Racing & Wagering

Barn Notes: Wednesday, May 16, 2012

| Churchill Downs Communications | 05/16/2012 #

In Today's Notes: Najjaar, Sachem Spirit, All Stormy Likely for Arlington Classic;  Leading Apprentice Jockey Canchari Leaving for New York; 2008 Arlington Million Winner Spirit One Sires First Winner


Shadwell Stable's Najjaar was a disappointing seventh in the Grade I Arkansas Derby April 14 in his last trip to the post, but the homebred son of 2006 Belmont Stakes winner Jazil will now likely redirected from his aborted Triple Crown campaign to one in Arlington's Mid-America Triple.

"Everything is good with him right now," said trainer Danny Peitz during training hours Wednesday morning at Chicago's northwest suburban oval of the colt who was credited with a five furlong breeze in a minute flat last Saturday over the local Polytrack.

"I don't really know what happened to him in the Arkansas Derby," Peitz said. "We were very disappointed in that race. We were expecting a better race from him than we got that day, but he seems fine right now and I think the Arlington Classic might turn out to be a good spot for him.

"From what I've seen, (Najjaar) has no real preference for any particular surface," Peitz said. "He's run on dirt, Polytrack and turf and seems to handle all of them pretty much the same. We've gotten positive races from him on all three surfaces."

The $125,000 Arlington Classic is the first leg of Arlington's all-turf Mid-America Triple, which continues with the Grade III American Derby July 14 on Million Preview Day and concludes with the Grade I Secretariat Stakes on Arlington Million Day Aug. 18.

No horse has swept the Triple in the last 15 years, since Richard Schaedle III's Honor Glide accomplished the feat in 1997.

Manganero LLC and Woodford Racing LLC's Sachem Spirit, trained by Neil Howard, is another sophomore who could be headed for the Arlington Classic. The homebred son of Mr. Greeley out of a Giant's Causeway mare is coming off a first-level allowance win over the Lexington lawn at Keeneland and before that had broken his maiden with a 1 3/4-length tally over the Fair Grounds grass on Louisiana Derby Day April 1.

Sachem Spirit breezed five furlongs in 1:02 at Churchill Tuesday, with the "dogs" well out from the rail.

Barrington resident Jim Tafel, who has the Greg Geier-trained Fast Alex entered this Saturday in Arlington's Grade III Hanshin Cup, may be on hand for two straight Saturdays if All Stormy continues well in his training.

"All Stormy is doing good right now and we're looking forward to going in the Arlington Classic with him," Geier said Wednesday morning during Arlington training hours. "He worked last Saturday in 1:01.60, and we'll probably work him one more time this Saturday and then point him for the Classic the next Saturday."

Apprentice jockey Alex Canchari, Arlington's leading apprentice jockey with four wins through Sunday's program, will ride through Friday's Arlington program but will transfer his tack to the east coast this weekend.

"I'll ride through Friday's races here," said Canchari between races on Wednesday's program. "I'm scheduled for a mount in New Jersey on Saturday but will be riding in New York after that."

Kamel and Bouzid Chehboub's Aksil, a 3-year-old filly by 2008 Arlington Million winner Spirit One, became the first winner for that sire by winning a race at Salon-de-Provence in France on Monday.

Spirit One won two stakes races as a juvenile in France, including the Group III Prix des Chenes at Longchamp.