Stronach Stable Inc.'s Macho Uno, champion 2-year-old in 2000, will be a prohibitive favorite Sunday when he heads a field of five older horses in the Washington Park Handicap (gr. II) at Arlington Park.
The $400,000 Washington Park, to be run at 1 3/16 mile, will serve as the final local prep for the 1 1/4-mile $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) to be run at Arlington Oct. 26 as part of the World Thoroughbred Championships.
Sunday's Washington Park Handicap, as well as the $150,000 Sea O'Erin Breeders' Cup Mile offered as a second stakes on the Arlington Park program, will be shown live on NBC as part of a 90-minute "NTRA Road to the World Thoroughbred Championships" telecast beginning at 3:30 p.m. Central time.
A 4-year-old son of Holy Bull, Macho Uno burst on the scene late in his freshman campaign and took the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) at Churchill Downs that season en route to earning the 2000 Eclipse Award as the nation's outstanding 2-year-old.
This year, the striking grey/roan horse captured the $500,000 Massachusetts Handicap (gr. II) at Suffolk Downs in June. Following a fourth-place finish in the $750,000 Whitney Handicap (gr. I) at Saratoga in August, Macho Uno was sent to Stronach's Adena Springs Farm in Ontario for a brief vacation.
After a successful workout at Woodbine Race Course on Sept. 16, he was shipped to Arlington Park. Following a five-furlong drill here Monday, it was decided to use the Washington Park Handicap as his final Classic stepping stone.
Trainer Joe Orseno has named Hall-of-Fame jockey Gary Stevens to handle the reins on Macho Uno, who will carry highweight of 119 pounds.
Tenpins makes his first start since finishing third in the $750,000 Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I) at Churchill Downs in June. In that 1 1/8-mile test, the Don Winfree-trained son of Smart Strike set the pace for a half mile. That defeat snapped a six-race win skein that dated back to his maiden victory over this oval in September 2001 and included a victory in the William D. Schaefer Handicap (gr. III) at Pimlico in May.
Bonus Pack, eighth in the $1 million Pacific Classic (gr. I) in his last start, is looking for his fifth win of the season. The son of 1993 Belmont Stakes winner Colonial Affair tallied in the $200,000 Dominion Day Handicap (gr. III) at Woodbine Race Course in Canada in July.
Pleasant Breeze comes to Arlington off a three-length victory in allowance company Saratoga Race Course last month. The H. James Bond trainee is three for seven this year with all of his seasonal scores coming in the allowance ranks. However, the 7-year-old son of Pleasant Tap has more than $1.2 million in career earnings, having captured the $500,000 Meadowlands
Cup in 1999 and the Saratoga Breeders' Cup (both gr. II) the following year.
Completing the field is Generous Rosi. The 7-year-old horse by Generous has not raced since earning a gate-to-wire victory in the $50,000 Buckpasser Handicap at Arlington Aug. 3, his lone score this year. Last year, the Niall O'Callaghan charge won the Turfway Park Fall Championship (gr. III) and then finished second to Aptitude in the $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I) at Belmont Park.$400,000 Washington Park Handicap (gr. II), 1 3/16 mile, 3 & Up
PP Horse, Jockey, Wgt.
1. Generous Rosi, Jorge Chavez, 115
2. Macho Uno, Gary Stevens, 119
3. Bonus Pack, Jesus Castanon, 115
4. Tenpins, Robby Albarado, 116 pounds
5. Pleasant Breeze, Rene Douglas, 115