|Arlington Park Barn Notes 8/7/03
In today's notes:
Walzerkoenigin, who sports the silks of Gestut Schlenderhan and is considered the primary European threat in the upcoming Grade I Beverly D. Aug. 16, arrived at Arlington Park Tuesday following a flight from Amsterdam to O'Hare International Airport to prepare for her upcoming assignment in the sister race to the Grade I Arlington Million.
The 14th running of the $700,000 Beverly D., which annually attracts the best turf-tested fillies and mares throughout the world, is one of three Grade I races -- the only three Grade I events offered in Illinois on an annual basis -- that make up Arlington's one-day International Festival of Racing on that third Saturday this month. The Arlington Million, Chicago Thoroughbred racing's centerpiece, and the $400,000 Secretariat, restricted to 3-year-olds of international caliber, complete the top-rated troika.
Walzerkoenigin, which means "Waltzing Queen" in German, is actually owned by Baroness Karin Von Ullmann, matriarch of the family-owned Gestut Schlenderhan, an internationally renowned German breeding operation that has been in existence since 1869. Accompanying Walzerkoenigin on her transatlantic journey was Gestut Schlenderhan's Chan Chan, slated to be a contestant in Arlington's $50,000 John Henry Stakes Aug. 17. That colt races for Baron Georg Von Ullmann, son of the Baroness.
"We had a good trip," said Paul Harley, traveling manager of the German stud farm. "The horses both traveled well. Fortunately, there were no hiccups along the way and both horses have been doing well since we got here.
"Our trainer (Peter Schiergen) and our jockey (Andreas Suborics) are due to arrive Monday night," Harley said, "so maybe on Tuesday we can take them to the track and get some exercise into them. Suborics (who rode Stiftung Gestut Fahrhof's Silvano to victory in the 2001 Arlington Million) will ride the filly, but he can only make 117 pounds so we'll excuse him from Chan Chan on Sunday and look for an American-based rider."
In her most recent trip to the post, Walzerkoenigin was third, beaten a length and a half for all of it, in the Group II Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket on July 9, but before that the 4-year-old daughter of Kingmambo captured the Group II Premio Emilio Turati in Italy at San Siro in her first start of the year May 18.
"She didn't handle the track that well at Newmarket last time," said Harley. "She was bumped at the start and the first part of the race was downhill, but she recovered well and was closing well at the end."
Harley, an Irishman and former jockey who rode most of his career in Germany, spent five months in the United States working for the late Hall of Fame trainer Charlie Whittingham. Accompanying Harley on this American trip is Steffi Eder, a German-born native of Mannheim who is the groom and exercise rider for Walzerkoenigin.
Honor in War, owned by 3rd Turn Stables LLC, was the winner of the Grade III Arlington Handicap July 26, which served as final local prep for this year's upcoming Grade I Arlington Million Aug. 16. However, the son of Lord At War will have an as-yet-to-be-determined new jockey in the showcase event of the Chicago Thoroughbred racing season.
California-based reinsman David Flores, who flew to Chicago to pilot Honor in War to his neck victory in the Arlington Handicap, has since been named to ride Godolphin's top European invader Sulamani in the Arlington Park centerpiece.
"We're still up in the air about a new jockey," said Honor in War's trainer Paul McGee, speaking over the phone from his Churchill Downs headquarters Thursday morning. "We're shopping riders now, trying to see who is coming in to ride in the Beverly D. and things like that. We'll probably have a decision tomorrow (Friday).
"Honor in War is doing really good right now," said McGee. "I'm real happy with him. We'll probably breeze his on the grass there Saturday, maybe go an easy half with Ray Sibille aboard."
Incidentally, the primary owner of 3rd Turn Racing Stable LLC is Will Wolford, a 13-year former NFL offensive tackle for the Buffalo Bills, Indianapolis Colts and Pittsburgh Steelers who was two years behind McGee at St. Xavier High School in Louisville. Wolford's first name has been often incorrectly misspelled with a single "l" at the end.
"That's been going on for about five or six years, now," said McGee. "What I think happened was that when I entered a horse for him one day and spoke his name as the owner to the entry clerk, the guy asked me if he spelled his name with one 'l' or two. Thinking that he was asking me how he spelt 'Wolford,' I answered 'with one "l"' -- and it's been coming out wrong in a lot of places ever since."
"Horsin' Around TV," a brand new horseracing magazine and preview show, will make its much-anticipated debut on FOX Sports Net Chicago this Saturday at 10:30 a.m. (CDT). The half-hour program will run 14 consecutive weeks through Nov. 8 and feature a local and national perspective on both Thoroughbred and harness racing.
"Horsin' Around TV," a product of DAK Productions Inc., is produced and co-hosted by Chicago racing personality Joe Kristufek.
"Our objective is to find the delicate balance between the serious horseplayer and the casual fan," said Kristufek.
FOX Sports Net Chicago reaches more than 3.8 million households in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Wisconsin. Programming includes Chicago Bulls basketball, Chicago Blackhawks hockey, Chicago White Sox and Chicago Cubs baseball and Chicago Fire soccer.
Defending Arlington Park jockey champion Rene Douglas, who celebrated one of the best days in Chicago racing history when he rode seven winners in one day July 24, was named Arlington Park's Jockey of the Month for July after riding 44 winners from 142 mounts during the month.
Arlington Park Trainer of the Month for July was Jimmy DiVito, who saddled five winners from 10 starters, and Owner of the Month was Robert J. Neumeyer, whose silks were posed in the winner's circle three times from seven starters.
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