Racing & Wagering

Barn Notes: Friday, May 17, 2013

| Churchill Downs Communications | 05/17/2013 #
  • Verteran stakes performer Hooh Why may start next in the Grade III Arlington Matron on May 25. Photo by Four Footed Fotos

In Today’s Notes: Stakes Winners Highlight Competitive May 25 Graded Stakes

Arlington International Racecourse’s $5.5 million stakes schedule comes barreling out of the gate with three Grade III $150,000 affairs on Saturday May 25.  The Arlington Classic will kick off the Mid-America Triple for 3-year-olds on Arlington’s world-renowned turf course with what could possibly be a full field. 

Listed stakes winners Procurement and General Election both look to add a graded stakes victory to their respective resumes.  Glen Hill Farm’s Procurement is exiting an imposing win at Santa Anita in the La Puente Stakes, and has had the Classic on his radar since.  WinStar Farm’s General Election was on the Triple Crown trail earlier this year after a victory in the John Battaglia Memorial Stakes at Turfway Park, but those plans were derailed after an abysmal performance in the Grade III Spiral Stakes in March at that same track. 

After bouncing back with an excellent runner-up performance in the Grade III Lexington Stakes at Keeneland last out, he will be hoping his improving form transfers from Polytrack to turf in the Arlington Classic.  With a dam by Kingmambo, he should have little issue doing so. 

Illinois Derby runner-up Fordubai is taking dead aim on the Arlington Classic after a grand performance at Hawthorne Race Course last out.  A winner on turf and dirt, he ran a creditable fourth in his career debut at Arlington in September. 

The promising Bambazonki, a well-bred son of Hard Spun for Lothenbach Stables and trainer Chris Block, looks to transfer his excellent Arlington morning training to the afternoons in what will be his third attempt at a stakes.  After finishing a respectable but green runner-up in the Kitten’s Joy Stakes at Gulfstream Park in January behind Kentucky Derby contestant Charming Kitten, he ran a dull sixth in the Grade III Transylvania Stakes at Keeneland.  The lightly raced colt could have a bright future in the able and patient hands of his conditioner.

The red-hot combination of Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey and trainer Mike Maker, fresh off dominating the Keeneland spring meet, are looking to possibly bring their lightly raced Honor the Kitten, an easy winner of a maiden special weight winner at Keeneland in his only start.  Going from seven panels on Polytrack to a mile and a sixteenth on turf should be of little issue for the son of star turf sire Kitten’s Joy. 

One intriguing possible is Chuck and Maribeth Sandford’s regally bred Positively.  A half-brother to one of the best sires in America, Malibu Moon (sire of Kentucky Derby winner Orb), the Patrick Byrne trainee is still looking for his niche after running well on all three surfaces in graded stakes without a victory. 

The 77th running of the Arlington Matron is likely to be headlined by Mark Hoffman and Earl Trostrud Jr.’s Grade I-winning millionaire stalwart Hooh Why.  The reliable 7-year-old is exiting a come-from-behind victory in the Distaff Turf Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs for trainer Mike Reavis. 

Two runners from last month’s Grade III Doubledogdare Stakes at Keeneland could possibly renew their rivalry at Arlington.  Winner Ice Cream Silence looks to repeat that victorious form for trainer Rusty Arnold and owner G. Watts Humphrey Jr., while the Wesley Ward-trained runner-up Sisterhood hopes to turn the tables for owners Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey. 

One possible entrant to watch is Shadwell Farm homebred Ausus.  A multiple stakes-placed daughter of 2006 Horse of the Year Invasor trained by locally based Danny Peitz, she exits the very tough Grade I Jenny Wiley at Keeneland.  Graham Motion has also nominated three to the race, with the most interesting being Augustin Stable’s Appealing Cat, who last out landed an impressive allowance victory at Keeneland.

The Grade III Hanshin Cup is also shaping up to be an intriguing affair.  Jim Tafel’s versatile All Stormy heads this field and looks to hit the winner’s circle for the first time this year.  A half-brother to promising 3-year-old Street Spice, All Stormy is training well in the mornings and seems to love the Polytrack, according to trainer Greg Geier. 

The expansive Mark Casse stable nominated Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Gary Barber’s Patrioticandproud, who comes off an uninspiring seventh in the Grade II Alysheba Stakes at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Oaks Day.  A solid runner-up in the Grade II Autumn Stakes on Woodbine’s Polytrack four starts back, Patrioticandproud could appreciate the return to what seems to be his best surface. 

Lothenbach Stable’s veteran gelding Mister Marti Gras will be making his eighth Arlington start for trainer Chris Block.  When last seen at Arlington, Mister Marti Gras finished a valiant second in the Grade III Washington Park Handicap in September.  The gelded son of Belong To Me looks to be better than ever after a runner-up finish at Keeneland behind Augustin Stable’s regally-bred Utley, who looks to be one of the serious contenders in tomorrow’s Grade II Dixie Stakes at Pimlico Race Course.