|Arlington Park Barn Notes 07/23/03
In today's notes:
Honor in War, the 3rd Turn Stables LLC color bearer who won Churchill Downs' Grade I Woodford Reserve Turf Classic on May 3, has come to Chicago to contest Saturday's Grade III Arlington Handicap, final local prep for the Grade I Arlington Million three weeks later.
Overlooked in the wagering on Kentucky Derby Day, Honor in War paid a liberal $50.60 straight mutuel, but was no surprise those who saddled him during the Twin Spires oval's biggest afternoon.
"He had run so big at Keeneland in his previous race we expected him to run well," said trainer Paul McGee, speaking over the phone from Louisville Wednesday when recalling the moments before the Woodford Reserve. "It was more the way he did it (Keeneland, April 17) that made us feel he'd be right there."
Although he finished sixth in the Grade I Manhattan Handicap on Belmont Stakes Day, June 7, in his only start since the Woodford Reserve, Honor in War has not lost the confidence of his connections.
"It was a real boggy track that day," said McGee, quickly dismissing the New York outing. "It was exceptionally slow and only a couple of the horses were able to handle the going."
"He got here July 10," said Randy Martin, McGee's assistant at Arlington Park. "He breezed three-quarters in 1:16 with the 'dogs' well out from the rail July 17 and he looked very good doing it. Ray Sibille, who breezed him, said he was real aggressive. David Flores (aboard for the Woodford Reserve and the Manhattan 'Cap) will come in to ride him Saturday."
As the main event on Saturday's Million Preview Day, the Arlington Handicap is run at the Arlington Million distance of a mile and a quarter over Chicago's premier turf course. Assuming he runs well Saturday, Honor in War will be pointed toward the Arlington Million, McGee confirmed Wednesday.
Arthur B. Hancock III's Owsley, a multiple graded stakes winner, will be the starting high weight in Saturday's Grade III Modesty Handicap, the final local prep for the Grade I Beverly D. three weeks later, trainer Randy Schulhofer confirmed Wednesday morning.
"She is leaving today," said trainer Randy Schulhofer, speaking over the phone from Saratoga Race Course, "and she'll get in to Arlington tomorrow morning. I'll get into Chicago Friday night."
In her last trip to the post in the Grade II New York Handicap on July 4, Owsley was always well placed but lacked the needed late response.
"She got banged up a little bit coming out of the gate," said Schufhofer when speaking of that most recent start. "I would like to get a win into her Saturday to give her a little confidence, and if she runs well there, I would certainly consider the Beverly D. as a possibility."
Prior to the New York Handicap, run over firm ground, Owsley finished second in the Grade II Sheepshead Bay at Belmont May 31, which was contested over a course rated soft.
"A firm course would probably be best Saturday," said Schulhofer, "but she usually runs pretty good whenever she finds grass. A mile and an eighth is a little short for her. A mile and a quarter is probably her best distance."
The Modesty 'Cap and the Beverly D. are both run at a mile and three-sixteenths.
The first betting period of the Breeders' Cup Future Bet, now in its second year, will be open from July 25-27, and will offer advance wagering on the Grade I Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (Race 1), the Grade I Breeders' Cup Distaff (Race 2), the Grade I Breeders' Cup Sprint (Race 3) and the Grade I John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (Race 4).
Azeri offers the shortest morning-line price at 8-5 in the Distaff. The defending Horse of the Year is also listed in the Classic, however, at 15-1. The favorite in that division is Medaglia d'Oro (5-1) followed by Mineshaft (6-1) and Empire Maker (8-1). All others are double-digit odds, including the race's defending champion, Volponi (20-1).
High Chaparral, winner of the Turf last year, is the Future Bet favorite for this year's Turf at 8-1. Shake You Down is the Future Bet favorite in the Sprint at 4-1, but his owner would have to pay a $90,000 supplemental fee to enter him.
In late updates Wednesday, Future Bets will no longer be accepted on Dollar Bill in the Classic, and although Future Bet wagers will still be accepted on Perfect Drift in both the Classic and the Turf, that Washington Park Handicap winner is expected to run in the Grade I Arlington Million August 16 and then be pointed for the Group I Carlton Draught Cox Plate at Moonee Valley in Australia, also run on October 25, Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships Day.
The next of two more Future Bet periods after this weekend will be Aug. 29-Sept. 1, and involve the same four Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships races.
The Arlington Park division of the Race Track Chaplaincy of America will hold its second car wash of the current season Friday from 8 a.m. to noon in the parking lot of Trackside Arlington Park.
Groom of the Week this week is Serafin Escalante of the Chris Block stable.
Friday's band at Miller Lite Party in the Park is The Ripley's, a contemporary pop band.
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