|Arlington Park Barn Notes 08/3/03
In today's notes:
Bluegrass-based Meet Me At Midnite, owned by the B M H Stable of Kentucky trainer Rick Hiles, will be coming to Chicago later this week to contest Saturday's Grade III Singapore Plate, Arlington Park's premier event for 3-year-old fillies.
A victim of circumstance in her last trip to the post in the Grade III Delaware Oaks July 19 at Delaware Park, Meet Me At Midnite appears to be back in her best form, and will attempt to make amends for that recent Midlantic setback in Arlington's weekend highlight.
"She lost all chance as soon as they opened the gate," said Hiles, speaking over the phone from his Kentucky base of operations about the Delaware outing. "That was the race that they started with one rider off his horse. Our jockey, Mark Guidry, was right next to the riderless horse and he was turned to look at the other rider, waiting for him to remount, when they sprung the latch.
"Our filly got left, five lengths behind the rest of the field, and then when she left the gate she was on the wrong lead," Hiles said. "Still, she was coming on strongly at the end and only got beat a photo for third."
Meet Me at Midnite, a daughter of General Meeting out of the French-bred mare Elodibelle, finished fifth in that mile and a sixteenth test, beaten a neck and a head for the third spot. Before the Delaware Oaks, she had won two other races at that same distance at Churchill Downs after coming from well back early, and should appreciate the added distance on Saturday.
"She's a nice filly, a late-developing filly who is just starting to come into herself," said Hiles, who is the "H" among the owners of B M H Stable, along with partners Robert Buckley, Robert McMahon and Leroy Mudd.
Together, that quartet briefly had a Triple Crown candidate this winter, when B M H's Midway Cat finished third in the Grade I Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park. Sadly, that horse broke down in the Grade I Florida Derby and had to be euthanized. Although the loss cannot be undone, the filly that the group is bringing to Arlington could be some light at the end of the tunnel, even if her name doesn't reflect it.
Richard Otto Stables Inc.'s Julie's Prize, second in the $84,450 Purple Violet Stakes on Prairie State Festival Day, June 21, when sent to the post as the choice of the fans, will get a chance to exact some revenge for that loss in Saturday's Grade III Singapore Plate.
"She's doing real good right now," said trainer Tony Mitchell Sunday morning at Arlington Park, one day after Julie's Prize breezed five furlongs in 1:00 2/5. "That work yesterday was super. It was just what she needed, and it didn't take anything out of her. She was bucking and kicking around here all morning."
In the Purple Violet, run at a mile, Julie's Prize was unhurried early, launched a belated bid when set down for the drive, could not catch the winner when beaten a length but was easily second best.
"Not to take anything away from Chris's filly (the Chris Block-trained Purple Violet winner Keeping the Gold), but we were trapped along the rail most of the way," said Mitchell. "Chris's filly ran a super race, but we're looking forward to meeting her again. What happened to us wasn't anybody's fault, we just had bad racing luck. We couldn't get off the rail and didn't get any running room until it was too late."
Judging by her running style, it would seem that the mile and an eighth on Saturday might be advantageous to Julie's Prize. Did Mitchell agree?
"Absolutely," he said. "She really likes two turns. I actually believe she could go a mile and a half if we asked her. However, what I really want to do is try her on the grass. If she does well on Saturday, and comes out of that race okay, I'd like to point her toward the (Grade III) Pucker Up (Sept. 13)."
The Arlington Park division of the Racetrack Chaplaincy of America, headed by Chaplain Luis Peralta, has announced that it will host a Rummage Sale on Monday, beginning at 11 a.m. and running until 4 p.m. in Parking Lot "E" at Arlington Park.
Chaplain Peralta also announced a new time for Sunday Services at Arlington, which will now be held at 10 a.m. each week in The Starting Gate Theatre in the Arlington grandstand.
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