Racing & Wagering

Barn Notes: Sat. May 28

| Churchill Downs Communications | 05/28/2011 #
  • Jockey Corey Nakatani is expected to join the Arlington Park riding colony Wednesday.

Memorial Day Showcases 2nd Foursome of Festival Previews;Jockey Junior Alvarado Awaiting Visit to Specialist Next Week;Jockey Corey Nakatani  Due at  Arlington Wednesday

Following closely on the heels of Saturday’s Arlington Classic in Chicago, Sheepshead Bay Stakes in New York, American Handicap in Los Angeles and Louisville Handicap at Churchill Downs, a second foursome of stepping stones to Arlington’s International Festival of Racing is slated for Memorial Day Monday.

Easily headlining that Memorial Day quartet is Hollywood’s Grade I Gamely Stakes – as always a major step on the road to Arlington’s Grade I Beverly D. for grass-favoring fillies and mares of international caliber to be run Aug. 13.

Not surprisingly, Monday’s eight-horse field for the Gamely Stakes includes Richard Duchossois’ Éclair de Lune, the heroine of last summer’s $750,000 Beverly D.  Trained by Ron McAnally, the German-bred mare must shoulder the top impost of 123 pounds in Monday’s nine-furlong turf test.  In her most recent trip to the post the 5-year-old daughter of Marchand de Sable finished fifth, beaten three and a half lengths over yielding going in Keeneland’s Grade II Jenny Wiley Stakes April 16.  In that outing over the Lexington lawn she hit the gate at the break and was bumped during the running.

Éclair de Lune worked five furlongs handily in 1:04 over the Hollywood grass course on Thursday morning.

In all, six of the eight entrants in the Gamely are original nominations to the 2011 Beverly D.  From the inside out, in addition to Éclair de Lune on the hedge, they are Mr. and Mrs. Jerome Moss’s Kentucky-bred Cozy Rosie, Michael Tabor’s Irish-bred Turning Top, Neville Callaghan, Clodagh McStay, M. V. Magnier and Annabel Wyatt’s British-bred Dubawi Heights, Spendthrift Farm’s Kentucky-bred Malibu Pier and Coudelaria Jessica’s Brazilian-bred Celtic Princess.

An additional possible preview of the Beverly D. comes at Lone Star Park which offers its Grade III Ouija Board Distaff Stakes Monday at one mile over the Texas grass.  Although none in that field are original nominations to the Beverly D., late nominations to the sister race to the Grade I Arlington Million are not due until Aug. 3.

Also on Monday at Lone Star, Millennium Farms and Mike McCarty’s Expansion, who won the Grade III Fair Grounds Handicap in New Orleans last winter and then was runner-up in the Grade II Mervin Muniz Handicap at that same oval, goes to the post in the $150,000 Dallas Turf Cup.  Expansion, conditioned by 2009 Eclipse Award-winning trainer Steve Asmussen, is an original nomination to this summer’s Arlington Million Aug. 13.

Lastly, the $200,000 Lone Star Derby will be contested on the turf for the first time on Monday, allowing that mile and a sixteenth affair to be considered as a prep for the Grade I Secretariat Stakes during Arlington’s one-day International Festival of Racing.

William Farish and Skara Glen Stables’ Close Ally, second in Churchill’s Grade III American Turf on Kentucky Oaks Day, and Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Derby Kitten, unplaced in the Kentucky Derby the following afternoon but winner of Keeneland’s Grade III Lexington Stakes previously, are both original nominations to Arlington’s Mid-America Triple which concludes with the Secretariat, and both are entered in Monday’s Lone Star Derby.

Jockey Junior Alvarado, Arlington’s riding champion in 2009 and current leading rider this season, will await a visit to a bone specialist next week before an estimate can be made concerning his recovery time from a broken collarbone suffered in a riding accident Friday.

“Junior’s doing fine today,” said agent Jay Fedor Saturday morning at Arlington.  “In the emergency room yesterday, the doctor said he thought Junior would be out maybe four weeks, but we’ll have no official timetable for his recovery until he sees a specialist next week.”

California-based veteran reinsman Corey Nakatani will be coming to Arlington Park with his engagements being handled by agent Jay Fedor, according to Arlington racing secretary Chris Polzin.

“We are drawing Wednesday’s races right now,” Polzin said Saturday, “and Nakatani is being named on horses for that day.”