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Arlington Park Barn Notes 06/22/03

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In today's notes:


Veteran trainer Gene Cilio, who saddled the winners of the last two races in Saturday's Prairie State Festival, reported all was well with all members of his Prairie State band Sunday morning while accepting congratulations during training hours.

"Everybody came back fine and I'm very pleased," said Cilio, who registered his second Prairie State double in the last three years of the Illinois festival's day at Arlington Park. "When you have a lot of Illinois-breds, that's the kind of day you look for."

R'n R Breeders' Act of War trailed the field in the early part of Saturday's $86,150 Cardinal Handicap, last of six stakes races on the Prairie State program, but closed outside rivals in the stretch to tally by two lengths in the mile and a sixteenth test on the grass. One race earlier, Peter Cappas, Founders Group & Crown's Way Farm's Out of My Way came from just off the early pace to capture the $84,150 White Oak Handicap by three and a half.

"She'll get a layoff now of at least a month," said Cilio of Out of My Way. "She needs some time between her races. Act of War will also get a little time off and then we'll start looking for something for him at a mile and an eighth on the turf."

Peter Stamas, Marovich Ent LLC & Crown's Way Farm's Soccory, third in the $84,600 Lincoln Heritage Handicap for Cilio Saturday, will race the rest of this season and then be retired for a new career as a broodmare, the trainer indicated.

Crown's Way Farm's Gracility, fourth in the $84,550 Isaac Murphy Handicap for Cilio, will be pointed for an overnight stakes or an allowance race, and the trainer indicated that R'n R Breeders II's Roy's Trigger, sixth in the $86,800 Springfield Stakes, will be tried next in a two-turn grass test.


Barr Three LLC's Kate the Great and Ellie's Rose, owned by Gerry & Sam (Babe) Belpedio, William Lloyd & Cherrywood Racing Stable II, finished first and second respectively, two and a half lengths apart, in Saturday's $84,600 Lincoln Heritage Handicap for Illinois-bred fillies and mares at a mile and a sixteenth on the grass Saturday.

Both the filly and the mare, each conditioned by Michele Boyce, were doing well Sunday morning, the trainer assured.

"It was a good day," said Boyce Sunday of her one-two punch. "We were covered on both ends. If Kate the Great hadn't gotten loose, we had 'Ellie' to come from out of it, but no one challenged Kate the Great so she had things to her advantage. I haven't looked for other races for them because we like to book a little space between their starts.

"I was especially proud of Scooter Roach," Boyce said, speaking of the Paul Cumberland color bearer who finished third in the $86,150 Cardinal Handicap. "He has developed quite a bit since I claimed him and I thought he ran a magnificent race Saturday. He kicked in really hard at the end and I'm proud of the way he closed. I think he likes the turf a little better and that's what I'll look for next.

"Major Omansky (seventh in the Cardinal for Cherrywood Racing Stable II) was in a little too tough," Boyce said, "but I thought we'd give it a shot and he gave everything he had. We're all dreamers. That's why we're in this game."


Richard Otto Stables Inc.'s Summer Mis came from just off the pace to draw clear for a length and a quarter tally in Saturday's $84,550 Isaac Murphy Handicap. One race earlier, her half sister Julie's Prize, also owned by Otto, finished second by a length in the $86,450 Purple Violet Stakes.

The siblings are each trained by Tony Mitchell, and along with all the Mitchell Prairie State Festival contestants, came back well and continued to do well Sunday morning.

"I thought Summer Mis ran superbly," said Mitchell. "She just continues to amaze me. I don't normally run horses back that quickly (Summer Mis ran fourth in the Grade III Chicago Breeders' Cup one week earlier), but my gut said to do it and she came out of the race very well. She'll get a rest, now.

"Julie is mad as hell," said Mitchell of Julie's Prize, Summer Mis's younger half-sister who had to settle for second. "Unfortunately, she didn't get the racing room she needed. But I don't want to take anything away from the winner (the Chris Block-trained Keeping the Gold). Chris always does a good job with his horses and he has a very nice filly there that beat us."

Otto's Natural Image, sixth in the Purple Violet, will return to sprinting, and King Magic, 11th in the Springfield for Otto, has a future as yet undecided, according to Mitchell.

"I do want to thank my crew for doing such a neat job," said Mitchell. "They had a rough day, with the three races we were in all coming back-to-back, but they brought everyone over without a hitch."


Tom Fedro, Darrell & Sadie Brommer's Keeping the Gold made or forced the pace throughout in the $86,450 Purple Violet Stakes Saturday to give trainer Chris Block his lone Prairie State Festival victory in 2003. Two years ago, Block and trainer Gene Cilio both saddled training doubles on the Illinois-bred stakes day.

However, Keeping the Gold, as well as that partnership's He's Hammered and Team Block's Mystery Giver, all trained by Block, returned well and were doing well Sunday morning.

"She (Keeping the Gold) ran a very courageous race," Block said. "She had all that pressure up front but she was doing it easy on the backside and allowed Eddie (jockey Razo) to settle her. She's a classy filly, and I was happy to see her handle the pressure as well as she did.

"Mystery Giver (who finished second but was disqualified and placed ninth) came back fine," Block said of the rough trip experienced by the Illinois Horse of the Year in 2002. "We should have come down. He wiped out the horse next to him. He was handled aggressively from the start, and once you do that with that horse, you're in trouble.

"He's Hammered was closer to the pace than we thought he'd be," Block said. "The pace was just too hot for him."


William Pacella, Ronald T. Schwed & Joe Rizza's Wiggins, unhurried early, launched a bold bid when set down for the drive to capture Saturday's $86,800 Springfield Stakes for Illinois-bred 3-year-olds at one mile by an ever widening five lengths.

"It was a big day," said trainer Tony Granitz. "He came back super and was going good this morning. He ate up last night and I'm very proud of the way he handled himself. I haven't looked ahead for another race for him. We were concentrating on getting through yesterday."


  Jockey Eddie Razo Jr had a riding double Saturday aboard Keeping the Gold and Wiggins.

  Hall of Fame jockey Earlie Fires also rode two winners, taking the third with James E. Helzer's Shah Jehan for trainer D. Wayne Lukas and then winning with Kate the Great.

  Veteran Curt Bourque had a double aboard Out of My Way and Act of War.

  Jockey Marlon St. Julien also rode two winners, taking the opener on Russell L. Reineman Stable Inc.'s Old Dixie Home for trainer Harvey Vanier and the finale astride Wilmott Stables Inc.'s Purple Hills for trainer Richie Scherer.

- END -



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