Racing & Wagering

Barn Notes: Thursday, June 14, 2012

| Churchill Downs Communications | 06/14/2012 #
  • Arlington Classic winner Silver Max added Indiana's Oliver Stakes to his win column.

In Today's Notes: Three International Festival Preps on East Coast Saturday; Arlington Classic Hero Silver Max Wins Indiana's Oliver Stakes


While Arlington dedicates this Saturday's program to the locally-focused Prairie State Festival, three significant prep races for Arlington's upcoming International Festival of Racing nine weeks later are offered at major tracks on the east coast.

Arlington showcases Saturday's card with six stakes races restricted to Illinois-breds – all with increased purses of $125,000 for this year's 12th renewal – but in the Commonwealth of Virginia, Colonial Downs presents the $500,000 Colonial Cup at 1 3/16-miles on turf as a possible prep race for four older horses that are original nominations to the 30th anniversary edition of the Grade I Arlington Million Aug. 18.

One race earlier on the Virginia program, Colonial offers its Grade III All Along Stakes for fillies and mares at nine furlongs on the grass, and two of its contestants are original nominations to Arlington's Grade I Beverly D. Stakes on that third Saturday in August.

Up in New York on Saturday, Belmont Park features the Grade III Hill Prince Stakes restricted to 3-year-olds at one mile over the Long Island lawn. Seven of those sophomores entered there are original nominations to Arlington's 2012 Mid-America Triple which concludes with the Grade I Secretariat Stakes on Aug. 18.

In the Colonial Cup, Gary and Mary West's Million nominee Casino Host is well regarded based on his half-length tally in the Grade II Mervin Muniz Memorial at Fair Grounds April 1. The Muniz Memorial is the top turf test offered in New Orleans each winter.

Augustin Stable's Million nominee Smart Bid, winner of the Muniz Memorial in 2011 and hero of the Grade III Fair Grounds Handicap this winter, is also slated to go to the post in the Colonial Cup.

Stuart Janney III's Million nominee Air Support, winner of the Grade III Virginia Derby as a sophomore last season, is also entered in the Colonial Cup, as is P and G Stable and Off the Hock LLC's Turbo Compressor, 10-length winner of Calder's $150,000 Carl G. Rose Classic last November in South Florida.

In Colonial's All Along, Flaxman Holdings' original 2012 Beverly D. nominee Pachattack heads the field of 11 members of the distaff set. The veteran of the last two renewals of the Beverly D. is coming off a neck win in Keeneland's Grade III Doubledogdare Stakes on April 20 and also captured the Grade III Arlington Matron a year ago.

Barbara Hunter's Beverly D. nominee Snow Top Mountain, winner of the Grade III Suwannee River Stakes over the Gulfstream grass last Feb. 11 is also entered in the All Along. The 5-year-old mare also boasts a victory in the $50,000 Kentucky Cup Ladies Turf at Kentucky Downs last September.

Team Valor's Mid-America Triple nominee Howe Great, who heads the field in Belmont's $150,000 Hill Prince, won Gulfstream's Grade III Palm Beach Stakes last March and finished third in Churchill's Grade II American Turf on Kentucky Oaks Day May 4 after breaking outwardly.

Second choice in the Hill Prince is Waterford Stable's Mid America Triple nominee Summer Front, winner of Gulfstream's grassy $100,000 Dania Beach Stakes, while Lael Stables' Mid-America Triple nominee Margano, a full brother to the ill-fated 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, is the third choice in the morning line for the Hill Prince.

Other Mid-America Triple nominees named to the Hill Prince are Repole Stable's Our Entourage, GDS Racing Stable's Star Channel, Courtlandt Farms' Film Shot and Gold Mark Farm's Monarchic.

Mark Bacon and Dana Wells' Silver Max, two-length victor of the $125,000 Arlington Classic as the first leg of Arlington's 2012 Mid-America Triple on May 26, captured the $210,600 Oliver Stakes by 6 3/4-lengths at Indiana Downs on Wednesday.

The Mid-America Triple continues with the Grade III American Derby at Arlington on Million Preview Day July 14 before concluding with the Secretariat Stakes on Arlington Million Day Aug. 18.