Earlier this year, four weeks after breaking his maiden going 1 1/8-miles on the grass March 10, trainer Jerry Fanning entered Wenga Enterprise's Cherokee Kim in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I). The colt by Cherokee Colony finished fifth behind The Thoroughbred Corp.'s Point Given, who went on to capture the Preakness and Belmont Stakes (both gr. I).
"He got too far back in the Santa Anita Derby," said Fanning of Cherokee Kim. "He wasn't going to beat Point Given that day, but he might have done a little better against the others in front of him. In his last race at Hollywood Park on the dirt, jockey Eddie Delahoussaye told me he was just slipping behind all the way around."
Cherokee Kim, due to fly into Chicago and be on the grounds at Arlington Park Wednesday afternoon, is one of the prime candidates for Saturday's Arlington Classic (gr. IIT) presented by Woodford Reserve. The 1 1/8-mile turf fixture, the first grade II race of the summer season at Arlington, is also the first leg of Arlington's Mid-America Triple. The Mid-America Triple continues July 23 with the American Derby (gr. IIT) and concludes with the Secretariat (gr. IT) as part of the International Festival of Racing Aug. 18, Arlington Million Day.
"I think the grass courses in California are just too hard for him," said Fanning, over the phone from California earlier this week, when explaining his decision to send Cherokee Kim to Arlington. "There's not a better grass course in the country than Arlington's, and if he gets a good pace in front of him, I expect he'll run well.
"I nominated him for the whole (Mid-America Triple) series," said Fanning, "but I'm not sure yet how he'll fit with those kind of horses coming in later. He's just a big, old galloping horse who really wants to go a mile and a quarter or a mile and a half."Fan Club Mister a Local Arlington Classic Hopeful
P. Miessler & C. Raber's Fan Club's Mister, who won the $100,000 Canterbury Derby in Minnesota in his last start, will represent local horsewoman Rickey Harris in Saturday's Arlington Classic.
"He's a very nice colt," said the conditioner during training hours mid-week. "My only trepidation is 'Can he run a mile and an eighth?' Other than that, he's ready to go. I know he's a good miler, and he ran a big number in a mile and a sixteenth race at Gulfstream this winter.
"But in his two mile-and-an-eighth races, the Spiral and the Illinois Derby, he didn't run well," Harris said. "He had bad trips in both of those races, so I'm hoping the grass will be different. I know he likes the turf.
"If he runs good Saturday," Harris concluded. "I'll run him in the other two races (American Derby and Secretariat). If he doesn't, than we'll be shopping for a mile and and mile-and-a-sixteenth races."Sunday's Stars and Stripes Breeders' Cup Turf
The 70th running of the Stars and Stripes Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IIIT) will be run Sunday at 1 1/2-miles on the grass, and On Target Racing Stable's Williams News, winner of last year's edition, is set to defend his championship.
According to Arlington stakes coordinator Chris Polzin, likely to oppose Williams News, now a 6-year-old, are: Catherine R. Willis' Craigsteel, third in Keeneland's Elkhorn (gr. IIIT) at last asking April 25; Gary Tanaka's Falcon Flight, fifth in the Charles Whittingham (gr. IT) June 10; and M. Conway, K. Hoffman and Team Canonie's Profit Option, second in the $100,000 Louisville Handicap June 2.
Possible for the Stars and Stripes are: Chorwon and Three Wonders.