|Arlington Park Barn Notes 8/20/03
In today's notes:
How good can Barry T. & Sandra Buchholz's Cashel Castle become again, coming back from a tendon injury that sidelined him for 16 months?
"He has always had all the attributes of a good horse," said trainer Chris Block, who has entered Cashel Castle in Saturday's $100,000 Arlington Sprint. "He has a good mind -- a ton of talent to go with it -- and he was always easy to manage because he was so smart. He knew when to turn it on and when not.
"I always thought he was a very talented individual, but after the (Grade III) Derby Trial last year, things began to go the wrong way," Block said. "Tendon injuries are difficult to come off of -- they usually come back -- so we're taking things one step at a time."
What Block did, after Cashel Castle was diagnosed with tendon problems in his last start in the 2002 Derby Trial, was send him to Ocala, where the Silver Ghost colt began light training again during the winter with a program of swimming, galloping and slow breezes.
"I never had Triple Crown aspirations for him," Block said of the homebred colt's sophomore season. "His pedigree doesn't suggest it. What we planned was to find out his best distance, whether it was three-quarters or a mile or whatever, and map out a campaign for him and see where he took us. It's been a long road back. I would have preferred to bring him back in an allowance race, but they haven't filled so we're in the Sprint on Saturday.
"Sooner or later you have to buckle down and see just what you have," said Block. "We've been very conservative in his training while bringing him back, but it's time to tighten down the screws."
Saturday will be the seventh running of the $100,000 Arlington Sprint. James & Dennis Richard's Bonapaw won last year's renewal, then journeyed to New York to capture Belmont's Grade I Vosburgh in September, but disappointed in the Grade I Napa Breeders' Cup Sprint last October at Arlington Park following those two wins.
Ronnie Lamarque's Bright Valour, one of the contestants in Saturday's $100,000 Arlington Sprint, won a seven-furlong race at Arlington Park May 17 in a courageous performance, getting up for a nose tally in the last jump. However, he then disappointed in the Grade III Hanshin Handicap at a mile on June 29, finishing sixth, beaten almost 10 lengths. What happened that day?
"He got down on the inside and never got out until it was too late," said Lara Van Deren, assistant to trainer Louie Roussel III. "He likes to run wide outside the others in the field. He even likes to run that way when I gallop him in the mornings. He always likes to be clear. In the Hanshin, he got hit with a lot of dirt early in the race. By the time he got clear the race was over.
"What I'm really concerned about Saturday is that the race is not his best distance," said Van Deren, speaking of the six furlongs of the Arlington Sprint. "He really likes to go a little longer -- maybe six and a half furlongs or seven-eighths -- but we can't find another race for him so this looked like the only spot.
"However, the old guy is ready," said Van Deren in reference to the 7-year-old son of Wild Again out of a Well Decorated mare. "We've given him a couple of three-furlong breezes and will just hope he's sharp enough for the six-furlong distance."
Arlington Park's annual golf tournament, conducted for the second time this year as part of the Arlington Million Week festivities, was held at the Maple Meadows Golf Course in Addison last week and attracted 119 players.
Under the able direction of Dennis Petrucelli, the tournament was deemed one of the best ever since its inception.
Former jockey Gerry Gallitano recorded a 74 to register the lowest score among all players in last week's tournament.
Veteran Arlington Park jockey Chris Emigh had a riding triple Sunday, including a wire-to-wire half-length tally aboard European import Chan Chan in Sunday's $52,800 John Henry Stakes. Chan Chan, owned by Baron Georg Von Ullmann and trained by German conditioner Peter Schiergen, came to Arlington Park as a stablemate and companion to Gestut Schlenderhan's Walzerkoenigin, who finished fourth in Saturday's Grade I Beverly D. Emigh's other two scores came aboard Tom Fedro, Darrell & Sadie Brommer's Salomon Swagger for trainer Chris Block in Sunday's second race, and Dan J. Agnew's Irish-bred Kabylia for trainer D. Wayne Lukas in the sixth race of the afternoon.
Groom of the Week this week is Humberto Mejia of the Tom Amoss Stable.
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