|Arlington Park Barn Notes 05/14/03
In today's notes:
Trainer Tony Mitchell has penciled successive Saturdays on his calendar for the next appearances of his two Illinois-bred equine half-sisters.
Richard Otto Stable Inc.'s Julie's Prize, best by a length and a quarter in Sunday's $40,000 Native Pet Handicap, returned from that outing in good order and will be pointed for the $75,000-added Purple Violet Stakes, part of the Prairie State Festival program at Arlington Park June 21.
Summer Mis, Julie's Prize's older half-sister also owned by Otto, trained by Mitchell, and winner of the last year's Purple Violet, could appear locally one week earlier in the $175,000-added Chicago Breeders' Cup Handicap June 14.
The Grade III Chicago Breeders' Cup Handicap is for fillies and mares, 3-years-old and upward at seven furlongs.
The Purple Violet, restricted to 3-year-old Illinois-bred fillies at one mile, is one of six stakes for state-breds on that day as Arlington Park helps celebrate Illinois' heritage.
"Julie's Prize came out of Sunday's race great, better than she came out of her previous start," said Mitchell Wednesday morning at Arlington, as he was putting Julie's Prize in a trailer for a short van ride to Hill 'N Dale Farm in Barrington Hills. "She's doing real well, but I'm going to give her a short vacation for a couple of weeks. I think a little bit of sun and grass right now will do her a lot of good. She's had two tough races back to back and has earned a little rest, but if she's doing well, I'd like to bring her back and point her toward the Purple Violet.
"I'd like to have Summer Mis ready for the Chicago Breeders' Cup Handicap," said Mitchell. "There is a prep race for her here on May 29, but I like to give her three weeks between her races so the timing isn't all that great for her.
"However, you have to play the cards you are dealt," Mitchell said, "so I'll be pointing her toward the prep race, see how she comes out of it, and cross that next bridge when I come to it. Summer Mis worked (Tuesday) in 1:01 1/5 and galloped out in 1:13, so she's coming along very well, but she's a flighty kind of filly, and I have to make sure both her mind and body are back on schedule before I run her.
"The two of them (both daughters of Julie Mis) are as different as night and day," Mitchell said. "Summer Mis can be kind of fragile, but Julie's Prize is all hickory. She'll go short or long, and she runs her eyeballs out every time."
Veteran Arlington Park jockey Ray Sibille, who joined the 4,000-win club three years ago, has successfully returned to the saddle from a compressed vertebrae injury that sidelined him from Jan. 2 until the closing days of the Hawthorne meeting, where he rode two winners.
Sibille won on the first day of racing at Arlington Park astride Darley Stud Management Inc.'s Absent Friend for trainer Eoin Harty.
"That's going to be a very nice horse," said Sibille of Absent Friend, a 3-year-old son of Runaway Groom out of a Fit to Fight mare. "I sure am glad that when I was riding in California, and Eoin Harty was an assistant trainer, that I was always nice to him."
Sibille rode a second Arlington Park winner on Sunday when he piloted Tom Tomillo Jr.'s Aller Baby to a score in the second race of the day.
Cruz Contreras, a Mexican-born apprentice rider enjoying his first season at the local oval, rode the first Arlington Park winner of his career when he guided Robert J. Neumeyer's JTL's Thunder Road to a tally in the fourth race Sunday for trainer Jimmy DiVito.
Contreras, who just turned 22, began riding quarter horses in Mexico at 14, and won five races at Hawthorne before coming to Arlington for the first weekend of racing.
"I was really happy to win my first race at Arlington," said Contreras on Wednesday. "I hope I can continue to improve and ride many more. It's a beautiful racetrack."
Advance wagering on Saturday's Preakness Stakes will be available from Pimlico on Friday at Arlington Park. On Saturday, fans will be able to wager through the national pool or locally in the Illinois wagering pool.
Friday's band at "Miller Lite Party In The Park" will be "Kato The Houseboy."
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