The 73rd renewal of the Grade III Arlington-Washington Lassie approaches Sept. 6, and one week later on Sept. 13 is the 74th running of the Grade III Arlington-Washington Futurity.
And the way things are going lately, Arlington Park trainer Larry Rivelli appears loaded for bear in both spots.
Richard Ravin and Rivelli’s Ravin Maniac, coming off an impressive win over Arlington’s Polytrack course Aug. 7, breezed five-eighths Friday morning in 1:01.20 in preparation for next weekend’s Lassie, Arlington’s traditional one-mile main event for juvenile fillies.
“Ravin Maniac worked super this morning,” said Rivelli shortly after training hours. “She galloped out real well after the work, and as far as I’m concerned, she’s ready. We’re going to give it a roll in the Lassie with her.
“My Dominick James had a big day down at Fairmount the other day,” added Rivelli. “He did exactly what we expected, and we got exactly what we wanted from the race. Another horse pressed him early and he didn’t seem bothered by that at all. He doesn’t need the lead even though he has plenty of speed. We’ve found out he can be rated just as easily.”
My Dominick James, incidentally, is named for Rivelli’s 5-year-old son, who entered his first day of kindergarten Wednesday. Fortunately, the 2-year-old may turn out to be the best horse Rivelli has ever had.
“I probably put a lot of pressure on myself when I named this horse after my son,” said Rivelli, “but since the horse has turned out so well, I’m glad I did it. Everytime the horse wins, it makes me especially proud.”
Another of Ravin’s 2-year-old fillies Streamin Heat is in California, being trained by Wesley Ward while on the West Coast, is still a possible candidate for the Lassie, but lost all chance in Wednesday’s $100,000 Generous Portion Stakes at Del Mar after grabbing a quarter and ripping a shoe off shortly after the start.
“She’s on her way here from California right now,” said Rivelli, “and I’ll take a look at her after she gets here. But judging by what happened the other day, I would doubt I’ll run her in the Lassie. Right now, I’m leaning toward not running her.”
HALL OF FAMER FIRES STAYING HOT AT HOME
During Thursday’s races, Arlington Park’s all-time leading rider Earlie Fires struck twice more while the iron was hot, winning two races on the eight-race program 15 days after celebrating a riding triple here.
Fires may be retired from the saddle by the time the Arlington season closes Sept. 21, but at 61 years of age, the Arkansas native can still bring them to the winner’s circle.
Fires won Thursday’s second race with Frank Calabrese’s Buddha Pass for leading trainer Wayne Catalano, and then helped that owner-trainer tandem celebrate a double by guiding Breeze Keeper to a victory in the fourth.
Ironically, veteran Illinois-based reinsman Randy Meier, 54, all-time leading rider at both of Chicago’s Southside ovals, also won at Arlington Thursday, taking the finale aboard Gary Tussey’s Toast in the Park for trainer Tom Dorris.
Tussey and Dorris also celebrated a Thursday “bookend” owner-trainer double after posing in the winner’s circle following the opener with Buddha’s Bride, ridden by Tim Thornton.
Also, there was a Meier double of sorts Thursday. Apprentice Brandon Meier, 20, son of the Arlington jockey colony’s second eldest statesman, won the fifth race of the afternoon aboard Hoss-Bone Racing’s All in Slew, conditioned by Jim Gulick.
ANOTHER ‘GREEN DAY’ AT ARLINGTON ON LABOR DAY
For the second straight summer, Arlington Park “goes green” on Labor Day, with nine races on Monday’s 10-race program slated for Arlington’s world-famous grass course.
Early weather forecasts for Labor Day Monday predict ideal conditions, with no rain on the horizon and temperatures in the low 80s.