Arlington Million

Meal Penalty Makes Mid-America Triple Move

Churchill Downs Communications | 07/06/2008 #

In Today’s Notes:

· Meal Penalty Makes Mid-America Triple Move

· Barbette, Labar Breeze for Saturday’s Modesty ‘Cap

· Stars & Stripes Hero Silverfoot Possible for Million

· Earlie Returns in Saturday’s Sweetest Chant

· Longshots Abound Saturday at Arlington Park

There is only one horse this summer with a chance to join Tom Rolfe, Buckpasser and Honor Glide as the only Thoroughbreds to sweep Arlington Park’s Mid-America Triple, and that is Sassafras Racing and Gulf Coast Farms’ Meal Penalty.

Conditioned by four-time defending Eclipse Award winning-trainer Todd Pletcher, Meal Penalty won the $150,000 Arlington Classic – first leg of the Triple – on May 24, leading every step of the way for a game three quarter-length victory in that 1 1/16-miles grass test.

Sunday morning at Arlington, the gray son of Tale of the Cat breezed five furlongs in 1:02.60 in preparation for Saturday’s Grade II American Derby, second leg of the Triple to be contested at 1 3/16-miles over the local lawn. Should Meal Penalty be able to stretch out that added furlong, he would be in a position to sweep the sophomore series which concludes with Arlington’s Grade I Secretariat Stakes on Aug. 9 as part of the International Festival of Racing.

Also on Sunday’s work tab in a tune-up for the American Derby was Darrell Yates’ A. P. Answer, who breezed five-eighths in 1:01.80 in his initial move over Arlington’s Polytrack since arriving from the West Coast, where he broke his maiden over the Golden Gate grass in his last start June 4. The A. P. Indy colt worked a bullet half in :47.60 at Bay Meadows June 14 before leaving Northern California.

James Gallagher’s Barbette, heroine of Arlington’s $53,700 Possibly Perfect Stakes on June 22, breezed five furlongs in 1:00.60 Sunday morning at Arlington in preparation for Saturday’s Grade III Modesty Handicap.

The Modesty, final major local prep for Arlington’s Grade I Beverly D. Stakes Aug. 9, is one of three graded stakes Saturday that make up Arlington’s Million Preview Day.

Also slated Saturday is the Grade III Arlington Handicap in advance of the Grade I Arlington Million on the second Saturday in August, as well as the Grade II American Derby four weeks prior to the Secretariat Stakes.

Also breezing prior to this Saturday’s Modesty Handicap on Sunday morning was George Bates’ Labar, fourth in Arlington’s $97,350 Lincoln Heritage Handicap on June 21 as part of the Prairie State Festival. Labar, trained by Ricky Lindsay, breezed five furlongs in 1:04.40.

Modesty nomination Royal Leah, owned by Jacquelyn Cochonour and Triple C Thoroughbreds and trained by Mike Stidham, breezed a half in :48 Sunday morning.

Chrysalis Stables’ Silverfoot, two-length winner of Friday’s Grade III Stars and Stripes Handicap, is now being considered for a run in the Grade I Arlington Million Aug. 9.

“The Arlington Million is one of several possibilities we are now taking under consideration,” trainer Dallas Stewart said Saturday afternoon while speaking over the phone from his Kentucky base of operations.

Arlington Park history repeated itself in a manner of speaking when Hall of Fame jockey Earlie Fires, won Saturday’s $53,300 Sweetest Chant Stakes aboard Frank Calabrese’s Dreaming of Liz in a prep race for the Grade III Arlington Oaks Aug. 2

Fires, Arlington’s all-time leading rider, also rode the filly Sweetest Chant, owned by the late Russell Reineman, to victory in the 1981 Arlington Oaks and the 1982 Arlington Matron. That filly was trained by the late Joe Bollero, fifth on the list of Arlington’s all-time leading conditioners.

Dreaming of Liz, trained by Wayne Catalano, fourth on Arlington’s all-time trainer list, won last fall’s Grade III Arlington-Washington Lassie.

Win payoffs loomed large Saturday at Arlington Park, beginning in the opener when Cheryl Winebaugh’s Stay On paid $37.20 to win, based on a $2 wager.

In Saturday’s fifth race, Rich Fontana’s Ottaviani returned $45.40; in the eighth, Versatile Thoroughbreds’ Reine des Coeurs paid $64; and in the finale, Carson Springs Farm and Arbaway Farm’s Carson’s Hawk paid $45.20.