|Arlington Park Barn Notes 06/26/03
In today's notes:
Veteran trainer Gene Cilio has won training titles on the Illinois circuit, but never at Arlington Park. He came closest in 1995 when he dueled head-to-head with Harvey Vanier throughout the summer before eventually falling short by five winners in the last days of that abbreviated session.
Nevertheless, with two wins in last Saturday's Prairie State Festival, and two more again on Sunday's program, Cilio has snuck up silently on Arlington Park's defending champion Wayne Catalano, trailing "The Cat Man" by a single winner at the conclusion of Wednesday's program. Does Cilio see himself making a run at the training title at the end of the summer?
"I don't think so," said Cilio Thursday morning when asked about the trainers' race. "I'd need a few more claiming horses to have the kind of balanced stable you really need to have the most wins at the meeting. I've got some good horses like (R'n R Breeders) Act of War and (Peter Cappas, Founders Group & Crown's Way Farm's) Out of My Way, but there are only so many places you can run horses like that."
Out of My Way won Saturday's $84,150 White Oak Handicap on the main track, earning a $50,490 share of the purse. One race later, Act of War won the $86,150 Cardinal Handicap on the grass course, taking the $51,690 major portion of that sum.
"What I'd really like to do is win money-earned title," Cilio said. "That's what really interests me. Horses like those two have to run in stakes races or overnight handicaps, and there aren't that many opportunities, but I'd certainly rather run them here than have to ship them around the country in all this hot weather.
"I do have some good 2-year-olds this summer," Cilio said, "and when they start up I might be in a position to make a little run."
Ross Gilbert's Good Day Too, an Irish-bred colt who arrived from The Emerald Isle Sunday, breezed three furlongs in :37 2/5 Thursday morning at Arlington Park in advance of his projected start in Saturday' Grade II Arlington Classic, presented by Woodford Reserve.
Gilbert, born in Chicago, has lived in Southern California for almost half a century, but fondly recalled his first trip to Arlington Park more than 70 years ago.
"I can remember my parents taking me there when I was about five years old," Gilbert said over the phone from his home at Del Mar. "My father and mother were trying to decide whether to bet on a horse that had 'Davey' in his name, and I remember that the horse won."
Gilbert graduated from Senn High School, attended the University of Illinois, and graduated from the University of Chicago, but left "The Windy City" when drafted into the Army. As an infantryman, he fought in the Pacific as a young man, settled in Southern California with a Mercedes dealership in Beverly Hills after the war, and is now a retiree with a home within walking distance of "where the Turf meets the Surf at Del Mar."
Gilbert purchased Good Day Too, who was a close second to eventual 2000 Guineas winner Refuse To Bend two starts back at Leopardstown, on the advice of Irish turf advisor Tom Bunn, who had been contacted by Irish bloodstock agent Pat Neary.
"I bought him in Ireland with the intention of bringing him to Arlington for the Classic and the entire Mid-America Triple series," said Gilbert, "and I'm flying in Saturday for the race. It's been a long, long time since I've been there."
Also with a three-eighths breeze Thursday morning at Arlington was Team Valor's undefeated European, another Irish-bred, Irish-campaigned sophomore who accomplished the distance in :37 2/5 under the watchful eye of trainer Elliott Walden. Walden was in town for the move, but the Kentucky-born conditioner will be returning to Louisville for Saturday's Grade III Locust Grove Handicap to saddle South African champion Ipi Tombe, owned by Team Valor, WinStar Farm and Sunmark Partners, in her first American start prior to an assault on Arlington Park's Grade I Beverly D. on August 16.
WinStar Farm's Happily Unbridled, trained by Elliott Walden, is set to match strides with Martin Abt, Greg Derybowski & Hat Trick Racing Stable's Barney's Mistress, conditioned by Dee Poulos, as well as four other fillies and mares in Saturday's $45,900 Mariah's Storm Stakes at nine furlongs.
Happily Unbridled won Ellis Park's $100,000 H.B.P.A. Handicap last summer, while Barney's Mistress returns to Arlington after finishing third but beaten less than a length in Prairie Meadows' $50,000 Wild Rose Handicap June 14.
Completing the field are Nancy A. Vanier's Princess Paleface, Jere R. Smith Sr. & Norwood Ltd.'s Spirited Maiden, Nelson Bunker Hunt's Mckinney and Stonerside Stable's Desert Gold.
A "Beginner's Day" program for Arlington Park guests new to the sport of Thoroughbred racing will be held for the second time this season this Saturday with its new all-day format.
CBS2's Howard Sudberry and Arlington Park television personality Christine Gabriel will host the formal seminar from 12 noon to 12:30 p.m. in the Starting Gate Theatre, but Daily Herald handicapper Joe Kristufek will be available throughout the afternoon to assist those with questions who are looking for additional information on the sport.
New Beginner's Day attractions this Saturday include a basic terminology sheet to be handed out to all attendees, a briefing on four basic things to look at when handicapping and a contest for fans to see who can pick the most winners. Paddock tours will also be held, and a trip to the rail to learn how to read the tote board will also be part of the activities.
Kristufek will handicap most of the afternoon's races while horses for that particular race are in the paddock. Lessons will also be offered on how to use the self-service terminals (SSTs) at Arlington, and staffers will be available throughout the afternoon to answer specific questions.
Longtime Illinois-based trainer Paul Lewellyn saddled two winners Wednesday after having a total of four winners at Arlington during the 2002 season.
"I was hoping for a good day," said Lewellyn Thursday following his Wednesday double.
"We dropped (Dale Schenian & Will Carlson's) Best of Class from special weights into a race with a $12,500 tag, so that helped him, and the filly (Jeffrey Richards' Alina Alina) has been running well on both turf and dirt. She's very versatile."
Defending Arlington jockey champion and current leading rider Rene Douglas rode two winners Wednesday, taking the fourth with Darrell & Evelyn Yates' Freddie's Folly for conditioner Pat Mitchell and the seventh with Robert Asaro Enterprises Inc.'s Image for trainer Steve Asmussen.
Veteren reinsman Marlon St. Julien also rode two winners, taking the second with Lauren M. Smith's Go Go Hasty for trainer Jere R. Smith Sr. and the third with Wayne Bessler's My Buddy Sid for conditioner Dale Bennett.
Groom of the Week this week was Ignagcia Canteria of the Wayne Catalano Stable.
Friday's Miller Lite Party in the Park band is "A Kangaroo Court," an "alternative" band.
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