|Arlington Park Barn Notes
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In today's notes:
John C. Oxley's Sky Mesa, one of the prime candidates in the Grade I Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile on October 26 at Arlington Park, is "quite the ladies' man" back at the barn, according to Donna Ward, wife of trainer John Ward and the primary assistant to her husband.
Sky Mesa, a 2-year-old son of Pulpit, won the Grade II Lane's End Breeders' Futurity October 5 at Keeneland by four lengths. Should the colt repeat that win in the $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile, when the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships come to Chicago for the first time in their 19-year history, the owners would earn an additional $250,000 under the conditions of the Bessemer Trust Two-Year-Old Challenge.
However, with Sky Mesa, who arrived at Arlington Park Wednesday afternoon from his central Kentucky base, it's not about the money.
"He always has a filly next to him in the barn in Lexington, and when he was a Saratoga last summer, he had a filly on each side of him," said Mrs. Ward. "He really liked that. He's not studdish when they're around; he just likes to talk to them, and say, 'Hello, how are you doing?'
"He's very observant," said Mrs. Ward. "When he came back to Lexington after Saratoga, we had moved one filly away from him that he been next to him before he left. We never thought he'd remember her but he did. He recognized her immediately and stopped to talk to her. That really surprised me. I like to say he likes redheads, because she was a chestnut filly.
"He's really very smart," Mrs. Ward said, who is known to be as close to the horse as the horse is to her. "He acts like a colt, of course -- he's macho -- but he's really very kind. When you change his routine, he knows it immediately. This morning, for instance, we went out a different way to go to the track and he stopped and looked around. He's not stubborn. He doesn't insist on doing things his way. He just says, 'Let me check it out.'
"What I like is that he's so quick to respond to what you want," said Mrs. Ward. "He went from a maiden race to a Grade I (Saratoga's Hopeful) to a Grade II ($434,800 Breeders' Futurity) going two turns. I think that's very admirable.
"Mr. Oxley named him," said Mrs. Ward, when asked how the colt got his name. "He has a house which overlooks a mesa for miles around. My interpretation of the name is that the mesa stretches out until it meets the sky, and I've felt all along that 'the sky's the limit' with this horse."
Walter L. New's Lone Star Sky, second to John C. Oxley's Sky Mesa in the Grade II Lane's End Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland October 5, will probably arrive at Arlington Park next Wednesday, trainer Tom Amoss said Friday.
Lone Star Sky is being pointed for a start in the Grade I Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Arlington Park on October 26. The $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile will be one of eight Grade I championship races contested when the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships come to Chicago for the first time in their 19-year history on that last Saturday in October.
"He'll work a half-mile Monday or Tuesday at Churchill," said Amoss, who is presently at Arlington Park as a color commentator for TVG's "The Works" show telecast from the local oval. "I'm not going to bring him in early. There's no need to do that. He's already run over the track and handled it very well when he was here before."
Lone Star Sky broke his maiden at Arlington in the first start of his career here June 13 with an impressive two and a quarter-length score despite racing wide. The colt then captured the Grade III Bashford Manor at Churchill Downs July 7, was second in the Grade II Saratoga Special August 14, and won the $200,000 Miller Genuine Draft Cradle Stakes at River Downs on Labor Day, September 2.
Beginning Saturday, the first of eight charter flights from coast-to-coast and Europe is due into Chicago for the "Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships" to be run at Arlington Park on Saturday, October 26.
Tentatively booked on Saturday's 'Tex Sutton' charter from California are Disturbingthepeace and Nuclear Debate (Darrell Vienna), Good Journey (Wally Dollase) and D'Wildcat (Bob Hess, Jr.).
A cargo flight from England is scheduled to arrive at O'Hare International late Sunday night carrying Golan and Islington (Sir Michael Stoute) and Gossamer (Luca Cumani).
Most of trainer Bobby Frankel's powerful stable is due Monday afternoon from New York, led by Medaglia d'Oro, Denon, Aldebaran, Milwaukee Brew, Starine and Beat Hollow. Banks Hill will join the stable from California on another flight Tuesday.
Due late Monday from France are Domedriver (Pascal Bary), Medicis (Christiane Head-Maarek) and Ballingary (Laura de Seroux).
Banks Hill is part of large California shipment arriving Tuesday that also is tentatively scheduled to bring Azeri and Dublino (Laura de Seroux), Momentum and Swept Overboard (Craig Dollase), Buffythecenterfold (Mel Stute), Farda Amiga (Paulo Lobo), Crafty C.T. (Howard Zucker) and Sea Jewel and Starrer (John Sherriffs).
Due late afternoon Tuesday from Ireland will be the powerful Coolmore team trained by Aidan O'Brien. Rock of Gibraltar, Hawk Wing and High Chaparral are due with several 2-year-olds to run in the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile.
The Tex Sutton schedule for Wednesday includes shipments from both coasts. Scheduled to fly from California are Came Home (Paco Gonzalez), Kona Gold and Kalookan Queen (Bruce Headley), Listen Indy and The Tin Man (Richard Mandella), Golden Apples (Ben Cecil) and War Emblem, Bull Market, Atlantic Ocean, Kafwain, Composure, Vindication and Atlantic Ocean (Bob Baffert).
The New York contingent Wednesday includes Harlan's Holiday and Appleby Gardens (Todd Pletcher), Carson Hollow (Richard Dutrow, Jr.), Volponi (P.G. Johnson), Forbidden Apple and Voodoo Dancer (Christophe Clement), Blazing Fury (Jimmy Toner) and Del Mar Show (Bill Mott).
Scheduled for a final Tex Sutton charter Thursday from New York are Imperial Gesture, E Dubai and Kazzia (Saeed bin Suroor), Storm Flag Flying (Shug McGaughey), Green Fee (Danny Peitz), Summer Colony (Mark Hennig), Humorous Lady (Michael Smith) and Owsley (Randy Schulhofer).
Two sprint stakes highlight the 2002 season's Closing Day program at Arlington Park on Sunday, October 27.
The final race day of the current session will be held one day after the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships come to Chicago and Arlington Park for the first time in their 19-year history on October 26.
The $100,000 Smile Handicap, for 3-year-olds and upward at five and a half furlongs on the grass, will share top billing on that last day of the current Arlington season with the $100,000 Eliza Stakes, for 2-year-old fillies at seven furlongs on the main track.
Those considered probable for the Smile 'Cap include Richard Englander's Abderian; Terrence M. Brown's Distinctive Mr. B; Pamela A. & Bruce Little's Grey Cart; Grace Turnbow's Man o' Rhythm; and Anthony Carolan & M C Stable's Mighty Beau.
Also likely for the Smile: Alan Drey's Miners Gamble; Pearson, Hughey, Kemplerr & Diamond Racing Inc.'s My Extolled Honor; Tom Boy Stable's Supremo Secret; and Terry Bruner's Tiger Six.
Possible starters in the Smile include Richard Saland's Airbourne Command; Folly Quarter LLC's Bop; Carl Moore Management LLC's Brittanic; Mike Langford's Brown Eyed Major; and Owen Hulse's Silver Zipper.
Probable starters in the Eliza Stakes include Kenneth Mahler & Castle Rock Racing Stable's Belle of Perintown; Louie J. Roussel III's Diamonds To Me; Charles J. Reed's Home Run Hitter; and Thomas F. Van Meter's Nault.
Also likely for the Eliza: Nelson Bunker Hunt's Souris; Mike Tarp's Vibs; and E. G. Odette, F. J. McEwan & W. McEwan's Red Cell.
Possible starters for the Eliza include K. K. & Vilasini Jayaraman's Fabulous Brush and Tracy Farmer's Wildcat Annie.
Team Block's Ioya Forever, with three wins at the local oval this summer, is among those favored in this Sunday's feature attraction: the $42,000 Ioya Two Handicap, for fillies and mares at a mile and a sixteenth over the Arlington Park lawn.
Coincidentally, Ioya Forever is the younger half sister to the race's namesake, Ioya Two, who won the Grade III Modesty Handicap at Arlington in 2001.
Others going in Sunday's main event are Nancy A. Vanier's Cottage Rose; M. Y. Stables Inc.'s Dentons Baby; William Lloyd, Gerald Belpedio & Sam Belpedio's Ellie's Rose; Timothy Keeley's Out of Options; Frank C. Calabrese's Something Wicked; and Kimberlie Molinaro's Tay Laur.
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