The Grade III Pucker Up Stakes, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary edition next season, is the centerpiece event of Saturday’s Arlington program, but two overnight handicaps restricted to horses registered in the Illinois program serve as supporting features on the same afternoon.
Saturday’s opening event is the $65,000 Lady Lionel Handicap for fillies and mares and will be run at one mile over Arlington’s world famous turf course.
Set to challenge those three are three additional members of the distaff – S. D. Brilie Partnership’s Goldway, a winner of her last four starts at Arlington this summer; Nancy Vanier and Lyda Williamson’s Kepi, runner-up in her last three and beaten less than a length for the win each time; and Dundalk 5 LLC’s Dundalk Dust, a veteran Illinois-bred stakes campaigner who has also been competitive in open company in Kentucky, Florida and Louisiana.
Saturday’s sixth race is the $65,000 Tex’s Zing Handicap restricted to 3-year-olds and up registered in the Illinois program. The race will be run at 1 1/16-miles over the local lawn.
Captain Jack Racing’s Mr. Mischief, hero of the $114,000 Black Tie Affair Handicap on Prairie State Festival Day June 16 and most recently runner-up by a nose in the $100,000 Illinois Owners Stakes, has been installed as the prohibitive 9-5 favorite in that field of seven, with his primary challenges expected to come from Robert and Kelly Dobbs and Carson Springs Farm’s Tazz and Volunteer Racing’s Forbidden Forest, who have been pegged at 3-1 and 9-2 respectively in the early line.
Completing the Tex’s Zing field is Team Block’s Mavericking (5-1), Russell L. Reineman Stable’s Color Me Blue (6-1), Midwest Thoroughbreds’ The Pizza Man (8-1) and Ronal Land’s Doug Junior (20-1).
CATALANO SCORES 900TH ARLINGTON WIN ON WAY TO THURSDAY TRIPLE
Trainer Wayne Catalano, who will win Arlington’s leading trainer title for the 10th time when the local 2012 season comes to a close on September 30, scored the 900th Arlington win of his career in Thursday’s first race when he saddled Greg Besinger’s Relinquere for a three-length victory under Jeffrey Sanchez.
It didn’t take Catalano long to start on his next nine hundred. The New Orleans-born conditioner, 56, got that with Darrell and Evelyn Yates’ Sea Lion, who was ridden by Miguel Mena, in the second race of the day. The all-Catalano 5-6 Daily Double returned $22.
Catalano, second only to Richard Hazelton (1,181 Arlington wins) as Arlington’s all-time leading trainer, made a “hat trick” out of Thursday afternoon by winning the sixth race with Bluegrass VII’s Grand Composer, who had Eddie Perez up, to give Catalano his 902nd career winner at Arlington.
Conditioner Roger Brueggemann had a training double Thursday, winning the fourth race with Midwest Thoroughbreds’ Zipping Away with Rosemary Homeister Jr. astride, and coming back to take the eighth with Midwest’s M C Selana, who had leading rider Francisco Torres up.
JOCKEY ALEJANDRO CONTRERAS GETS JOURNEYMAN STATUS
Arlington jockey Alejandro Contreras, who finished fifth and sixth aboard his only two mounts Thursday, was riding with journeyman status for the first time.
However, Contreras is slated for five mounts Friday in his quest for his initial score as a journeyman, including a ride aboard Glen Hill Farm’s 2-1 favorite Squad in the fifth race of the twilight racing program.
CAMELOT TRIES FOR ENGLISH TRIPLE CROWN IN SATURDAY’S ST. LEGER
Derrick Smith, Michael Tabor and Mrs. John Magnier’s Camelot will attempt to become the first horse since Charles Engelhard’s Nijinsky II in 1970 to sweep the English Triple Crown when he goes to the post in Saturday’s Group I St. Leger Stakes at Doncaster.
The St. Leger Stakes, first run in 1776 – the same year that United States celebrated its independence – was also the inspiration for Arlington’s inaugural running of the $400,000 American St. Leger Stakes during last month’s International Festival of Racing.