|Arlington Park Barn Notes 06/28/03
In today's notes:
Ronnie Lamarque's Bright Valour, with a win in Sunday's featured event at Arlington, could become the first three-time winner of the Grade III Hanshin Cup, a race once known as the Equipoise Mile.
The 7-year-old Bright Valour was the adjudged winner in 2000 following a disqualification, captured the event outright in 2001, did not compete last year and almost passed on Sunday's renewal when trainer Louie Roussel III considered sending him from Chicago to New York for the Grade II Tom Fool Handicap July 4.
Roussel's In Secure, a sophomore filly who leaves Arlington Monday for the Grade I Prioress at Belmont on America's Birthday, would have had a more cost-efficient journey had Bright Valour been her travel companion, but Roussel's Arlington assistant Lara Van Deren will be pleased to saddle Bright Valour here in the Hanshin Cup instead.
"Bright Valour loves this track so much," said Van Deren, "and because he won this race a couple of years ago Louie decided to let him stay here. As for In Secure, she'll fly out early Monday morning, which will be a lot easier on her than a 16-hour van ride."
However, even if Bright Valour wins the 2003 edition of the Hanshin after being declared the winner in 2000, he will not hold or establish a record gap between wins of the historic stakes. Equifox won the inaugural renewal of the Equipoise Mile at Arlington as a 4-year-old in 1941, and returned to win a division of the same stakes as an 8-year-old in 1945 when it was run at Washington Park.
Richard L. Duchossois' Apt to Be, second to Bright Valour in the Hanshin Cup in 2001, and Richard F. Rudolph's Castlewood, third to those two, are challengers once again after that trio's two-year hiatus. Oddly, none of the three ran in the event last year but all are coming off winning efforts at the current meeting.
Bright Valour is a winner of his last two starts, most recently at Arlington May 17, Apt to Be won his last test in the $46,800 Dr. Fager Stakes at Arlington July 7, and Castlewood, a victor in his last three straight, most recently visited the local winner's circle on June 4.
Stewart M. Madison's Ask the Lord, a contestant in Sunday's Grade III Hanshin Cup at Arlington's one-turn, one-mile distance, is returning to competition after a layoff of more than 12 weeks. The Kentucky-bred gelding ran fourth, beaten five lengths in his last trip to the post April 9 in Oaklawn's Grade III Fifth Season Breeders' Cup Stakes.
"We just decided to give him a little breather," said trainer Albert Stall Jr. "There was nothing wrong with him. He's always run well at Arlington Park, and this appeared like a good spot to bring him back."
Ask the Lord won over a sloppy oval at Arlington going the mile last August 22, but also won at a mile and an eighth here Sept. 29. Stall was asked what distance he preferred.
"Anywhere between a mile and a mile and an eighth," Stall said. "He's always been a consistent day-in-day-out kind of horse. He's by Lord At War, who is usually considered a turf sire, and Ask the Lord has won over the grass in his career, but as he has gotten older, he seems to take more after the female side of his family (out of the Slew o'Gold mare Acquisitive). He seemed to get a little bit finicky about which kind of turf course he liked best, so after a couple of rainouts when his scheduled turf races were transferred to the main track, we just decided to keep him there."
The second "Breakfast At Arlington" program of the 2003 season was conducted under sunny skies Saturday morning and attracted upwards of 300 spectators to hear Arlington television personality Christine Gabriel, Arlington announcer John G. Dooley and their guests.
Saturday's Breakfast guests were jockeys Eusebio Razo Jr. and Marlon St. Julien, currently in a battle for third position in the local standings, as well as trainer Tony Mitchell.
The inaugural edition of Arlington's popular Breakfast program May 31 attracted more than 200 visitors despite being compromised by inclement weather.
Jockey Tommy Molina had a riding double Friday, winning the second astride Sefapianos Miss for Sefa's Farm and trainer Brenda Hill, and the finale aboard Tom Dorris & Rich Morawski's Ellie's Choice for trainer Dorris.
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