Dolphus Morrison’s Gold Edge and Frank Calabrese’s All Her Class, first and second respectively less than a length apart at the finish in Saturday’s $67,100 Lisa M Stakes, might well be matching strides again in Chicago’s centerpiece race for 2-year-old fillies, the upcoming Grade III Arlington-Washington Lassie to be contested at one mile on Sept. 8.
“This filly has unbelievable talent,” said trainer Lon Wiggins immediately following the Lisa M of the winning Gold Edge, “but she’s kind of ‘quirky.’ We’ve worked with her a lot on that, but she’s still not quite where we want to be with her. She got a little nervous on us in the paddock before the race today.
“I also think her groom Alejandro Morales has done a real good job with her getting ready for what she showed us today,” Wiggins concluded. “Based on this race, I think we’ll try for the Lassie.”
Arlington’s leading trainer Wayne Catalano reported Sunday morning that Lisa M runner-up All Her Class, who finished three-quarters of a length behind Gold Edge, came out of her race well.
“I thought the kid (jockey Miguel Mena) moved a little too early,” Catalano said when asked to assess his filly’s performance, “and then she ran a little green down the lane.”
ARLINGTON-WASHINGTON FUTURITY TABBED FOR ‘MUPPET’, TRIPLE CROSS
Curtis Green’s Muppet Man, easily the winner in Saturday’s $66,700 Meadowlake Stakes, and Taylor Rice’s Triple Cross, clearly second best, are likely to face each other again in the upcoming Grade III Arlington-Washington Futurity, Chicago’s showcase race for juveniles.
“This is a real nice horse,” said Muppet Man’s trainer Jimmy DiVito, who has earned a reputation as Chicago’s guru conditioner of 2-year-olds in recent years. “He does everything real easy. He gets over the ground nice. He trains any way you want. He’s an easy horse to train.”
Muppet Man’s owner Green offered an insight on how his colt got his name during a winner’s circle interview immediately after the Meadowlake, which was designed to be a prep for the Arlington-Washington Futurity at one mile on Sept. 8.
“My granddaughters wanted me to give that name to one of my horses,” said Green, “but they told me to make sure it was a good one before I used that name.”
Wayne Rice, trainer of Triple Cross, offered his own analysis of Saturday’s Meadowlake Stakes.
“I’ve looked at the race again several times today,” said Rice on Sunday morning. “Muppet Man had a clean trip all the way around, but I told Arienne (Triple Cross’s jockey Cox) to take our horse back and give him a little bit of an education. There was a reason for that. When I’m developing 2-year-olds, I like a closer a lot better than an all-speed horse. That race yesterday was at seven furlongs, and when I look at the one-mile distance of the Futurity I think it will suit our horse a lot better because of the way we’ve been training him.”
JOCKEY MIGUEL MENA SCORES SATURDAY HAT TRICK AT ARLINGTON
Peruvian-born jockey Miguel Mena, who came to Arlington following the close of Churchill Downs’ spring meeting, scored a riding triple on Saturday’s program.
Mena, 25, won the second half of the Daily Double aboard Tri Star Racing’s Pryce’s Posse for trainer Tim Ice, came back to the winner’s circle after the seventh on Charles Galli’s Courser for leading trainer Wayne Catalano and completed his hat trick after the eighth aboard Chuck and Maribeth Sandford’s Awesome Attack for conditioner Pat Byrne.
Puerto Rican-born Jeffrey Sanchez, 27, riding at Arlington for the first time this summer and currently a solid fifth in the jockey standings, had a riding double Saturday, winning the $66,700 Meadowlake Stakes on Curtis Green’s Muppet Man and the finale aboad Kenneth Fishbein’s Francois for conditioner Charlie Bettis.