Chicago Barn to Wire


Sportsman's Park Daily Notebook

Contact: David Zenner (773) 242-1121 ext. 310

Friday, March 15, 2002


The long-anticipated sophomore debut of Sandbar Farm's Cashel Castle may finally happen this Sunday, March 17, in a third-level allowance/optional claiming race against older horses at Sportsman's Park.

The son of Silver Ghost had been prepping for the Feb. 2 Hutcheson Stakes at Gulfstream Park when sidelined by minor injury and then was entered in an allowance race here that was scrapped when the card was called off after six races. He was re-entered when the race was brought back the following week but it failed to fill, as did a similar race at Turfway Park a few days hence.

"I'm glad to finally get a race for him," said trainer Chris Block. "It's not the ideal spot because I am not crazy about running him against older horses but he needs to run and I think he'll be competitive in there."

For Block, it was more important to find a sprint for Cashel Castle, even if it meant facing more seasoned race horses.

"It's not fair to run him a mile after a long layoff," Block said. "His pedigree suggests he'll be a middle distance horse and even though a mile is middle distance, it's two turns here. This race seems to set him up better for races down the road."

Block will not be in attendance Sunday for Cashel Castle's race as he will be saddling Illinois champion mare Ioya Two in the $100,000 Hillsborough Stakes on the turf at Tampa Bay Downs. Pat Day has the mount on Ioya Two Sunday.

"I'd like to be here but I have to take care of things (at Tampa)," Block said. "My assistant Martin Martinez will handle things here.

"She's doing good," Block said, turning his attention to the now 7-year-old mare. "She ran in this race last year and it served as a stepping-stone for the rest of her year. She ran credibly even though she had a troubled trip. She had the benefit of a start before the race last year and this year it's her first start. She's cranked up but not all the way quite yet. She should run well."

Most successful race horses are in the breeding shed by the time they are 7-years-old, but Ioya Two will remain on the track through this season if all goes well.

"She didn't really get her career on the grass underway until her 4-year-old season and that year was really hit and miss," explained Block, whose family owns Ioya Two. "She came around in her 5-year-old season and she only ran seven times last year at six. She was still pretty fresh when we stopped on her at the end of the year. We talked it over and if she did well over the winter, we decided we'd proceed forward."


Jockey Chris Emigh will be absent from the local scene Sunday to accept mounts in three stakes races at Tampa Bay Downs. Emigh is slated to ride Jim Edgar Futurity runner-up Mucho Rapido in the Grade III $200,000 Tampa Bay Derby and Miss Mommy Stakes heroine Elementary in the Grade III $150,000 Florida Oaks, both for trainer Harvey Vanier. Emigh also picked up the mount aboard Sitka in the Hillsborough for trainer Dale Romans.


Dave Gutfreund, known as the "Thoroughbred Maven" in handicapping circles, has made a guarantee to the Racing Industry Charitable Foundation (R.I.C.F.). Gutfreund, who is given $50 in real money by Sportsman's Park to make a wager with the proceeds going to the R.I.C.F., is guaranteeing the charitable organization a break-even proposition. Gutfreund is slated to make 36 appearances on "Post Time at Sportsman's Park," wagering a total of $1,800 on behalf of the R.I.C.F.

"The charity is a worthwhile cause and should not be punished in case I have a losing season," Gutfreund said. "Therefore, in case my bets don't return at least $1,800 during the season, I will cover the difference thus guaranteeing that at least the $1,800 Sportsman's Park puts up will be donated to the R.I.C.F."


Jockey Ray Sibille held the hot hand Tuesday, winning three races on the card. The veteran reinsman scored with Margies Connection in the fifth race and captured both ends of the late Daily Double with O Lo in the eighth and K C Jazz in the nightcap.

Alfredo Juarez Jr. bagged a double Tuesday, taking the third race with Sir Cassanova and the fourth with Hawks Pride.

The trainer/jockey tandem of Frank Kirby and Lupe Macias nailed both ends of the early Daily Double with The Jeckle in the opener and North Flare in the second.




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