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Barn Notes: Thursday, July 11, 2013
In Today’s Notes: Four Stakes Winners Face Off in Coach Jimi Lee
FOUR STAKES WINNERS FACE OFF IN COACH JIMI LEE
What started as a simple $65,000-added overnight stakes following the barrage of Million Preview Day stakes on Saturday has become one of the most competitive fields on an already impressive 12-race July 13 card. What was simply “Race 11: The Coach Jimi Lee” for straight 3-year-olds over the common seven-furlong distance before, is now a quality extended sprint for sophomores – seven of whom have won or placed in a stakes (five graded).
An eyebrow-raising four stakes winners have entered the race, headlined by Swifty Farms’ graded stakes-winning Pataky Kid, winner of last fall’s Grade III Arlington-Washington Futurity over a mile. Trained by Tom Proctor, the son of Rockport Harbor will make his first start on the local course since that race. In the meantime, the Oklahoma-bred has competed well in seven winless starts, including good fourths in both the Grade I Breeders’ Futurity in October and the $200,000 Centaur Stakes at Indiana Downs last out on the grass. With both of his wins coming around one turn at Arlington, getting back on the winning path is the obvious aim for this charge on Saturday.
Both Muppet Man and Ruler of Love won listed stakes at seven furlongs as juveniles and are in dangerous form, currently. Curtis C. Green’s Muppet Man won last fall’s seven-furlong Meadowlake Stakes over the local course before finishing second to Pataky Kid in the Arlington-Washington Futurity. Saturday will only be his third race of the season, which for him did not begin until June 1. Coincidentally, his trainer Jimmy DiVito conditioned the race’s namesake – a gelding who ran the fastest six furlongs in Illinois history (1:07.27) at Hawthorne Race Course as a sophomore, as well as two sprint stakes at Arlington that year. Coach Jimi Lee would go on to win 18 of 56 races and earn $1,007,693 in 10 seasons.
Ruler of Love, whose four-man ownership group is headed by Matthew N. Rebro, Jr., faded badly last out in the Centaur in his first race in two months. Previously, he ran a good third in the Grade III Derby Trial Stakes at Churchill Downs and won the Kentucky Downs Juvenile four starts earlier as a 2-year-old for trainer Joan Scott.
The fourth stakes winner in the field is The Elkstone Group’s Pitch N Roll. A Pennsylvania-bred and based son of Scipion, Pitch N Roll ships in for trainer Ron Potts off a gritty allowance win at Presque Isle Downs. A winner of four of 10 starts and leading earner in the field with $212,120, the gelding won the restricted Mark McDermott Stakes as a juvenile and was a good fourth in the $500,000 Penn Mile two starts back behind leading Grade I Secretariat Stakes hopeful Rydilluc.
Three-time Breeders’ Cup-winning trainer Patrick Byrne is shipping in the promising Positively for owners Chuck and Maribeth Sandford. A colt who has competed well at various distances and on all three surfaces, Positively’s versatility has probably been his trainer’s most significant quality and quandary with him.
As a juvenile, the bay son of Distorted Humor ran solid seconds in the Grade III Bashford Manor Stakes and Grade III Iriquois Stakes, while also delivering a powerful kick to lose by only three lengths in the Grade I Breeders’ Futurity, closing from 13th and last. As a sophomore, he has shown that same burst to finish a good second in both a one-turn mile allowance on the dirt and a two-turn 1 1/16-mile allowance on the turf. On Saturday, the colt looks to earn his first stakes win at a distance at which he has never competed. A half-brother to leading stallion Malibu Moon, sire of 2013 Kentucky Derby winner Orb, Positively’s value could exponentially increase with a black-type victory.
Adding even more wealth to the field is Gary and Mary West’s Treasury Bill. A name that may seem familiar to those who followed the Triple Crown trail this year, Treasury Bill was formerly with the California-based Ron Ellis stable, but will be making his second start for leading local trainer Wayne Catalano. The son of Lemon Drop Kid, in his first start for Catalano, finished a non-threatening ninth in the Grade III Matt Winn Stakes on June 15 at Churchill Downs. Earlier in the year, the bay colt ran extremely well in the Grade II San Vicente Stakes at Santa Anita, finishing a hard-closing second. Things did not go to plan for the colt afterward, including an unplaced start in the Grade II Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn. Now, he is rebuilding his career with a new conditioner and a new home base right here at Arlington.