|Arlington Park Barn Notes 8/27/03
In today's notes:
Select Stable's Take Charge Lady, one of the headline attractions in this year's older filly and mare division, is coming to Arlington Park as the starring individual in Monday's Grade III Arlington Matron Handicap.
The 67th running of the Matron, main event of Chicago's Thoroughbred summer for older members of the distaff set on the main track, will serve as the showcase contest during what is only the second Monday racing program of the 2003 season at the local oval.
Take Charge Lady's trainer Ken McPeek informed Arlington's racing office that he would accept racing secretary and handicapper Frank G. Gabriel Jr.'s top impost of 123 pounds in the Matron shortly after the weights were released Sunday.
The 4-year-old filly has finished second in her only three starts this year but was defeated each time by a rival considered at the top echelon of those currently in training.
In her last trip to the post in the Grade II Delaware Handicap at Delaware Park, the daughter of Dehere was easily second best while unable to stay with the winning Chilean-bred Wild Spirit. Previously, Take Charge Lady was second to Humana Distaff heroine Sightseek in Belmont's Grade I Ogden Phipps Handicap June 21, and had been runner-up to Horse of the Year Azeri at Oaklawn in the Grade I Apple Blossom April 5.
However, the extended Labor Day weekend of Thoroughbred racing at Arlington Park is traditionally filled with extra holiday attractions, and the coming weekend program at the Northwest Chicago oval is no exception.
The festivities begin on Friday, when Arlington will host its last 3 p.m. post time of the season. The band for Miller Lite Party in the Park this Friday will be Chicago Driveshaft, a blues and rock band. Subsequent Friday programs this year will have a post time of 2:30 p.m.
R'n R Breeders' Act of War and Gary A. Tanaka's Riddlesdown have both been asked to shoulder the top impost of 118 pounds in Saturday's feature attraction -- the $45,000 Mac Diarmida Handicap -- and the connections of both are expected to accept that assignment in the mile and a half test over Arlington Park's grass course.
Act of War finished fifth in the Grade III Arlington Handicap in his last start July 26, but had won two in a row including the $86,150 Cardinal Handicap on Prairie State Festival Day in his previous local outings. In the Arlington 'Cap, final local prep for the Grade I Arlington Million, Act of War was only beaten a length and three-quarters for all the money.
Riddlesdown, an Irish-bred idle since the Grade I Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup Handicap Feb. 16, finished fourth that day after making the pace. Previously the 6-year-old had captured Gulfstream's Grade III Mac Diarmida Handicap Jan. 19 as well as Calder's Grade II William L. McKnight Handicap Dec. 28.
Also on Saturday, at Calder Race Course and available as a full-card simulcast at Arlington Park, will be Calder's "Baby Day."
The special race card, made up entirely of races for 2-year-olds, will also feature a special Pick 3 wager linking the outcomes of three 2-year-old stakes races scheduled for Saturday.
The TRF 2-year-old Stakes Pick 3 will include one of Calder's Florida Stallion Stakes races, the Bassinet Stakes from River Downs and the Grade I Hopeful Stakes from Saratoga. All tracks have agreed to donate their respective commissions on the Pick 3 wager to the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, with the "babies" race in support of their retired elders.
Another Labor Day weekend attraction will be the second betting period of the Breeders' Cup Future Bet, now in its second year. The Future Bet is designed to get consumers more involved in racing during the summer and fall months on the "Road to the World Thoroughbred Championships," to be contested this year on October 25 at Santa Anita Park.
The Breeders' Cup Future Bet will be available from Aug. 29-Sept. 1, and include wagers on the Grade I Breeders' Cup Classic, powered by Dodge; the Grade I John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf; the Grade I Breeders' Cup Distaff, presented by Nextel; as well as the Grade I Breeders' Cup Sprint.
Trainer Tony Granitz saddled a training double Sunday, winning the third with Matthew Sularski's Our Problem with apprentice Cruz Contreras up, and the sixth with Thomas J. Stepan's Crowd Watcher with Eddie Razo in the irons.
Jockey Corey Lanerie had a riding double Sunday, capturing the second with Frank C. Calabrese's Berkshire Eagle for trainer Wayne Catalano and the finale on James Cassels & Bob Zollars' Just Four Austin for conditioner Steve Asmussen
Groom of the Week this week is Alfonso Calixtro of the Ron Moquett barn.
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