|Arlington Park Barn Notes 06/18/03
In today's notes:
Bob & Beverly Lewis's Senor Swinger, now conditioned by Bob Baffert but formerly owned and trained by Chicagoans, is nominated to the Grade II Arlington Classic, presented by Woodford Reserve on June 28, but unlikely to make an appearance in the Mid-America Triple until the Grade I Secretariat Aug. 16.
Following his five and a half-length win in the Grade III Jefferson Cup at Churchill Downs June 7, Baffert made Senor Swinger eligible to the Classic and all three Mid-America Triple races before late nominations closed June 11.
"However, I think the Classic is a little too soon for him to come back," said Baffert, speaking over the phone from Southern California this week. "I'll probably go in that race at Colonial (Virginia Derby, July 12) next."
Assuming that plan remains in effect, Senor Swinger would also be unlikely to make an appearance in the Grade II American Derby, presented by Jack Daniel's, middle jewel of the Mid-America Triple on July 20.
"However, we're pointing for your big one," said Baffert, speaking of the Grade I Secretariat Stakes August 16. "I like to show up for the big ones when the trainers get a trophy and all that kind of thing."
The Secretariat will be contested along with the Grade I Arlington Million and Grade I Beverly D. during the one-day International Festival of Racing at Arlington Park.
Sam (Bake) Belpedio owns a bar on Milwaukee Avenue, and Gerry Belpedio is a Cook County Sheriff's Deputy, but both the father and son also own Thoroughbred horses, including a piece of Ellie's Rose, the defending champion in Saturday's Lincoln Heritage Handicap.
Ellie's Rose, trained by Michele Boyce, finished sixth in the $40,000 Reluctant Guest Handicap here May 24 in her first start of 2003, but the outing served as an excellent prep for a defense of her Lincoln Heritage title.
Both father and son, who were in attendance at Arlington on Father's Day, confirmed that they plan to return to Arlington for Saturday's Lincoln Heritage on Prairie State Festival Day.
"We'll be there with bells on," said Bake Belpedio, 76, who also plans to bring a group of 25 to 30 of his "Bake's on Milwaukee" patrons to watch Ellie's Rose run. "We hope she can win again. She's training good and she looks good."
Gerry Belpedio, 38, who works in the Cook County Court Building immediately south of Arlington Park on Euclid Avenue, joined his father as a horse owner about two years ago and explained how Ellie's Rose came into the barn.
"Michele makes all the decisions and she decided to claim her," said the younger Belpedio, "but we he had to 'outshake' eight other people to get her. Then Michele started running her long and on the turf and she's been paying for herself ever since."
Richard Otto Stables Inc.'s Summer Mis won the $86,750 Purple Violet Stakes for 3-year-old fillies bred in Illinois last year, but will leave that race to her younger half-sister Julie's Prize, also Otto-owned, during Saturday's upcoming Prairie State Festival Day.
However, in a surprising late development Wednesday, Summer Mis was named to Saturday's Isaac Murphy Handicap, another of the six Prairie State Festival stakes slated on that day. The move was somewhat unexpected because Summer Mis ran last weekend, finishing fourth in the Grade III Chicago Breeders' Cup Handicap.
"It's not something I'd normally do," said trainer Tony Mitchell of the back-to-back Saturday starts for Summer Mis, "but she's coming back from that last race real good, and this race coming up is restricted to Illinois-breds. That's a lot different than a Grade III stake."
When jockey Frank Lovato Jr. won the first half of Sunday's daily double aboard Estrorace.com's Lady's Room, he kept that ownership's charitable contributions coming to Arlington Park causes, and when Lovato won the second race astride Ron Shenofsky's Confess To Me, the jockey kept his winning streak with that owner-trainer intact and still undefeated over the last 24 years.
Immediately following Sunday's first race, Vicky Bernard, administrative assistant for Estrorace.com, called to inform Arlington's television personality Christine Gabriel of two donations to Arlington-endorsed causes.
In addition to a percentage of Lady's Room's earnings pledged to Mrs. Gabriel's "Riding for a Cure" program on behalf of cancer research, an additional percentage was pledged toward Arlington Chaplain Luis Peralta on behalf of the Arlington division of the Race Track Chaplaincy of America.
When Lovato annexed the second half of Sunday's daily double on Confess to Me, he continued a perfect record with that trainer begun in 1979.
That year, Lovato won one of the first five races in his riding career for Shenofsky aboard a horse named Scree at Thistledown on the outskirts of Cleveland, Ohio.
"They didn't have 10-pound 'bug' allowances in Ohio in those days," said Shenofsky, who also claimed the winner of Sunday's third race for his present-day Chicago stable, "but Frankie remembers it as one of the first five winners in his career. Since those days, I haven't been any place Frankie has been until this season, and Sunday, when he won aboard Confess to Me, he kept our perfect record intact."
Shenofsky has nominated Silent Charge to Saturday's White Oak Handicap on Prairie State Festival Day.
The band for Friday's Miller Lite Party In The Park is "9 Miles Band," an alternative rock group.
On Saturday, the "NTRA Summer Racing Tour on CBS" continues, along with the "NTRA Summer Pick 3." Saturday's NTRA Pick 3 races begin with the Grade I Ogden Phipps Handicap from Belmont Park in New York, with a post time of 4:12 p.m. CDT, continues with the Grade II Ohio Derby from Thistledown in Cleveland at 4:27, and concludes with the Dallas Turf Cup from Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie at 4:44. All three races will be shown on CBS from 4-5 p.m.
Kudos to groom Abel Mendez, who works for trainer Gene Cilio, on behalf of his award as Arlington Park's Groom of the Week. Mendez was presented with his award Sunday.
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