|Arlington Park Barn Notes 06/20/03
In today's notes:
Barry Golden's Bannock Burner breezed a half-mile in :49 2/5 over the Arlington Park turf course Wednesday with the "dogs" up well out from the rail, leading to speculation that the undefeated 3-year-old might be going to the post in the Grade II Arlington Classic, presented by Woodford Reserve on June 28.
The Classic, observing its 69th renewal this year, serves as the first leg of Arlington Park's Mid-America Triple, a grass series for sophomores that continues with the Grade II American Derby, presented by Jack Daniel's on July 20 and concludes with the Grade I Secretariat as part of the International Festival of Racing on Arlington Million Day, August 16.
"We're considering it," said Bannock Burner's trainer Mike Stidham on Friday when asked if the Arlington Classic was on the agenda. "We're not definite."
Bannock Burner, a gray/roan colt by 1996 Breeders' Cup Classic winner Alphabet Soup, has only made two starts in his career, breaking his maiden over the main course by four and a half lengths on Arlington's opening day, May 9, in a six-furlong sprint, and then coming back to win over the local lawn June 6 by a head when going about a mile and a sixteenth.
"I thought he actually did a little better on the dirt," said Stidham, "which is part of the reason we still haven't made a decision. He did fine in his turf work the other day, but he's still only had one start on turf so we'll probably wait until entry day (June 25) to make a decision on the Classic."
Stidham had just returned from a brief mid-week trip to California to attend his daughter's graduation.
"It was only from the 6th grade," Stidham said, "but I had to make the event."
Team Valor, WinStar Farm & Sunmark Partners' Ipi Tombe, South Africa's champion mare who is nominated to both the Grade I Beverly D. and the Grade I Arlington Million on August 16, worked at Churchill Downs Thursday while preparing for her American debut.
Ipi Tombe breezed five furlongs in 1:00 3/5 over the firm turf course with the "dogs" up, with jockey Pat Day aboard for the move. The four-time Arlington jockey champion will ride the Zimbabwe-bred mare when she makes her first start since her impressive victory over males in the Grade I Dubai Duty Free at Nad al Sheba on March 29, Dubai World Cup Day.
Ipi Tombe, who has been trained by Elliott Walden since April 4, is being considered for Churchill's Grade III Locust Grove for her first start. Walden, also a multiple winner in Arlington's Mid-America Triple, has Team Valor's European penciled in for a start in the Arlington Classic on that same day.
Jockey Tim Doocy, who rode the 4,000th winner of his career at Arlington Park three years ago, returned to the local oval for the first time since 2001 to ride CresRan LLC's Sue's Good News to a four and a half-length victory in Thursday's eighth race.
The sophomore daughter of Woodman out of an Easy Goer mare remains undefeated in four trips to the post, but had been idle since capturing Oaklawn's $75,000 Instant Racing Breeders' Cup at Oaklawn on April 12, Arkansas Derby Day. Doocy, a two-time riding champion at Oaklawn, has been riding at Lone Star Park and is heading to Louisiana Downs for their meeting, but is the only rider who has ever ridden Sue's Good News and came to Arlington specifically for Thursday's race.
"Steve (trainer Hobby) told me some time ago that he had a special filly he was saving for me," Doocy said following Thursday's winning effort. "She's real special. In fact, the first time I ever rode her, I came back to the winner's circle and told Mitzi (Hobby's wife), 'You told me she could run but you didn't tell me she could talk.'
"Mitzi asked me what I meant by that," Doocy continued, "and I said, 'When we were pulling up the filly told me, 'I hope you get to keep riding me.' So wherever she goes, I want to go, too."
To create awareness for the needs of the Jockeys' Guild's Disabled Jockeys' Endowment, Arlington Park jockeys will conduct a free autograph session in the paddock from noon to 1 p.m. this Saturday during Arlington's Prairie State Festival Day.
The Jockeys' Guild's Disabled Jockeys' Endowment "provides the long-term fiscal stability that allows the Jockeys' Guild to continue to provide financial assistance to both permanently disabled and temporarily disabled members of the Jockeys' Guild."
Jockey E. T. Baird swept the daily double at Arlington Park Thursday, taking the opener aboard Von Jay Spreck's Double Airs for trainer Larry Rivelli and the second race astride Rita's Picc, owned by Bob Reddick and trained by Odin Londono Jr.
Jockey Larry Sterling Jr. then came back in the third and fourth races of the afternoon with his own double, taking the third with Crown's Way Farm's Oggi for conditioner Gene Cilio and the fourth with Richard A. Englander's Rich Search for trainer Michael Reavis.
Trainer Gene Cilio saddled a training double, winning with Oggi and then again in the finale with Richard L. Duchossois' Square Wheels with Curt Bourque aboard.
Arlington-based owner Avers Wexler had his colors represented in the winner's circle at Belmont Park Thursday in the eighth race aboard Danceinthestreets. It was the third straight New York win for Danceinthestreets, who is trained by Frank LaBoccetta Jr. and was ridden by Javier Castellano.
Arlington Park will be taking the Thistledown/River Downs card and the Suffolk Downs card on Saturday this week only.
The Grade II Ohio Derby will go to the post at Thistledown at 4:27 p.m. CDT.
The James B. Moseley Breeders' Cup Handicap from Suffolk has a 4:52 p.m. CDT post.
A reminder that the NTRA Summer Pick 3 is also offered again this Saturday, with Ogden Phipps Handicap from Belmont at 4:12 p.m., the Ohio Derby from Thistledown at 4:27 p.m., and the Dallas Turf Cup from Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie at 4:44 p.m.
A week from Saturday, on June 28, Arlington Park joins the NTRA Summer Pick 3 and the NTRA Summer Racing Tour with the 69th running of the Grade II Arlington Classic.
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