Promising Juveniles at Arlington Park
July 02, 2011 10:18am

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 first time.


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.





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 Park.


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.





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 Polytrack course.


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.





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