|Arlington Park Barn Notes 07/4/03
In today's notes:
Steven W. Fish & Chris Bukowiecki's North of Six, one of nine slated for Saturday's Grade III Stars and Stripes Breeders' Cup Turf, won't be one of the favorites in that mile and a half marathon over Arlington's world-famous grass course, but is certainly worthy of some consideration.
"He kind of likes the mile and a half," said Bukowiecki, a former veterinarian who doubles as North of Six's conditioner. "He won going a mile and a half at Gulfstream during the winter, and I ran him back in the (Grade II) Pan American at that distance but he got a bad ride.
"Actually, this horse has been prone to bad rides during his career," Bukowiecki said, "but I know Frankie Lovato really liked the way this horse went when he worked him the other day, and he's a very experienced rider so he should do well on him. I think this horse has an excellent shot Saturday."
In the Pan American Handicap, Gulfstream's traditional grass test contested March 22, North of Six was shuffled toward the rail shortly after the start and was unable get running room. The Kentucky-bred 4-year-old finished seventh beaten a little more than six lengths.
When last sent to the post June 5 at Arlington going a mile on the grass, North of Six came from well off the pace to win by a neck in the last strides.
Three Kings Stable's Extra Check went to the post at 8-1 in last year's Grade II American Derby at Arlington Park and finished third beaten only a length and a half for all of it.
Unconvinced by that solid outing, racing fans dismissed Extra Check once again at 15-1 in Arlington's Grade I Secretariat and he finished third once again, beaten a length and a quarter by the winner.
"He's doing real well right now," said trainer Mike Stidham of Extra Check, who will be making his first start of 2003 in the Grade III Stars and Stripes Breeders' Cup Turf after finishing fifth in the $100,000 Woodchopper Handicap at the Fair Grounds Dec. 28. "He's been training very well lately."
Extra Check has a history of running well off a long layoff. After making his first start as a 3-year-old on Jan. 4, 2002, the gelding was away from the races until July 6 at Arlington when he won by a nose going a mile and a sixteenth on the grass.
"We decided to take a shot Saturday," said Stidham. "Obviously, he's in a bit of a tough spot, but we know he loves this turf course, and we'll be happy with any part of the purse we can get."
Paul Cumberland's Scooter Roach, the longest shot in the morning line for Saturday's Grade III Stars and Stripes Breeders' Cup Turf at a mile and a half on the grass, is an altered son of Mi Cielo, an increasingly successful Conquistador Cielo stud.
Conquistador Cielo won the Grade I Belmont Stakes at the mile and a half distance in 1982, so Scooter Roach's bloodlines should work in his favor.
Scooter Roach finished third in the Prairie State Festival's Cardinal Handicap June 21, but was subsequently placed second after the disqualification of the second horse under the wire.
"We were definitely interfered with," said Scooter Roach's trainer Michele Boyce when asked about her horse's trip in the Cardinal. "It was a good effort by Scooter Roach that day. I'm not sure we could have beaten the winner, but I think we could have been second on our own. I'm proud of the way Scooter Roach has come around. Physically, he's very good right now."
Golden Racing Stable's Bannock Burner, undefeated in two career starts -- one on the main track and one on the grass -- faces his toughest task to date in Saturday's $40,000 Native Dancer Handicap at a mile and an eighth on the main track.
William K. and Suzanne Warren Jr.'s El Ruller, the Native Dancer 'Cap morning line favorite, finished second to Canada's highly regarded Wando in the Grade III Marine Stakes at Woodbine in his last trip to the post May 17.
Richard S. & Nancy R. Kaster's Dance Pro, second choice on the morning line for the Native Dancer, was fourth in Turfway's $100,000 Rushaway March 22 and fifth in his last start in Churchill's $100,000 Northern Dancer June 14.
Completing the Native Dancer Handicap field are B. Wayne Hughes' Grendel; Three Diamonds Stable's Megoman, and Robert B. & Beverly J. Lewis's Arbitrate.
Jockey Rene Douglas, Arlington Park's riding champion in 2001 and 2002, made a significant stride to his third straight championship Thursday by becoming the first jockey to ride four winners in a single program at Arlington this season.
Douglas took the second race Thursday aboard Frank C. Calabrese's Biorhythm for trainer Wayne Catalano, the fourth on James & Ywachetta Driver's Red Wildcat for conditioner Jerry Calvin, the seventh astride Patricia Shenofsky's Spur Creek for trainer Ron Shenofsky, and the finale on Dogwood Stable's Skiperoo for conditioner Rebecca Maker.
Jockey Marlon St. Julien rode two winners Thursday, taking the opener with first time starter Brodnicki, owned by Ken Spraggins & Jupiter Farm Limited and trained by Spraggins. St. Julien came back to capture the eighth race with Louie J. Roussel III's A Genius for Place, who is also trained by his owner.
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