Racing & Wagering

Barn Notes: Saturday, Sept. 3

| Churchill Downs Communications | 09/03/2011 #

In Today's Notes: Ann of the Dance Waltzes in Arlington-Washington Lassie Breeze; No Spin Drills for Arlington-Washington Futurity Sept. 10; Jockey James Graham's Friday Double Makes for Four-Win Lead

William Cox's Ann of the Dance, undefeated in her two career starts – both over Arlington's Polytrack course – breezed five furlongs in 1:03.60 Saturday morning in preparation for her upcoming engagement in the 77th running of the Grade III Arlington-Washington Lassie, to be contested at one-mile over the local synthetic surface next week on Sept. 10.

"She finished up good and strong this morning and that's what we were looking for," said trainer Jimmy DiVito shortly after the move.

Ann of the Dance broke her maiden at first asking going five furlongs despite being bumped at the break and then forced to steady entering the lane. Nevertheless, she rallied in the late stages and drew clear by a length at the wire.

As a daughter of the turf specialist English Channel, the Illinois-bred Ann of the Dance was then entered for a grass race Aug. 14, but that race was subsequently taken off the turf and run at 1 1/16-miles. Unhurried early that day, she advanced steadily along the rail approaching the lane, split rivals to take clear command at the furlong grounds and drew off for a 6 1/2-length tally at the wire.

Trainer DiVito has posted an enviable record with 2-year-olds at Arlington this season, winning with seven of his 12 juvenile starters for a 58 percent win ratio.

Owner William Cox is retired heart surgeon from Rockford, Illinois, and the brother of well-known Thoroughbred owner E. A. Cox.

The Lassie is Arlington's showcase race for 2-year-old fillies each summer at Chicago's northwest suburban oval. Two years ago it was won by Nancy Mazzoni's She Be Wild and that daughter of Offlee Wild trained by Wayne Catalano went on to further glory in the Grade I Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita. She was subsequently named Eclipse Award-winning juvenile filly for the 2009 racing season.

Leonard Blach and Ray Willis's No Spin, who broke his maiden by 5 1/2 lengths on Aug. 7 over Arlington's Polytrack in a five and a half-furlong dash, breezed a bullet five furlongs in 58.20 Saturday morning in preparation for the 76th renewal of the Grade III Arlington-Washington Futurity at one mile on Sept. 10.

No Spin, a juvenile son of Johannesburg, is trained by Tim Ice, who saddled Kalarikkal and Vilasini Jayaraman's Summer Bird to win the Belmont Stakes at a mile and a half in 2009. The conditioner indicated last week that he was going to bring No Spin up to the Futurity off of works alone.

"He's been going well lately," said Ice. "Now I'm just trying to get him ready to go longer by getting a little air into him."

The Arlington-Washington Futurity, Chicago's tradition-rich main event for 2-year-olds, has been won by some of North America's most accomplished horses over its long history, including Laze Lane Farm's eventual 1991 Preakness and Belmont Stakes winner Hansel, Blanche Levy's eventual 1987 Belmont Stakes winner Bet Twice, Hunter Farm's eventual 1985 Kentucky Derby hero Spend a Buck and Rex Ellsworth's eventual 1963 Preakness winner Candy Spots.

Ogden Phipps' Buckpasser, who won the Arlington-Washington Futurity in 1965, came back to sweep Arlington's Mid-America Triple in 1966 on his way to Horse of the Year honors.

Jockey James Graham, who has finished as the runner-up in Arlington's final jockey standings in several seasons but has never won a local title, had a riding double Friday to increase his lead to four wins over current runner-up J. Z. Santana entering Saturday's program.

The Irish-born reinsman captured Friday's sixth race aboard Jack Smith III's Rainbow Blossom for trainer Mike Stidham and then came back to the winner's circle after the ninth on Wolfe Racing's Fan Tan Man for conditioner Hugh Robertson.

Robertson had saddled John Donaldson's Keep On Singing to win the seventh race with jockey Jermaine Bridgmohan in the irons and accomplished a training double for the afternoon.

Jockey Seth Martinez also posted a riding double, winning Friday's second race with 77 Double Lucky Ltd.'s Southland Jazz for trainer Charlie Bettis and Friday's finale with Black Oak Farm's Shorty Small for conditioner Ray Tracy Jr.