|Arlington Park Barn Notes 9/11/03
In today's notes:
Dr. John Chandler is known primarily as the president of Juddmonte Farms, but he also breeds and owns horses on his own, including Cetewayo, who captured the Grade III Stars and Stripes Breeders' Cup Turf at Arlington Park in 2002 and South Florida's Grade I Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup Handicap earlier that year.
Now, Dr. Chandler and his brilliant trainer Michael Dickinson, both British born but American based, are bringing Cetewayo's half sister to Arlington for Saturday's Grade III Pucker Up Stakes, a mile and an eighth turf test for 3-year-old fillies that has attracted a troika of European campaigners.
Sarie Marais, like Cetewayo and five other stakes winners, is out of the Diesis mare Aletta Maria, but this sophomore filly is by 1990 Kentucky Derby and Breeders' Cup Classic winner Unbridled.
After breaking her maiden at Saint Cloud in March, Sarie Marais was unplaced but competitive in two other French starts before being brought to the United States during the summer. In her only start in this country at Monmouth Park Aug. 16, the chestnut rallied to gain the runner-up position in the $50,000 Twin Lights Stakes, beaten three-quarters of a length by Daniel J. Feiss's Feisty Bull, a daughter of 1994 Horse of the Year Holy Bull.
"In Europe, Sarie Marais was trained by Andre Fabre," trainer Michael Dickinson said Thursday morning, speaking over the phone from the Keeneland Sales in Lexington, Kentucky. "I was told that she was a hundred per cent fit when she came to me, but to be honest, after watching her race at Monmouth, I don't think she was. However, (jockey) Jose Velez was very impressed with her; enough so that he's getting off six or seven horses at Monmouth to come to Chicago to ride her Saturday at Arlington.
"She got to Arlington Tuesday," said Dickinson, remembered for saddling Prestonwood Farm & Wall Street Stable's Da Hoss to win the Breeders' Cup Mile in 1996 and again in 1998 with a single start in between the those two Grade I wins. "I'll get up there Saturday morning. She's ready to run her best, assuming your turf stays firm. If the ground is soft, she won't go."
CresRan LLC's Sue's Good News, who will shoulder the top impost if not the favorite's mantle in Saturday's Grade III Pucker Up Stakes, was clearly best against other 3-year-old fillies in Arlington Park's Grade III Singapore Plate Aug. 9, winning by a length and a half. However, that race (and all of the filly's five winning efforts in six starts) was contested on the main track.
In Saturday's headliner, which offers a purse of $175,000, the daughter of Woodman out of an Easy Goer mare will be facing sophomore members of the distaff set once again, but will be asked to negotiate the grass course for the first time in her career. How will Sue's Good News handle the lawn?
"She's worked good on it both times she has been over it in the mornings," said Bobby Belpedio, official clocker for the State of Illinois, when talking about the two turf works Sue's Good News has recorded locally. "She looks like she will run on anything."
Sue's Good News breezed five furlongs in 1:02 2/5 on the grass Sept. 4, after getting that same distance in 1:04 during her introduction to that surface Aug. 24. In both outings, the turf course was firm and the "dogs" were well out from the rail.
"Both Chris Emigh and Jesse Campbell (aboard for the turf works) said she liked the grass as much as the dirt," said Mitzi Hobby outside Barn 21 Thursday morning. Mrs. Hobby was speaking on behalf of her husband Steve, who has been shuttling from Chicago to Lexington for the Keeneland sales. "She is bred for turf. Steve has always been high on this filly from the beginning. She may be the best horse he's ever had. It's her turn to try the kind of fillies she will be facing, and we hope she can handle them -- knock on wood."
Skymarc Farm's Plume Rouge, campaigned in Ireland but an American and Arlington Park arrival as of last weekend, was schooled out of the Arlington starting gate twice Thursday morning with Irish apprentice jockey Brian Hughes in the irons. Plume Rouge broke from the gate, was pulled up shortly thereafter, and returned to the gate to break a second time before being given a gallop on the local oval.
Defending Arlington Park jockey champion Rene Douglas, 43 wins in front of his nearest competitor as of Thursday morning and well on his way to his third straight local jockey championship, had a riding triple Wednesday. The Panamanian-born reinsman won Wednesday's opener with Robert B. & Beverly J. Lewis's Grand Chance for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas, the seventh with Moises R. Yanez & Hernandez Racing Club's Big Red Robyn for conditioner Yanez, and the eighth with Donamire Farm's Twilight Road for trainer Paul J. McGee.
Veteran jockey Eddie Razo Jr., second in the Arlington standings, went over the $2 million mark in earnings on Wednesday when he won aboard Richard L. Duchossois' Pair of Dice for trainer Chris Block in the finale.
Conditioner Chris Block saddled two winners Wednesday to regain a tie for the runner-up position in the current trainer standings. Tom Fedro, Darrell & Sadie Brommer's Salomon Swagger won the second race for Block with Chris Emigh up, and the conditioner came back to saddle Pair of Dice in the last race of the day.
Illinois reinsman Carlos Silva posted two winners Wednesday, taking the third with Ben Barnow's Beamer'n Glick for Arlington Park's all-time leading trainer Richard Hazelton, and the fourth with Par Racing Stable's Whyte Dayse for conditioner Jerry Gryczewski.
Apprentice jockey Liz Morris, a 24-year-old Texas native who has been galloping horses for trainer Moises Yanez in the mornings, made her riding debut Wednesday, finishing fourth in the third race of the day astride Jupiter Farm Ltd. Inc.'s Cozenza for trainer Ken Spraggins.
Friday's Miller Lite Party In the Park Band is the White Saddle Band, a country band. The new twilight racing post time on Friday's at Arlington is 2:30 p.m., effective through the end of the 2003 meeting that ends Sept. 27.
- END -