Defending champion Cosmonaut, who races in the colors of Flying Zee Stable, has accepted top impost of 121 pounds and will head to post July 21 as the 8-5 morning-line favorite in the Arlington Handicap (gr. IIIT) for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/4 miles over turf.
The Arlington Handicap for is one of three graded stakes races that comprise the track's Million Preview Day program and is the final local prep for the Arlington Million (gr. IT), which will be held Aug. 11. In addition to the Arlington Handicap, the 10-race card includes the $250,000 American Derby (gr. IIT) and the $150,000 Modesty Handicap (gr. IIIT).
A son of Lemon Drop Kid , Cosmonaut wired the field by to win 2 1/4 lengths over soft ground in last year's Arlington Handicap (gr. IIIT) under Julien Leparoux, who has the return call. The Patrick Biancone-trainee checked at the start of the 2006 Arlington Million (gr.IT) and finished fifth, just 2 1/2 lengths behind the winner The Tin Man.
Since then, Cosmonaut has been knocking on the door in graded-stakes competition, including a troubled second in the Dixie Stakes (gr. IIT) at Pimlico on Preakness day and a fourth in the Manhattan Handicap (gr. IT) at Belmont Park on the day of the Belmont Stakes (gr. I). His lone victory since last year's Arlington Handicap came against allowance company at Keeneland in April.
Among those slated to challenge Cosmonaut is Peter Vegso's Go Between, winner of the 2006 Virginia Derby (gr. IIT). The 4-year-old son of Point Given is one for three this year with his sole victory coming in the restricted Florida Turf Classic at Tampa Bay Downs in April. In his most recent start, the Bill Mott-trained colt finished third after breaking in the air in the $100,000 Opening Verse Handicap at Churchill Downs June 2. Robby Albarado gets the call.
Other graded stakes winners in the field include S J Stables LLC's Cloudy's Knight, who took the Fair Grounds Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. III) in February and Live Oak Plantation's Revved Up, victor in the 2005 Stars and Stripes Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IIIT) over this course and more recently the winner of the Sycamore Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Keeneland last October. The Frank Kirby-trained Cloudy's Knight will carry 117 pounds and will partner with Ramsey Zimmerman while trainer Christophe Clement has named Rene Douglas to ride Revved Up, who has been assigned 117 pounds.
The field for the Arlington Handicap (gr. IIIT) includes:
1-- Revved Up (Rene Douglas, 117)
2-- Come On Jazz (Christopher Emigh, 114)
3-- Meadow Vespers (Mary Elizabeth Doser, 116)
4-- Go Between (Robby Albarado, 116)
5-- Gray Suitor (Jeremy Rose, 114)
6-- Cloudy¹s Night (Ramsey Zimmerman, 117)
7-- Lord Carmen (Cecilio Penalba, 113)
8-- Cosmonaut (Julien Leparoux, 121)
9-- Murch (James Graham, 113)
10-- I Believe in Me (Larry Sterling Jr., 113)
11- Green Lemon (Jesse Campbell, 114)