event of the afternoon.
Macho Uno accomplished Monday's eight-furlong breeze in 1:40 under regular exercise rider Tim McCanick after going to the track shortly after the break. Illinois State clocker Bobby Belpedio recorded the colt in earlier splits of :25 2/5, :38, :49 4/5, 1:01 2/5, 1:14 4/5, and 1:28 2/5 on his way to the one-mile time.
"I was real happy with it," said trainer Joe Orseno of Macho Uno's mile move. "Before he went out, I had given so many different instructions that I was thinking - what are the chances of absolutely everything going right? But everything did. He broke off with a horse in front of him just the way I wanted so he would have something to run at. Then he caught the other horse and came home fast the last part of it.
"I could hardly believe how everything worked out so well," Orseno said. "He got everything out of it that I was looking for."
Macho Uno, gray son of 1994 Horse of the Year Holy Bull, won the Grade I Breeders' Cup Juvenile two years ago when the Breeders' Cup was held at Churchill Downs. He has been occasionally brilliant but frustratingly inconsistent since that time, and a strong performance in the Breeders' Cup Classic would complete an admirable comeback saga for the horse and his connections.
He won an allowance race at Gulfstream March 23 in his first start this year, and followed that with an impressive length and three-quarter tally in the Grade II Massachusetts Handicap at Suffolk Downs on June 1.
However, in his most recent trip to the post September 29, Macho Uno finished an unimpressive fifth in the Grade II Washington Park Handicap. That $400,000 mile and three-sixteenths affair served as the final local prep for the Breeders' Cup Classic, which will be run at a mile and a quarter.
"He didn't run very well, but I still feel he got a lot out of that race," Orseno said.
Joseph Graffeo's Two Item Limit, four-length victress in the $42,000 Unique Type Handicap at Arlington Park September 14, breezed six furlongs in 1:12 4/5 at Arlington Monday in preparation for a projected start in the Grade I Breeders' Cup Distaff October 26 at the local oval.
The $2 million Distaff, a mile and an eighth race for fillies and mares, will be contested on that last Saturday in October when the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships come to Arlington and Chicago for the first time in their 19-year history.
Trainer Steve DiMauro flew into Chicago to supervise Two Item Limit's Monday move, and Arlington Park defending rider champion and current leading jockey Rene Douglas was aboard for the effort. Two Item Limit galloped out in 1:27 2/5 for the seven-eighths distance after registering her three-quarter mile time.
"It was very good," DiMauro said of Two Item Limit's bullet breeze, easily the best of three at that distance on Monday. "I talked to the clockers afterwards and they said it was a real good move. She did everything right. She'll go an easy half a week from today but I won't even come back here for that one. This was the major one we were looking for."
"Even Rene was happy," said DiMauro assistant Mike O'Niell, referring to the jockey aboard for the move, "and he's a hard man to please. She was full of herself today. Since she's been here she's getting to relax a lot better. When she was in New York, she never seemed to relax. Everything is falling into place."
The Unique Type, restricted to Illinois-breds, was designed to be a confidence builder for Two Item Limit, who had disappointed in the Grade I Personal Ensign Handicap August 23 at Saratoga when a well-beaten fifth.
"She seemed to notice that everyone was cheering for her," said O'Neill, speaking of the Unique Type. "She was as happy as I've ever seen her. She'd never been a favorite before. She was always an underdog."
James & Dennis Richard's Bonapaw, winner of the Grade I Vosburgh at last asking September 21 at Belmont Park, breezed five furlongs in a bullet move of :57 4/5 Monday at Arlington Park.
Bonapaw, based at Arlington Park this summer until the successful New York trip, is being prepared for a start in the Grade I NAPA Breeders' Cup Sprint to be contested at the local oval on October 26.
The $1 million Breeders' Cup Sprint, at three-quarters of a mile, will be one of eight championship races contested when the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships come to Chicago and Arlington Park for the first time in their 19-year history on that last Saturday in October.
Bonapaw, who followed his regular schedule by breezing 12 days out from his next assignment when he went to the track Monday, was clocked in splits of :22 3/5, :33 4/5, and :45 3/5 on his way to his five-furlong time, which was accomplished under Arlington Park jockey Ray Sibille. The 6-year-old son of Sabona galloped out three-quarters of a mile in 1:11 2/5.
"I thought it was an excellent breeze," said trainer Norman Miller III shortly after the Monday move. "We just followed the same routine that we follow month after month. We don't get too excited about it, and Bonapaw doesn't get too excited about it, either. We'll just gallop him up to the race now, and hope we have enough gas in the tank to beat these other champions.
"He's at his highest level right now," said Miller. "He's just a good athlete. You don't have to drill them. They just know what they need to do.
"Ray said he did it effortlessly," said Miller. "He's like a Cadillac out there. He just goes along like he's doing a 'two-minute-lick,' when in reality he's going in :57 and change."
Earlier in the summer at Arlington Park, Bonapaw won the Grade III Hanshin Cup July 20 and returned to the local winner's circle following the $100,000 Arlington Sprint August 24.
Arlington Park will offer what is being billed as "The Ultimate Breeders' Cup Wagering Seminar" in the Trackside Arlington Park Banquet Room on Wednesday, October 23, from 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Hosts will include Peter Mallett, co-author of "The Crushing Zone," as well as other local handicapping experts.
The Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, often called the "Super Bowl of Thoroughbred Racing," come to Chicago and Arlington Park for the first time in their 19-year history on October 26.
During the Trackside seminar, each of the eight Breeders' Cup races will be analyzed by the experts, and include replays of important prep races.
A $10 admission at the door will include a free copy of "The Crushing Zone" ($26.95 retail value), a free one-hour Italian Pasta Table and soft drinks. A cash bar and wagering will be available throughout the evening.
Immediately following the Seminar, from 8:30-11:30 p.m. there will be a free live Blues Band called "Michael Coleman and the Backbreakers" performing in the Trackside Banquet Room.
Coleman was voted one of the top 50 bluesmen in the world by Guitar Player Magazine. He spent eight years of his 10-year career with the James Cotton Band and has toured with Muddy Waters, Junior Wells and Steve Miller.
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