|Arlington Park Barn Notes 8/12/03
In today's notes:
Gestut Schlenderhan's Walzerkoenigin, the lone European invader for Saturday's Grade I Beverly D. Stakes for fillies and mares, took a turn around the Arlington Park turf course Tuesday morning in a breeze that was picked up by Arlington clockers as five furlongs in 1:06 3/5 with the "dogs" well out from the rail.
The $700,000 Beverly D., sister race to the Grade I Arlington Million, will be run as part of Arlington's one-day International Festival of Racing on Arlington Million Day Saturday, and also includes the $400,000 Secretariat Stakes restricted to 3-year-olds of international caliber. Together, the three grass races are the only Grade I events offered in Illinois on an annual basis.
Austrian-born jockey Andreas Suborics, who became familiar to American and Chicago Thoroughbred racing fans after his winning ride aboard Stiftung Gestut Fahrhof's Silvano in the Arlington Million two years ago, was aboard Walzerkoenigin ("Waltzing Queen" in English) for her Tuesday exercise and will ride her Saturday.
"It was a small work," said German trainer Peter Schiergen when commenting on his filly's latest exercise, "but it was enough. She is very good now, and good in the head, too. She loves to travel, and she traveled with no problem this time."
Before turning to training six years ago, Schiergen was Germany's champion jockey five times, registering 271 wins during the 1995 season to best a mark established by the legendary Sir Gordon Richards. Schiergen's record has never been threatened.
"We only cantered," expanded Irish-born Paul Harley, traveling manager of the historic German breeding operation of the Von Ullmann family that dates back to 1869. "We worked her just to suit ourselves. All our major preparations were done at home. The ground was beautiful today. I don't think you can get better ground anywhere than you have right here at Arlington."
Walzerkoenigin actually runs for Baroness Karin Von Ullmann, matriarch of the Von Ullmann family, while her son Baron Georg Von Ullmann races Gestut Schlenderhan's Chan Chan, who worked in company with Walzerkoenigin and is slated to start in Arlington's $50,000 John Henry Stakes on Sunday. With Chris Emigh aboard, Chan Chan broke in front by a length Tuesday, but the two German invaders were head-to-head at the wire.
The younger Von Ullmann is already on something of a roll this month in the United States, with Soto capturing the Grade III West Virginia Derby last Saturday with the Baron in attendance at the Mountaineer oval. Was West Virginia somewhat of a culture shock for German royalty?
"Not at all," said Harley. "The trip was very enjoyable, and the winner's share of a $600,000 purse ($360,000) would have added to the enjoyment."
"I was very happy with the way she went," said jockey Suborics speaking of Walzerkeonigin later in the morning. "She can handle most types of ground, but this morning there was just a little 'cut' to it, and she really loved that."
Suborics, incidentally, has become something of a Chicago Cubs fan since attending his first game at Wrigley Field last year when he came to Chicago to ride Mrs. Carde Ostermann-Richter's Paolini in the 2002 Arlington Million.
"They won that night," said Suborics of his Wrigley baptism last summer. "I'm hoping to go tonight when they play Houston. Maybe I will be lucky for them."
Christopher Ransom's Joe Bear, a European invader for Saturday's Grade I Secretariat Stakes as part of the International Festival of Racing on Arlington Million Day this Saturday, jogged around the northwest Chicago course Tuesday as part of his familiarization process with the new surroundings.
"He was a good deal more relaxed today," said Roger Teal Tuesday morning. Teal is traveling head lad for Joe Bear's trainer Philip Mitchell, who was due to arrive at Arlington Tuesday afternoon. "He's a 'bonny' horse when he gets on the track. Yesterday, he was a little too excited, but he settled down today."
Joe Bear, an Irish-bred, comes to the Secretariat off two straight winning efforts. The sophomore son of Peintre Celebre captured the Joe Jennings Bookmakers Rated Handicap at Newmarket July 18 and took down winning honors in Goodwood's Racing Post Handicap before that on June 13.
How did Joe Bear get his name?
"He is named in honor of the owner's brother who was killed in a boating accident a couple of years ago," said Teal. "Chris and Steve are the surviving brothers, but when the three brothers were kids they used to play around boxing each other. At the time, Joe Bugner (born in Hungary but based in Great Britain) was a top British fighter (who fought both Muhammed Ali and Joe Frazier). Bugner was known for tying up his opponents in a bear hug, so when Chris and Steve's brother Joe would tie them up in a bear hug, they gave him the nickname 'Joe Bear.'"
Did the equine Joe Bear have the personality of a boxer?
"Not really," Teal said. "He's no Mike Tyson. He likes to have fun out there. It would be better to compare him to Sugar Ray Leonard. He always wants to show off."
Teal, an interesting Englishman himself who has read the book about Seasbiscuit and is anxiously awaiting the opportunity to see the new movie, is making his fourth trip to Arlington. Teal traveled the world when Richard J. Cohen's Running Stag was in the midst of a multi-transatlantic campaign that brought him to Chicago to finish sixth in the Arlington Million three years ago.
"I logged a lot more air miles with Running Stag than Seabiscuit did rail miles," Teal said with a smile. "And Running Stag won both the Mass 'Cap and the Brooklyn in faster times than Seasbiscuit did. I told someone that the other day and they took me very seriously, saying that tracks are a lot faster today. I only pointed it out as a joke."
Professional astrologer Gwen Miller will be on hand at Arlington Park Thursday to discus the astrological and psychological profiles of top horses contesting Arlington Park's signature race on Saturday, the Grade I Arlington Million.
Miller works with Lifestyles International Astrological Foundation and has been practicing astrology for the past 20 years. She has worked with Thoroughbred trainer Bob Baffert in the past.
Miller will hold her discourse at 1:30 p.m. Thursday at the John Henry statue overlooking the paddock.
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