Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Arlington Park Barn Notes: Wed., June 6

Think in terms of threes this Saturday at Arlington! That’s when Chicago’s northwest suburban oval plays host to the largest Triple Crown Bash in the Midwest.

Reddam Racing’s Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I’ll Have Another’s connections are hoping for another – that is a third victory in Saturday’s 144th running of the Belmont Stakes – making their 3-year-old colt the 12th horse in Thoroughbred racing history to sweep North America’s Triple Crown.

The Belmont is run in New York, but Chicago racing fans are invited to Arlington for the chance to witness and wager on this possible history via a simulcast of the Belmont Stakes to Arlington, where 11 live races will be contested locally in addition to that simulcast of the final jewel of the Triple Crown.

It’s been 34 years since Harbor View Farm’s Affirmed became the last horse to sweep the Triple Crown. Since then, 11 other sophomores have captured both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness before going down to defeat in the Belmont.

A sweep of racing’s Triple Crown is considered to be one of the most difficult accomplishments in all sports, and the current draught since 1978 is the longest in North American racing, but it has been done before and it will be again. But the big question this week is will 2012 the year it happens?

In the spirit of the Triple Crown, Arlington is using a theme of “threes” on Saturday to celebrate the occasion with Triple Crown specials.

Arlington is offering free mystery Win Bet tickets on I’ll Have Another – ranging for $3 to $333 – to the first 3,333 fans who purchase tickets online when they show their ticket at the East Paddock redemption counter.

There will also be a free ticket giveaway for Arlington’s Million Preview Day July 14 to the first 3,333 people to enter Arlington’s gates this Saturday.

Also on Saturday at Arlington, there will be a $3 Triple Crown Combo to include a hot dog, chips and a 12-ounce Miller Lite or soda offered in the Park from Noon-3:33 p.m.

And should I’ll Have Another win the Belmont, Arlington will offer a Triple Crown beer special – $3 24-ounce Miller Lites in Cobey’s Food Court, Mr. D’s Sports Bar and also in the Park for the remainder of the race day.

Lastly, in one final tribute to the Triple Crown and in remembrance of Affirmed’s 1978 Triple Crown sweep, there will be a disc jockey spinning hits from the ‘70s in the winner’s circle throughout the day with commemorative t-shirts tossed before each race.


Andrews T and S Racing’s Mr. Vegas, winner of the Grade III Col. E. R. Bradley Handicap over Fair Grounds’ Stall-Wilson turf course last January in New Orleans, is expected to rule the choice in Saturday’s featured $65,000 Sea o’ Erin Stakes at 1 1/16-miles over Arlington’s world-famous turf course.

Trained by Richie Scherer, Mr. Vegas also finished second by a head in the Grade III Fair Grounds Handicap and was then fourth, beaten two lengths for the win, in the Grade II Mervin Muniz Memorial as the final leg of the Crescent City oval’s three-race turf series for older horses.

Also expected for the Sea o’ Erin is Jean and Ted Barlas and Mike Porcaro’s Quite a Handful, who finished sixth in the 2009 edition of Arlington’s Grade I Secretariat Stakes and is conditioned by Arlington-based Andy Hansen.

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