Europeans Arrive at Arlington; Updates on Other Classic Contenders

Edited from an Arlington Park release

After arriving at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport on an equine charter flight from Amsterdam Sunday, Ross Gilbert's Good Day Too and Team Valor's European were both doing well Wednesday in advance of their upcoming starts in Saturday's $175,000 Arlington Classic (gr. IIT), presented by Woodford Reserve, the first leg of Arlington Park's Mid-America Triple.

The Classic, at a mile and an eighth over the Arlington lawn, will be followed by the grade II American Derby, presented by Jack Daniel's, at a mile and three-sixteenths July 20 and the grade I Secretariat at a mile and a quarter August 16.

Good Day Too remains stabled in Arlington's International Barn under the care of his Irish connections through Saturday's race, while European has already been moved to Elliott Walden's Arlington barn. Good Day Too will join trainer Chris Block's barn after Saturday.

Good Day Too, unraced as a 2-year-old, is coming off a runner-up finish when upset a head by French-bred Tipperary All Star in the Airlie Stud Silver Stays at The Curragh May 25.

"He was the best horse in the race," said Fozzy Stack, 23, son of Irish trainer Tommy Stack, "but things didn't work out for us tactically. Turning for home that day he was still two lengths back and he likes to get a lead. In his start before that he was beaten a half by Refuse To Bend, and that horse went on to win the 2000 Guineas."

The younger Stack will stay at Arlington through Saturday's race in lieu of his father, who will remain on The Emerald Isle for Saturday's Irish Derby (Ire-I). The youngster was asked to compare his horse to European, who was his travel companion last weekend.

"He's a good horse, too," said Stack of European. "Let me just say this--if we were both still at The Curragh for Saturday's race, we'd be watching each other every step of the way."

European, undefeated in two starts and most recently winner of the Amethyst Stakes on May 11 at Leopardstown, is doing equally well in Barn 20, according to Shannon Ritter, in charge of Walden's Chicago string.

"He's doing fine and he looks great," said Ritter. "He went out yesterday (Tuesday) and again today and galloped a little more than a mile each day. He was a little terror out there. He'll probably school in the paddock tomorrow, and Elliott will be here for that, but I doubt he will be here on Saturday because Ipi Tombe is running Saturday at Churchill.

(Ipi Tombe, now owned by a partnership of Team Valor, WinStar Farm & Sunmark Partners, is scheduled to make her American racing debut in Saturday's grade III Locust Grove stakes in Louisville in advance of a projected start in the grade I Beverly D. at Arlington August 16.)

Stidham Sends One of Two Possibles Postward in Classic
Oak Crest Farm's Herculated and Golden Racing Stable's Bannock Burner, working in company, both breezed three furlongs on the grass with the "dogs" up in :36 Wednesday morning at Arlington Park for trainer Mike Stidham, and shortly after the move, Stidham indicated that Herculated would be Stidham's lone starter in Saturday's grade II Arlington Classic, presented by Woodford Reserve.

"Rather than running them against each other, I think we'll just enter Herculated Saturday," said Stidham "We were pleased with the work for both of them, but we're still not sure whether Bannock Burner is better on the turf or the main track, and there is an overnight race coming up that fits him better."

Bannock Burner has made two starts in his career, one on dirt and one on grass, but was much the best in his career debut over the main track on Arlington Park's opening day, May 9.

Herculated, who won his first grass outing by a length and a half at the Fair Grounds March 15 after breaking his maiden there on the main track by five Feb. 17, suffered his first defeat in his last start here at Arlington when third in the $45,000 Awad Stakes, scheduled for the turf but run on the main track June 8 following inclement weather.

"I'm not sure how much he appreciated that sloppy going," said Stidham. "Hopefully, he'll like the grass here on Saturday."

Pletchers All Coming To Classic With Lismore Knight
Noted Ocala horseman J.J. Pletcher, co-owner of Arlington Classic candidate Lismore Knight and father of conditioner Todd Pletcher, is planning on being at Arlington Saturday along with his wife Joan and his trainer son in time for the Arlington Classic

"He's a nice horse," said the elder Pletcher of Lismore Knight, a son of Woodman who won his last start in an allowance race at Belmont May 17. Pletcher was speaking over the phone from his son Todd's home in New York. "We had him set up for a stakes here at Belmont (Hill Prince, June 14) but we had to scratch him when it was taken off the grass because of all the rain we've had in New York.

"We think he should run well in the Classic," said Pletcher, who trained Uncool to win the 1980 Oaklawn Handicap long before his son began his own training career. "He'd better. It's going to cost us about $10,000 to get him up there."

Scottago's Status For Classic Depends on Weather
Jer-Mar Stables LLC's Scottago, fifth in the $45,000 Awad Stakes at Arlington, had trainer Hugh Robertson checking the forecast for wet weather Saturday in Minnesota. Scottago breezed a half-mile in :50 3/5 on the main track at Arlington Wednesday morning.

"He worked fine," said Robertson of the Wednesday move. "There's a race for him Saturday at Canterbury (as well as the Arlington Classic in Chicago), but I'm going to talk to my son (in charge of the Robertson string at Canterbury) before I decide where he's going to run. They've had some wet weather up there and they may get some more before Saturday and that race could come off the turf. Also, I want to see who ends up going in the Classic before I decide."

The Arlington Classic is part of the "NTRA Summer Racing Tour." The race is part of the "NTRA Summer Pick 3" on Saturday, along with the grade I Mother Goose Stakes and the grade II Molly Pitcher Handicap from Monmouth. All three races will appear on CBS. Jay Privman will be the for the Arlington portion of the telecast.