The first 2-year-old allowance
race of the 2011 Arlington Park season will take place Saturday as the last
race of the day – immediately prior to the local oval’s presentation of the
largest Fourth of July Fireworks Show in Chicago this weekend.
Early-arriving fireworks fans
can get a glimpse of two locally-based juveniles who each won impressively in
their career debuts but will now be matching strides against each other for the
However, there are four other
youngsters in the five-furlong dash, invading Arlington from four other
racetracks, and all of them, although locally less known, are coming off
winning efforts in their most recent starts in various parts of the nation.
The top two local horses are
Tri Star Racing’s Pryce’s Posse, trained by Tim Ice and to be ridden by
Irish-born James Graham, and Alice Mettler’s Hogy, conditioned by Joel Berndt
with French-born Florent Geroux slated for the saddle. Respectively, they
are 9-5 and 2-1 in Saturday’s morning line.
Pryce’s Posse won his debut
here June 19 by four lengths for Ice, primarily known for saddling Summer Bird
to win the 2009 Belmont Stakes, and Hogy won his local bow by 7 3/4-lengths
June 11 for Berndt, the trainer champion at the two most recent Hawthorne
meetings on the south side of Chicago.
Comprising the quartet of
invading juveniles are Ron McCauley’s Hannah’s Holiday, who won his most recent
start at Presque Isle Downs in Pennsylvania by 3 3/4-lengths on June 5; Mark
Jensen’s Born Force, who won his last at Arapahoe Park in Colorado by a
half-length; Kentucky Three Crowns Stable’s Gimmeawish, victorious by 1
3/4-lengths May 12 at Churchill Downs in Kentucky; and Vladamir Kazakov’s
Winner’s Spirit, 1 1/2-lengths the best in his last start June 5 at Mountaineer
Park in West Virginia.
As an added garnish to
Saturday’s fireworks appetizer, track announcer John G. Dooley will call the
race amongst the crowd at Mr. D.’s Sports Bar on the east end of the grandstand.
INTRODUCING OWNER-TRAINER MARK JENSEN TO ARLINGTON
Arriving on the local grounds
Tuesday night after driving from Colorado to Chicago
– and hauling two precocious Thoroughbreds behind him – was owner-trainer Mark
Jensen, now in the midst of making his first visit to Arlington
Jensen, 52, a native of Utah,
brought a 2-year-old named Born Force for Saturday’s $25,925 allowance test
that will serve as the last race of the day prior to Arlington’s Fireworks
Extravaganza, as well as a 3-year-old named Forest Mouse, slated to go to the
post in the Grade II American Derby, to be contested over Arlington’s world
famous turf course as part of the local oval’s Million Preview Day July 9.
The American Derby, middle
jewel of Arlington’s
Mid-America Triple, carries a purse of $200,000 and serves as the final local
prep for the Grade I Secretariat Stakes which will be run on Arlington Million
Day Aug. 13.
Forest Mouse was mostly
recently first under the wire by a length in the $40,000 Inaugural Stakes on
the main track at Arapahoe Park May 29, but was subsequently disqualified and
placed second for drifting out in the stretch run.
“However, earlier this year he
made two starts on the grass at Turf Paradise and won both of them easily,”
said Jensen, “and one of those was against older horses.
“Born Force looks like he’s
going to be a nice 2-year-old for me, so I brought him along as well for
Saturday’s race,” said Jensen. “These horses I’m running against Saturday
are all babies, so you never know who’s going to keep improving.”
Jensen, the son of a longtime
far West-based conditioner, has been training on his own, primarily in New
Mexico, for the last 30 years. Before that, he
rode briefly for one season at the now-defunct Commodore Downs in Erie,
Pennsylvania, in 1975.
TRAINER D. WAYNE LUKAS MAKES 2011 ARLINGTON
Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne
Lukas will have his first starter at Arlington
Park this Sunday when Westrock
Stables’ Tidal Pool goes to the post as the co-highweight in Sunday’s featured
Grade III Chicago Handicap for fillies and mares at seven furlongs over Arlington’s
Tidal Pool, a 4-year-old
daughter of Yankee Gentleman, is coming off a third-place finish in Belmont’s
Grade II Vagrancy Handicap June 4 and has been pegged as the 9-5 choice in the
morning line for the Chicago Handicap.