|Arlington Park Barn Notes 08/1/03
In today's notes:
Trainer Steve Hobby is blessed with what seems like a small herd of good 3-year-old fillies this year, but he quickly rates CresRan LLC's Sue's Good News as the best of them.
Hobby isn't the only one high on this horse. Jockey Tim Doocy, the only rider Sue's Good News has ever known, came back to Arlington for the first time in two years to ride her in her start here June 19, and was quick to sing her praises when she remained undefeated following that four and a half-length score.
"She's real special," said Doocy, shortly after dismounting that day. "Wherever she goes, I want to go, too."
Naturally, both Hobby and Doocy were extremely disappointed when Sue's Good News ran a dull sixth in the Grade III Delaware Oaks July 19, her lone start since her Arlington score. What happened?
"She tied up again," said Hobby Friday morning at Arlington. "She must have tied up between leaving the paddock and going in the gate, because she was fine when I saddled her. Tim told me she even warmed up sluggish, so he knew she wouldn't run well.
"Previously, she has tied up after her races," said Hobby, speaking of three winning efforts at Oaklawn Park this winter. "It's a little unusual to do it before a race, although some other trainers have told me they've had it happen to them with their horses.
"I had a hunch when I watched the race that she had tied up," said Hobby, speaking of an equine condition somewhat like muscle cramps in humans. "Afterwards, we took some blood on her and confirmed the problem. They have something called a CPK -- a muscle enzyme test -- that gives you an idea what's wrong. Normal levels in a horse are somewhere between 300 and 400 with that test, but after that race hers were something like 2,600.
"However, we've done some things -- changed her feed around and things like that -- so she seems fine now," said Hobby. "Assuming everything stays right, we plan to run her in the Singapore Plate next week."
The Grade III Singapore Plate, Arlington's main event for sophomore members of the distaff set, will be run Aug. 9. Formerly known as the Arlington Oaks, and briefly as the Arlington Heights Oaks, the nine-furlong event's recent winners include Carl Pollard's Caressing, the 2001 victress who was the Eclipse Award winner as a 2-year-old filly the previous season, and Thunderhead Farm's Mariah's Storm, who preceded her local sophomore score in 1994 with one as a juvenile in the Grade III Arlington-Washington Lassie and came back in 1995 to win the Grade III Arlington Matron. That filly later became best known as a broodmare when she foaled Giant's Causeway, an eventual European champion.
After being unhurried early, Robert J. Neumeyer's JTL's Thunder Road commenced a rally when set down for the drive in Thursday's one-mile featured event, took command inside the furlong grounds and drew off for a two and a quarter-length score.
The win was JTL's Thunder Road's fourth at the meeting, and the 3-year-old gelding, a Jimmy DiVito trainee, became the first horse to accomplish that feat at Arlington this season.
All of JTL's Thunder Road's wins have come with apprentice jockey Cruz Contreras in the irons, and DiVito was quick to praise the developing reinsman.
"I think he's doing a good job," said DiVito of Contreras. "He works hard in the mornings, and think the weight off helps. I like that."
DiVito claimed JTL's Thunder Road this winter at Gulfstream Park for $25,000 for Neumeyer, a longtime Thoroughbred owner who made his fortune in the computer business. What attracted DiVito (and Neumeyer) to the Kentucky-bred who has now earned $91,874 - almost all of it for his present connections?
"I liked the idea that he got beat by four lengths to a horse that beat Coach Jimi Lee," DiVito said, speaking of another DiVito-trained gelding who won the $46,800 Shecky Greene Stakes at Arlington June 15.
"Coach Jimi Lee is doing great," said DiVito when asked about the star of his stable who journeyed to South Florida to finish fifth last time in Calder's Grade III Carry Back Stakes during that oval's Summit of Speed July 12. "I'm pointing him (Coach Jimi Lee) for the ($50,000) Forward Pass Stakes on Arlington Million Day (Aug. 16)."
Apprentice jockey Cruz Contreras rode two winners on Thursday's Arlington Park program. Earlier in the afternoon, before his score on JTL's Thunder Road, Contreras won the third race on Lindsay Racing Stable Ltd.'s Road Closed, who is trained by Rick Lindsay.
Veteran reinsman Carlos H. Marquez Jr. had a riding double for the second straight racing day on Thursday. Marquez took Thursday's seventh on Ron Shenofsky's Hurricane Merle for that trainer, and came back to the winner's circle in the finale aboard Guckien, Brannigan, Stewart & Perkins' Stewey for conditioner Michael Weissman.
Stewey's win was the impetus for $2 trifecta payoff of $19,312.20, largest of the season at Arlington Park.
Sunday's Junior Jockey Club theme at Arlington Park is "Mare and Foal," allowing Junior Jockey Club members the opportunity for an up-close-and-personal look at a mare and her newly-born foal who will be on hand together in the Park area.
Sunday's "Pepsi Family Day" theme is "Winter Wonderland," which will have ice sculptures visible (at least for awhile) in the Park area, with a special Kraft Korner set up for kids to make special arts and crafts that have a winter theme.
Sunday will also be the 10th of 15 American Airlines Summer Sweepstakes days at Arlington Park in 2003.
- END -