|Arlington Park Barn Notes 05/31/03
In today's notes:
Miss Swain is only a 2-year-old filly who was making her first lifetime start in a four and a half-furlong dash Friday, but her stretch run made observers remember her father's most famous race in the United States.
The difference? She won hers by a nose at Arlington Park while finishing near the outside fence. Her sire Swain didn't win his at Churchill Downs in the 1998 Breeders' Cup Classic. His angular path caused him to finish third beaten a length for all of it in that Grade I race at 10 furlongs.
Despite her royal bloodlines, Miss Swain, who is out of the Sadler's Wells mare Revonda, returned a $61.40 win price, surprising not only the fans but her trainer Jeff Lynn.
"She was just a 2-year-old who was ready to run, so I entered her to give her a little education," said Lynn, who was winning his first race of the young Arlington season. "I was just going along with her. She's bred to go a mile on the grass, so actually I hadn't planned on her running really well until the distances got longer on the grass later in the summer, but 2-year-old races on the grass are few and far between, so maybe better things are ahead. Now, I've got my eye on a little stakes race in Minnesota July 12 (Canterbury Park Lassie) that I've won before.
"Winning yesterday was unexpected," said Lynn. "She works okay in the mornings, but she's never blown anybody away. She's very intelligent, but she's got grass action, and I wouldn't have been too shocked if she'd have gotten beat 15 or 20 lengths.
"As for the way she ran in the lane, she's never done anything like that before," said Lynn, 39, who grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, and started working for trainer T. V. Smith as a youngster. "Larry Sterling (Miss Swain's jockey) did a good job keeping her going. She's a little green, and she had to eat a little bit of dirt the first part of it, so maybe when she got out there and saw all that open space she just wasn't sure what to do."
Miss Swain, purchased at Keeneland last year for $20,000, is only one of two horses owner E. R. "Spike" Meyer bought in that particular sale with the advice of Lynn. The other, a Royal Academy filly who they considered to be a future star, died of acute E.P.M. a couple of months ago.
"I'm still not over that," said Lynn. "You just never know. A lot of bad things can happen to good horses, but if I can hold this one together I think her future is longer and on the grass. If I allow myself to think really big, maybe I could run her in some of the 3-year-old stakes here at Arlington next year."
One race after Miss Swain lit up the tote board at $61.40, Marc Goldish & Savoy Stable (John Santina's) Only You won Arlington's fifth race Friday by a length and three-quarters and returned a win payoff of $52.60 in the middle leg of a Pick 3 wager.
Only You was saddled by trainer David Paulus, who was registering his first victory of the local season as well as his first on the Illinois circuit.
"I didn't even know where Chicago was until I got here," joked Paulus, 46, who is based in Northern Kentucky and is the son of longtime Florida-based trainer Richard Paulus. The younger Paulus, who comes to Arlington following a leaner than usual winter at Gulfstream, is looking forward to a successful summer locally with a 16-horse string.
"This game is like a big circle," said Paulus, who has been quite successful with young horses during portions of his 15-year career as a trainer. "It all comes back to you. Right now, I have really solid owners that stay with you, so it's a good feeling to win for them. I think we'll have a real fun summer. John Santina is a super-nice guy who loves this business and we've been lucky together. Brent Fernung, farm manager at Cloverleaf Farm, works with our horses on the farm. He sends them to me when they're ready for the races, and when they're not doing as well as they should be, I send them back to him. It's really a team effort all the way around."
Chicago trainer Tom Tomillo, very familiar to Illinois racing fans with numerous titles at Hawthorne and Sportsman's, saddled his third winner at the current Arlington session when Joel Stable's Garrard took the sixth race Friday with a $32 straight mutuel.
The Pick 3 combining Miss Swain, Only You and Garrard paid a season high $8,667 based on a $1 wager. Arlington's all-time record high Pick 3, based on a $2 wager, was recorded on June 11, 1990 when Presidential, Kuh Kuh Katy and Golden Pocket combined for a $21,775.40 payoff.
Based on a $2 wager, Friday's Pick 3 would have paid $17,334.
Veteran Arlington Park trainer Gene Cilio celebrated his 74th birthday twice Friday when he took the last two races of the day with Crown's Way Farm's Lil' Joe in the eighth and Crown's Way's Octagon in the ninth.
Cilio operates Crown's Way Farm with his brother Ron DiCicilia. Together the two Cilio winners combined for a $29.80 late daily double.
However, also with the two late Friday winners, Cilio moved into a lone second-place position in the Arlington trainer standings with six winners. While well behind the pace of leading trainer Wayne Catalano, who has saddled 14 winners through Friday, Cilio did move into the top spot in purse earnings, $900 ahead of Catalano.
Asiel Stable's Classic Appeal, who won the $122,000 Chicagoland Handicap at last asking April 12 at Hawthorne, will shoulder racing secretary and handicapper Frank Gabriel Jr.'s top impost of 122 pounds in Sunday's $40,000 Zen Handicap.
The seven-furlong test, for 3-year-olds and up that are enrolled in the Illinois program, is a prep for Arlington Park's upcoming Prairie State Festival June 21, and has drawn a field of nine older horses.
Jockey Larry Sterling Jr. had a riding double on Friday at Arlington to join trainer Gene Cilio in registering two winners on the twilight racing program. Sterling scored with both Miss Swain for Paulus and Octagon for Cilio.
- END -