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Barn Notes: Sunday, May 4, 2014

| Churchill Downs Communications | 05/04/2014 #
  • Fordubai (outside) is eyeing the Hanshin Cup for his next start. (Four Footed Fotos)

In Today’s Notes: Fordubai Heading to Hanshin; Good Bye Greg Impresses in Debut; Saturday Hat Tricks for Rivelli and Baird

FORDUBAI HEADING TO HANSHIN CUP
Jim Tafel’s Arlington International Racecourse-based Fordubai is headed toward the Grade III $150,000 Hanshin Cup on May 24, according to conditioner Greg Geier.  The 4-year-old son of E Dubai has annexed two stakes in his short 13-start career – the 2013 Straight Line Stakes at Arlington on Million Day and the Louisiana Handicap earlier this year at Fair Grounds Racetrack in January.

“The Hanshin is definitely is our aim.  If it works out, that’s where we’ll run,” Geier said.  The Hanshin is run at a one-turn mile on the Polytrack main course – the exact conditions of both of Fordubai’s local wins.  His only local loss on the main course was his debut in September 2012, in which he broke slowly. 

On Sunday morning, Fordubai worked a solid five furlongs in 1:00.20 – good for the fifth-fastest of 39 moves at the distance.  “He’s training fine.  He’s happy and feels real good,” Geier continued. 

In his two races since his Louisiana victory, he was unlucky in the Mineshaft Handicap and then hooked up with Belmont Stakes winner Palace Malice and the highly regarded Normandy Invasion in the New Orleans Handicap – both races at Fair Grounds. 

“He probably should have won the Mineshaft Handicap,” said Geier. “He was shuffled back a bit too far and had too much to do.  Robby (Albarado, jockey) said he was too far back to make his run.  Then, he ran into two of the best horses in the country in the New Orleans, but he tried hard.”  Fordubai was a solid third in the Mineshaft and a distant fourth in the New Orleans.  Albarado was aboard for all three Fair Grounds starts. 

As far as other members of the Geier gang, he might try Fordubai’s eternal workmate and competitor – as they have raced each other five times – Street Spice on Arlington’s famed grass course.  The Tafel homebred was third last fall in the Grade III Hawthorne Gold Cup.  “I really don’t think he cares at all for the Polytrack, but I might try him on the grass.  He’s a half to All Stormy, so we may try to do so.”  All Stormy (also a Tafel homebred) was second in the Grade III American Derby in 2012 and should be active in an Arlington turf allowance this month.  Street Spice worked an impressive five furlongs in 1:00.00 on Sunday morning at Arlington – third-best of the aforementioned 39 moves – and All Stormy did the same distance in the same time (second-best of 34) a day prior.

GOOD BYE GREG IMPRESSES IN DEBUT
Churchill Downs was not the only host of quality 3-year-old action on Saturday.  Arlington International Racecourse saw a sophomore (and career) debut of Good Bye Greg, a handsome $135,000 Ocala Breeders’ Sales 2013 purchase who said sayonara to a maiden special weight field of six by an emphatic 13 lengths.

Owned by Patricia’s Hope LLC and trained by 2011 leading Arlington trainer Larry Rivelli, Good Bye Greg dashed out of the gate while jockey E. T. Baird sat motionless in the saddle.  Ambling easily through a quarter in :22.40 and a half in :46.22, the charge smoothly changed leads in the straight and was finished under a hand ride.  Despite the facile nature of the victory, the son of multiple graded stakes-winning sprinter/miler Teuflesberg still closed his final quarter in :24.14 to complete the six furlongs in 1:10.36.  The victory earned him an Equibase Speed Figure of 98. 

"He flew out of there,” said a visibly impressed Baird.  “He’s a serious racehorse.  He really could be something, this one.  He was going easy and just took off again when I straightened him out in the stretch.  I think he’ll go two turns, too.  He has such a high cruising rate.  He’s worth every penny (of his purchase price).”

A happy yet realistic Rivelli echoed Baird.  “Looking at the competition, I knew he was much better than those – at least on paper.  I knew this horse has always been in a different league since we bought him at OBS.  I’ve always liked him; one of the nicest I’ve had in a while.

“He had bucked shins as a 2-year-old, so I gave him some time off.  I’m glad he ran well,” Rivelli explained.  “E. T. just turned the stick and he took off. Depending on the number on the ‘Sheets’, he could be any kind of horse.”

With such a felicitous first time out, the Florida-bred may be heading toward bigger and better races.  “He came out well.  We’ll see how he does.  Even with just a maiden win, this horse has a lot of potential.  I’d like to run him in a stakes at Arlington if one pops up.  If not, we might go to Saratoga or Woodbine for a higher level allowance with him.  He’s trained well on dirt and I think he’ll get up to seven-eighths or maybe even a one-turn mile,” said Rivelli.  “Horses that run that fast – the key is keeping them sound.”

SATURDAY HAT TRICKS FOR RIVELLI AND BAIRD
Trainer Larry Rivelli and E. T. Baird took respective leads in the trainer and jockey standings on day two of the Arlington International 2014 meet.  Rivelli, who went three-for-three for the day after being blanked on Opening Day, won two of his races with Baird aboard and one with Arlington newcomer Sheldon Russell. 

The Rivelli/Baird team won the second race impressively with Patricia’s Hope LLC’s Good Bye Greg and the ninth race with V-Leaf Stable’s She’s Lit Up.  Rivelli landed the nightcap with Ravin With Roses, whom he co-owns with Richard Ravin, with Sheldon Russell aboard.  Baird’s other victory was aboard Louie Roussell III and Randy McBride’s Western Elegance in the fifth race.