|Arlington Park Barn Notes 9/10/03
In today's notes:
Hall of Fame jockey and budding movie actor Gary Stevens, injured in last month's Grade I Arlington Million, is returning to Arlington Park for the first time since that troubled trip to ride European invader Hoh Buzzard in Saturday's Grade III Pucker Up Stakes.
Hoh Buzzard, who races in the silks of internationally prominent Thoroughbred owner Gary Tanaka, is one of two European campaigners who have made the Atlantic crossing for Saturday's Pucker Up, Arlington main event restricted to grass favoring 3-year-old fillies.
Stevens, who suffered a collapsed lung and fractured vertebra when he fell from Gainsborough Farm's Storming Home after finishing in front in Arlington Million XXI, returned to riding less than three weeks after those injuries, but is coming back to the Northwest suburban Chicago oval for his first reappearance locally exactly four weeks after that spill.
Hoh Buzzard, who arrived at Arlington Tuesday, had not cleared quarantine Wednesday morning. The Irish-bred daughter of Alhaarth most recently finished second by three-quarters of a length in the Group III Prix de la Nonette at Deauville Aug. 24. Previously she was victorious in the listed European Breeders Fund Upavon Fillies Stakes at Salisbury Aug. 13, the Weatherbys Bank Fillies' Rated Stakes Handicap at Goodwood July 30, and the European Breeders Fund Fillies' Handicap June 28.
However, it is Stevens, as a supporting actor in the recently released movie "Seabiscuit," who is the headline attraction Saturday, since his fame has now transcended his primary status as a world-class athlete. Stevens played the part of Hall of Fame jockey George Woolf in the "Seabiscuit" movie, and his spectacular fall from Storming Home since the release of that first run film was international front page news that graduated from the sports section.
Nevertheless, Stevens' accomplishments as a jockey are legendary. Born in Caldwell, Idaho, in 1963, Stevens was elected to the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame at Saratoga in 1997: 42 years after George Woolf was accorded that same honor.
Among Stevens' accomplishments at Chicago's premier Thoroughbred oval -- despite Storming Home's disqualification from first in this summer's Million -- are two Arlington Million victories.
The Idaho native captured Arlington's centerpiece event aboard Wayne Gretzky & Summa Stable's Golden Pheasant in 1990 and again astride Michael Tabor's Marlin in 1997. He has also won Arlington's Grade I Beverly D., sister race to the Million when up on Allred, Hubbard & Sczesny's Fire the Groom in 1991.
Stevens has won the Kentucky Derby three times, the Preakness twice, the Belmont Stakes twice and eight Breeders' Cup races, and also boasts riding wins in the Grade I Dubai World Cup and the Group I Japan Cup.
Godolphin Racing Inc.'s Sulamani, adjudged winner of the 2003 Arlington Million, remains in second position in the latest World Thoroughbred Rankings John Deere Turf division published Monday, despite the unplaced finish of the Aga Khan's Irish Derby and King George winner Alamshar in the Group I Ireland the Food Island Champion Stakes contested last Saturday at Leopardstown.
The Irish Championship was the first leg of the World Series of Racing held since the Arlington Million and, like the Million, remains a source of controversy.
Mrs. John Magnier & Michael Tabor's High Chaparral won this year's Irish Championship, but crossed in front of runner-up Falbrav, owned by Scuderia Rencati, during the late stages. The result was allowed to stand, but now Falbrav's trainer Luca Cumani has lodged a post-race appeal. Jockey Darryll Holland, aboard Falbrav, objected immediately after the race, but the stewards did not change the order of finish.
Falbrav is tied for second with Sulamani in the latest World Thoroughbred Rankings in the John Deere Turf division, with High Chaparral listed in the fifth spot. The latter won the 2002 Eclipse Award for Male Turf Horse based on his score at Arlington Park last fall in the Grade I John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf.
Last Sunday, Godolphin's Mamool won the Group I Grosser Bugatti Preis at Baden-Baden in the next leg of the 2003 World Series of Racing following the Irish Championship by one day. Mamool, ridden by Frankie Dettori and trained by Saeed bin Suroor, became Godolphin's 101st Group or Grade I winner. Sulamani had achieved 100-win milestone in that select competition with his Arlington Million win.
In the Nextel Distaff division of the World Thoroughbred Rankings published Monday, Grade I Beverly D. winner Heat Haze, owned by Juddmonte Farms Inc, is currently tied for fourth position, while Beverly D. runner-up Bien Nicole, owned by John & Kristine Richter is tied for the ninth spot in that division's latest rankings.
Jockey Eddie Razo Jr., second leading rider at Arlington Park this season, celebrated a riding double Sunday, winning the third with J. D. Santen's Too Clever for trainer Don Von Hemel and the finale on Biondo & R. D. Irwin Racing Stable's Showpiece for conditioner Bob Irwin.
Veteran reinsman Eduardo Perez also rode two winners Sunday, taking the opener with The Posse's Honorable King for trainer Jerry Calvin and the $46,800 Paradise Creek Stakes with Three Diamonds Stable's Megoman for conditioner Charlie Bettis.
Apprentice jockey Cruz Contreras rode his final day of the Arlington season on Sunday.
Barn of the Month for August was awarded to barn of trainer Paul J. McGee.
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