|Arlington Park Barn Notes 07/12/03
In today's notes:
Stonecrest Farm's Perfect Drift, winner of the Grade I Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs in his last trip to the post June 14, was clocked in :50 2/5 for a half-mile at Trackside Louisville Saturday morning in preparation for his scheduled start in the Grade II Washington Park Handicap at Arlington Park July 19.
Trainer Murray Johnson clocked Perfect Drift in 1:03 for five furlongs and had him galloping out three-quarters in 1:13 and change.
"He went the first half a little slow," said Johnson over the phone from Louisville, "but he finished full of run. He's fit, so I was pleased with the work. He looks fantastic. We're there."
Johnson, born in Melbourne, Australia, but a resident of Louisville since 1991, plans to gallop Perfect Drift Wednesday and ship to Chicago Thursday, depending on the weather. The bay gelding, third in last year's Kentucky Derby, will walk Friday and also school in the Arlington Park paddock.
In the Stephen Foster, Perfect Drift came from off the pace to outgame the highly regarded Mineshaft by a head in the drive to the wire. Mineshaft, owned by William S. Farish, Temple Webber Jr. & James Elkins, came back from that defeat to capture the Grade I Suburban Handicap at Belmont Park July 5, and is currently tied for second among American horses in the World Thoroughbred Ranking's Classic division.
The Washington Park Handicap, which carries $400,000 purse, will be the richest race of the Arlington season to date. Although it is contested on the main track, Johnson plans to use the mile and three-sixteenths event as a prep for the grassy Grade I Arlington Million at a mile and a quarter August 16. Perfect Drift was a close fourth in Churchill's Grade I Woodford Reserve on Kentucky Derby Day in his last outing over the lawn May 3.
"We're coming to win when we run in the Washington Park," said Johnson, "but the Million is the summertime goal. He's very talented, and it's very exciting to have a horse like this who can run on both surfaces. It gives us some great options and allows us to space out his races a little better and give him four weeks before the Million."
The theme of Sunday's Pepsi Family Day presented by the Daily Herald will be "Christmas In July," and will highlight master magician John Measner combining magic and illusion with holiday costume and audience participation.
However, Arlington Park and PepsiAmericas have now reached an agreement for a five-year sponsorship renewal that will extend through 2008, it was announced this week.
Under the terms of the multi-year agreement, Pepsi will continue as the title sponsor of Pepsi Family Days, and starting with the current Arlington Park season, those days will include special themed activities for children each Sunday. A science theme on July 20 and a carnival theme on July 27 will complete this month's Pepsi Family Day schedule.
Also, Arlington Park will be featured for four weeks on Diet Pepsi and Pepsi can panels twice and on an on-pack promotional panel with the track's logo and schedule of events during each year of the contract.
Winners of Arlington Park's "Frequent Starter Rewards Program" during the second time period from June 7-July 6 have been announced by Frank G. Gabriel Jr., executive vice president of racing and racing secretary at Arlington.
Trainer Nick Perez started 9 horses to win Category 1 (1-5 stalls), with a tie for second between Ida Spagnola and Gus Zissides, who saddled eight horses during the time period.
Conditioner Alvin Sider, with 14 starters, won Category 2 (6-12 stalls). Second in Category 2 with 12 starters was Robert Gorham and third was Pat Mitchell with 12.
Category 3 (13-19 stalls) was captured by Eusebio Razo Sr. with 18 starters (winning a tie-breaker with more starters in the money). Second in that group, also with 18 starters, was Charlie Livesay, and third was Mike Dini with 16 starters.
Michele Boyce captured Category 4 (20-29 stalls) with 29 starters, with Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas second with 20 and Don Von Hemel third with 16.
Chris Block won Category 5 (30-39 stalls) with 36 starters. Finishing second behind Block was Tom Dorris with 31 (winning the tie-breaker), while third was Ron Goodridge, also with 31 starters.
Frank Kirby captured Category 6 (40 stalls and higher) with 42 starters, followed by Gene Cilio with 38 (winning a tie-breaker), and Harvey Vanier in third, also with 38 starters.
Sunday's Junior Jockey Club theme is "ReRun Day," when children can learn some of the positive things can happen to a Thoroughbreds when their race days are over. Members will get to meet a retired Thoroughbred and learn about volunteering to care for retired Thoroughbreds.
Jockey Eddie (Red Hot) Razo Jr., currently third in the Arlington Park jockey standings, had a riding double Friday, winning the sixth race with Thomas J. Stepan's Crowd Watcher for trainer Tony Granitz and the seventh with Kenneth Maier & Henry Maier's Toast The Host for conditioner Chris Block.
Jockey Carlos H. Marquez Jr. also had a riding double Friday, opening the program with a score aboard Charles J. Sigrest & Moises R. Yanez's Hello My Friend for trainer Yanez and then closing it with a win astride Hugh Robertson & Stanley Gacek's Mad Mac for conditioner Robertson.
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