Thursday, September 4, 2014

Arlington Barn Notes: Thursday, September 4, 2014

                                Contact: Michael Adolphson
(847) 385-7558
Barn Notes:  Thursday, September 4, 2014       
In Today's Notes: 
  • Scherer Hoping for Déjà Vu with Bourbon Cowboy
  • Pirate's Trove Stays Undefeated, Possible Big Plans Ahead
  • Promising Helen Kathleen Possible for Pucker Up

        A talented and complex field of eight juveniles is set to hammer out who the best current 2-year-old at Arlington International Racecourse is on Saturday in the Grade III $125,000 Arlington-Washington Futurity.  With powerful local stables like those of Dale Bennett, Mike Stidham and Jimmy DiVito all represented with top charges – and all expected to take a great deal of pari-mutuel money – the proverbial X-factor might come in the form of Holmark Stables IV's slightly overlooked Bourbon Cowboy. 
        Trained by Richie Scherer and owned by the aforementioned partnership of principals Paul Holmes and Kevin Marko, Bourbon Cowboy hails from the identical connections as last year's Listed Arlington-Washington Lassie – the filly counterpart – winner She's Offlee Good.  Like that daughter of Offlee Wild, Bourbon Cowboy comes off a victory in a 5½-furlong maiden over the local oval, but was subsequently let go at 5-1 and responded by defeating a field that included future stakes winners Istanford and Battlefield Angel – as well as multiple stakes-placed Maria Maria.  Scherer hopes for a little déjà vu in 2014. 
"He's doing really well," he reported.  "It looks like it's a small but competitive field.  It's eerily very similar to last year with She's Offlee Good.  It would be great if they both ended up the same way, too."
Unlike She's Offlee Good – who won at first asking – it took the son of Cowboy Cal two races to break his maiden.  "In the first race he probably just wasn't as tight," Scherer explained.  "(The winner Recount) got away from him and was highly touted.  We ran a good second. In the next race, he just ran a very good race; a professional race and moved when he needed to.  He maybe got a little lazy when he hit the front, but that's okay."  In the maiden victory, Bourbon Cowboy defeated Lothenbach Stables' superbly impressive next-out winner Nun the Less, whose follow-up win on Aug. 29 produced an 88 Equibase Speed Figure – higher than any horse entered in the Futurity.
"That flattered him a lot.  I wasn't sure what kind of field (Bourbon Cowboy) was running against until then.  (Nun the Less' trainer Chris) Block didn't reveal his hand before the race and then he totally showed it the second time and was very dominant.  I'm just glad he won it that close to the Futurity and couldn't run in both," Scherer laughed.   
By a two-turn specialist sire and from a stout family of powerfully built horses, the step up in trip to the Futurity's seven panels is welcome to the Scherer camp.  "I don't think it'll be an issue at all," he explained.  "He doesn't run off.  He settles well and finishes and he's doing well like (She's Offlee Good) was.  She was a flashier horse who moved beautifully.  He's just a good looking strong horse and he came out of his last race very well."
If Bourbon Cowboy does pull off the victory for his connections, he will be facing a few familiar faces.  Doubledown Stables' Recount is back for DiVito, as well as Ike and Dawn Thrash's Ike Walker from the Stidham barn, who finished fourth behind Recount and Bourbon Cowboy in their respective debuts on July 20.  Next out, the son of Bellamy Road wowed many with a comfortable 7¼-length drubbing of five opponents on Aug. 7 over the Futurity's course and distance.
"Stidham's horse will be very tough," Scherer said.  "We beat him and he came back and won impressively the other day.  Recount ran well last out at a mile (in the $100,000 Prairie Juvenile Mile) and (trainer Mike) Campbell's (Private Prospect) is well tested.  Those three will take a lot of money.  Even the ones behind me (in odds) like One Go All Go and Mr. Lightning Boy will be tough to beat – anyone can win."
        Pirate's Trove has been on the radar of many Arlington fans since her raucous 12¼-length victory on May 31.  The daughter of Speightstown has done little but simply improve the luminosity of her rising stardom with her two subsequent starts – both in stakes and both victories showing marked improvement and maturation for trainer Mike Stidham. 
        A WinStar Farm and M R Capital-bred sophomore, Pirate's Trove was purchased by Gary Biszantz's Cobra Farm out of the 2012 Keeneland September Yearling Sale for $110,000 in 2012.  After her breakout win in his snake-embroidered green silks on debut in May, the filly caught the attention of and was subsequently sold to Qatar's Al Shahania Stud for an undisclosed price and has taken those blue silks with white stars into the Woodbine winner's circle in the Listed $125,000 Duchess Stakes at seven furlongs on July 20 and the overnight $100,000 Etobicoke Stakes at six furlongs on Sept. 1.  The daughter of five-time stakes winning mare Authenicat was ridden in all three events by Arlington's leading-money jockey Florent Geroux.
        With each successful start in her undefeated career, her numbers have increased – including a 92 Beyer Speed Figure and 104 Equibase Speed Figure in the Etobicoke – with very little end to her thriving in sight.  "She came back the next morning after the (Etobicoke) and looks great," Stidham remarked.  "She sat behind a few lengths behind a half in forty-four and then made a big run at the eighth-pole and was really impressive."
Though it is expected that a step into graded stakes company will happen soon for the swift charge, even bigger prizes may be on the horizon.  Being owned by Qatari interests, it would not be a surprise to see the filly venture to the Middle East – namely Dubai – within her career.  Aware of such a possibility, Stidham is taking it all in stride. 
"I am not sure where we're going next," he said.  "On the 18th of October at Woodbine there's (the overnight $100,000 Ruling Angel) Stakes and I'm also thinking about the ($75,000 Unzip Me Stakes) at Santa Anita for 3-year-old fillies down the hill going six and a half (furlongs) on (Sept. 27)."
        Trainer Mike Stidham confirmed that Gary Biszantz's talented sophomore filly Helen Kathleen is aiming toward a possible start in the Grade III $150,000 Pucker Up Stakes.  The daughter of second-leading national sire Candy Ride broke her maiden in her turf debut and third overall start on June 20 and followed that up with an eye-catching victory on Aug. 9 over her elders, as well as the Pucker Up course and distance of 1 1/8 grassy miles. 
"We are considering her for the Pucker Up for her," Stidham said.  "Based off her numbers so far and just knowing the filly, I think she could compete.  She's a big, classy filly with the arrows pointing the right direction right now.  I think she can step up.  Whether she's ready off an 'a-other-than' (allowance) to win a graded stakes, I'm not sure.  Do I think she's stakes quality?  Yes."
Helen Kathleen – a long-winded attractive daughter of the unraced A. P. Indy mare Indy Verse – was a $90,000 purchase at 2012 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.  After two dirt sprints in May and June at Churchill Downs produced a third- and fourth-place finish, she has relished her training at Arlington, as well as the change in surface and added real estate.
David ZennerSenior Manager of Communications
Arlington International Racecourse
2200 W. Euclid Ave. Arlington Heights IL 60006-0007
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