|Arlington Park Barn Notes 07/17/03
In today's notes:
Jer-Mar Stables LLC's Scottago, whose best grass outings have come when he was able to unleash a late run, was a victim of a pedestrian pace in the Grade II Arlington Classic, presented by Woodford Reserve, the first leg of Arlington's Mid-America Triple run June 28 at a mile and a sixteenth.
The sophomore son of the good turf sire Lear Fan closed to gain the fourth spot in that grass test, and would seem likely to benefit from the added eighth of a mile in Sunday's Grade II American Derby, presented by Jack Daniel's, middle leg of the Chicago turf triple.
To be contested for the 89th time Sunday, the American Derby is the oldest stakes run at Arlington Park.
"I don't think it (the extra distance) will hurt," said trainer Hugh Robertson, when asked about Scottago's chances for an improved run in the American Derby, "You never really know until they do it, but he's given every indication he'll go on.
"However, what he mainly needs is a legitimate pace up front," said Robertson, "and it seems like there never is in these grass races here this year."
Robertson, of course, demonstrated his knowledge of pace scenario several years ago when he campaigned the front-running Polar Expedition to capture numerous "Illinois Horse of the Year" titles.
"He ran fine in the Classic, and I was pleased with his work the other day," said Robertson, speaking of Scottago's five-furlong breeze in 1:01 2/5 at Arlington last Sunday, "but if there isn't a legitimate pace this Sunday, he won't win."
Kentucky trainer Hal Wiggins will be multitasking when he journeys from Louisville to Chicago this weekend.
Primarily, the 60-year-old condition is coming to Arlington Park to saddle Dolphus Morrison's Rapid Proof in Sunday's Grade II American Derby, presented by Jack Daniel's, middle leg of Arlington's Mid-America Triple.
However, Wiggins and wife Renee will also drive north on I-65 with a U-Haul, bringing a load of furniture for his son Lon, an increasingly active Arlington-based conditioner.
The junior Wiggins and his wife Robin are planning to close on a house purchase in Arlington Heights, Illinois, Friday, so the weekend family gathering has the potential for a double celebration.
"Assuming everything goes right with the closing, we're looking forward to a wonderful weekend," Wiggins said. "We always look forward to coming to Arlington to run a horse because we've always been treated so well there, and I would think Rapid Proof is in a position to give a good performance for us. He ran an okay race for us in the Classic."
Rapid Proof was void of early foot in the Grade II Arlington Classic, presented by Woodford Reserve, but closed willingly to be fifth, a nose behind Scottago, in the mile and sixteenth event. The Classic was the first leg of the 2003 Mid-America Triple. The $250,000 American Derby is contested at a mile and three-sixteenths, and the third and final leg, the Grade I Secretariat, will be run at 10 furlongs over Arlington's world famous turf course August 16.
The $400,000 Secretariat is also part of Arlington's one-day International Festival of Racing. The Arlington Million, centerpiece of the Chicago Thoroughbred season, and its sister race, the $700,000 Beverly D. will be contested that same afternoon. Together the three grassy classics are the only Grade I races offered in Illinois.
Veteran Illinois reinsman Eusebio Razo Jr. moved into a tie for second position in the Arlington Park standings this season with a riding "hat trick" Wednesday.
The red-hot Razo, enjoying his best season in more than two decades at Arlington Park, was recording his fifth riding triple at Arlington in 2003. The 37-year-old native of Mexico City also had a four-win day here July 6.
At the conclusion of Wednesday's program, Razo had visited the winner's circle 41 times to tie Curt Bourque for second position in the 2003 standings.
Leading rider Rene Douglas, the defending champion at Arlington for the last two years, had 58 winners through Wednesday,
Razo's triple began in the second race with a score aboard Frank C. Calabrese's Gweniveve, trained by Pat Cuccurullo. He won the fifth with B & A Stable LLC & Frank Adolph LLC's Albert E. for conditioner Alvin Sider, and concluded his three-win afternoon with a score on Barry Mangold & Mike Maloney's Party On for trainer Tom Amoss in the eighth race.
On Thursday, 3rd Turn Stable's Honor in War, winner of the Grade I Woodford Reserve at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day, May 3, breezed three-quarters on the turf course at Arlington Park with the "dogs" up, accomplishing the distance in 1:16 under Ray Sibille. Honor in War, trained by Paul McGee, is being prepared for a start in the Grade III Arlington Handicap July 26.
The Miller Lite Party In The Park band this Friday is "Tumbleweed," which features Sixties and Seventies rock.
On Saturday, Arlington Park will be the proud host of the opening ceremonies for the National Softball Association Girls Fast Pitch World Series. The ceremonies are scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. in the winner's circle and include a lazer light show on the Jumbotron screen at 9 p.m.
On Saturday and Sunday, Delaware Park in Stanton, Delaware, will be added to Arlington Park's simulcast schedule. The Grade III Delaware Oaks, for 3-year-old fillies at a mile and a sixteenth, will be run on Saturday, and the Grade II Delaware Handicap, for fillies and mares at a mile and a quarter, will be run on Sunday at the Midlantic oval.
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