|Arlington Park Barn Notes 07/18/03
In today's notes:
Arlington Park clocker Bobby Belpedio, an astute observer who watched Moyglare Stud's Evolving Tactics stretch his legs for the first time on American soil Friday, described how the Irish-bred went over the local turf course in advance of Sunday's Grade II American Derby, presented by Jack Daniel's.
"The colt broke in a canter for about a half-mile," said Belpedio, "but then he picked it up a little bit from the three-eighths pole to the wire (recorded in :40 4/5).
"We were calling the turf course 'good' at the time," said Belpedio, "and the 'dogs' were up, so whatever he did it was almost on the outside fence."
Evolving Tactics is to be ridden by Irish jockey Patrick Smullen in the $250,000 American Derby. Observing it's 89th renewal Sunday, the mile and three-sixteenths affair is Arlington's oldest stakes race and the middle jewel of the Mid-America Triple. At last asking the Irish sophomore was third in the listed Hampton Court Stakes at Royal Ascot June 19, and was previously ninth in the Group I Irish Two Thousand Guineas at The Curragh May 24.
Why all the attention on Evolving Tactics?
Ireland's all-time leading trainer Dermot Weld, the conditioner of Evolving Tactics, shipped the European-campaigned Pine Dance, owned by Highland Farms et al., to win the American Derby here three years ago. Two weeks after that successful American invasion, he became the most successful trainer in Irish history when he saddled Georgia Peach for a maiden win at Naas for the 2,578th win of his career. That surpassed a record set by Jim Parkinson that had stood since 1947.
Weld, a former jockey, became a trainer in 1972, and first achieved recognition in the United States by saddling Go And Go to win the Grade I Belmont Stakes in 1990. He won the Group I Melbourne Cup in Australia in 1993 with Vintage Crop, and the $750,000 American Oaks at Hollywood Park with Joseph Higgins Dimitrova two weeks ago.
In addition to his win with Pine Dance in the 2000 American Derby, Weld saddled Moyglare's Jazz Beat to finish second in last year's American Derby and was second again with that Irish-bred in the Grade I Secretariat four weeks later. Other Arlington accomplishments include finishing second with Michael Watts' Casey Tibbs in the 1997 American Derby and a third-place finish with Moyglare's Dance Design in the Grade I Beverly D. that same season.
In typically courageous fashion, Richard F. Rudolph's Castlewood, ridden by Hall of Fame jockey Earlie Fires, rallied between horses in the late stages of Friday's ninth race for his fourth straight win under Arlington's all-time leading reinsman and third straight at the current Arlington Park session.
"He's old, I'm old and the jock's old," said Castlewood's trainer Spanky Broussard when speaking of his 6-year-old campaigner, himself, and the 56-year-old rider. "He (Castlewood) is all business. He gives you everything he's got every time, but he is a mean one. You have to watch yourself around him at all times, because he will nail you if you're not paying attention.
"Earlie fits him like a glove," said Broussard. "He rode the first winner I ever saddled in Chicago when he won for me aboard a horse named Ibine Pine at the old Washington Park in 1970. He can still ride with anybody in the country.
"But it's the guy that owns him (Rudolph) that really make my job easy," said Broussard. "He never interferes with my training. He's a very smart man. He lets you do what you want and he's a real pleasure to work for."
Rudolph, incidentally, has regularly contributed a portion of Castlewood's earnings this season to "Riding for a Cure," the cancer research fundraising event founded by Arlington Park television personality Christine Gabriel. However, an additional portion of Castlewood's Friday earnings was donated to the Don MacBeth Memorial Jockey Fund for injured and disabled riders and their families.
Marc Goldish & Savoy Stable's Smoke Chaser, who missed by a head when second in Arlington's $61,840 Meafara Handicap at last asking, gets a chance to make amends for that defeat when she faces an overflow field of 12 rivals, including an also-eligible, in Sunday's $45,000 J J'sdream Handicap.
The overnight handicap for fillies and mares 3-years-old and upward will be run at five furlongs on the grass as an additional highlight on the American Derby Day program.
Strong opposition for Smoke Chaser, who previously won Hawthorne's $40,000 Kissapotamus Stakes March 22, is expected to come from a trio of Churchill Downs invaders: Woodlynn Farm's On the Fritz, Mary Bonham's Repository and Dennis Foster's Crystal Sea.
Completing the field are Gary A. Tanaka's Distant Valley, My Jo Lee Stable II's Soul Onarazorsedge, Ted Taylor's Dancing With Me, Bob Reddick's Ozilda's Nancy Lee, Randy Hameler's Nicole's Dream, Jeffrey Sullivan & Ernie Poulos Racing Stable Inc.'s Paul's Dream, Stan Stefanski's Stormy Society, Lynn Gallatin's Paige's Boo, and Bank & Katz Stable's Galatea Cat.
The last named is on the also-eligible list.
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