Kasaqui headlines first running of Les Ahrens Memorial

September 21, 2017 06:14am
Kasaqui Arlington Handicap 615 X 400
Photo: Four Footed Fotos

The first running of the $65,000 Les Ahrens Memorial Stakes drew a field of ten for the one-mile event on the turf at Arlington International Racecourse on Sept. 23. Leslie “Les” Ahrens was a well-known jockey and later trainer on the Chicago circuit. As a jockey he won the 1977 Grade III Illinois Derby on Flag Officer before finishing 10th in the Kentucky Derby that same year. He trained multiple graded-stakes winner Meafara to a second-place finish in the 1992 Breeders’ Cup Sprint. Ahrens passed away in December in Florida at the age of 66.

Headlining the field is 2016 Grade III Arlington Handicap winner Kasaqui (ARG). Wimborne Farm’s 7-year-old son of Lasting Approval finished third in the 2017 Arlington Handicap after capturing the Grade II Wise Dan Stakes at Churchill in June, but flattened in the Grade I Arlington Million last out for trainer Ignacio Correas. James Graham takes the mount once again as the duo breaks from gate eight.


Olympia Star, Inc.’s homebred Applicator will try to make it back-to-back stakes wins for owner and trainer Mikhail Yanakov. The 4-year-old son of Henrythenavigator won the Tourist Mile Stakes at Kentucky Downs on Sept. 6 by one length after hitting the board in the Grade III Stars and Stripes Stakes at Arlington earlier this summer as well as in the Grade III Miami Mile Stakes in April. Jose Valdivia, Jr. will ride from the rail.


Virginia H. Tarra Trust’s Oak Brook won over a yielding turf course earlier this season in the Black Tie Affair Handicap for trainer Brian Williamson. The 5-year-old son of Giant’s Causeway finished second in the Arlington Handicap next out, doing one better than his rival Kasaqui, then set all the pace in the 2017 Arlington Million before fading to sixth. Santo Sanjur will ride the gelding from post four.


Christian C (Declan Cannon, post two), Chip Leader (Mitchell Murrill, post three), Cammack (Jose Lopez, post five), Coco Mon (Chris Emigh, post six), Imposing Will (Fernando De La Cruz, post seven), Spring Up (Julio Felix, post nine) and Crewman (Carlos Marquez, Jr., post ten) complete the field.


Two races later, 14 fillies and mares will contest one mile on the turf in the $65,000 Steve Morgan Memorial Stakes. Steven Allen Morgan was a well-respected Alternate Steward for the Illinois Racing Board for twenty years. The Ohio native, who worked in various capacities for the Board for over thirty years, passed away last month at the age of 56.


Darrell and Sadie Brommer’s homebred Grade III-winner Prado’s Sweet Ride will be receiving class relief from her most recent two starts. The 5-year-old daughter of Fort Prado finished second in the Grade III Modesty Handicap at Arlington in July before fading to finish off the board in the Grade I Beverly D. on Aug. 12. The Chris Block trainee has worked three bullets over both courses since that lackluster effort and looks primed to return to her winning ways. Carlos Marquez, Jr. rides from post ten.


Looking to hold her at bay will be Feel The Thunder Stable and Oak Rock Racing, et al’s Lovely Loyree for trainer Michele Boyce. The 6-year-old mare by Cactus Ridge has only made one start this year in the Mike Spellman Memorial Handicap on June 17, but she finished well in front of her competition. Brief illness kept her out of training through much of the summer but the multiple graded stakes-placed mare has been training well this month for her comeback. Fernando De La Cruz gets the leg up from gate seven.


David Menard, Captain Jack Racing Stable and Tony Granitz’s America Mon Amie, second in the 2017 Mike Spellman Memorial, will look to keep her momentum rolling from her most recent win on Aug. 12 in an allowance optional-claimer at Arlington. The Granitz-trained 5-year-old daughter of All American (AUS) is facing familiar company, with the stakes-winning mare meeting rivals from four of her last races. Santo Sanjur gets the mount and will ride from post 13.


Patricia’s Hope, LLC’s Daddy’s Boo, second to America Mon Amie last out, will also take a shot at this company. The stakes-winning 6-year-old daughter of Sweet Return (GB) holds three other wins this season for trainer Larry Rivelli. Breaking from the rail, Jose Valdivia, Jr. will ride.


Paint the Corners (Edgar Perez, post two), Stormin Elle (James Graham, post three), Seeking Treasure (Pedro Cotto, Jr., post four), Some Say So (Julio Felix, post five), Shelbysmile (Declan Cannon, post six), Sweetbaby (Chris Emigh, post eight), Felt in Pocket (Jose Lopez, post nine), One Last Shot (Mitchell Murrill, post 11), Inconclusive (Denny Velazquez, post 12), and Disqualified (Carlos Ulloa, post 14) complete the field.

Source: Arlington International Racecourse


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