| Contact: Graham Ross
Saturday, August 5, 2000
ARLINGTON OAKS AUGUST 12 PRECEDES INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL
The main event of the season for three-year-old fillies - the 21st running of the Grade 3 Arlington Oaks - will be contested next Saturday, one week before Arlington Million XVIII.
The mile and an eighth test for sophomore distaffers carries a purse of $125,000 and has attracted 17 nominations.
Showing early interest in Arlington's weekend highlight is the Heiligbrodt Racing Stable, owners of Fiesty Countess, who was a multiple stakes winner at Lone Star Park earlier this summer.
Trained by Steve Asmussen, Fiesty Countess made the pace in her last trip to the post July 1 in the Iowa Oaks at Prairie Meadows, but weakened to finish third. Previously, however, the daughter of Count the Time had won the Mesquite Breeders' Cup at Lone Star by prompting the pace and drawing off in the lane June 10 for a two and three-quarter-length score. Before that, on May 20, she had captured the JEH Stallion Stakes at the Texas oval.
Last March, however, Fiesty Countess captured Oaklawn's Grade 3 Honeybee by seven lengths, but was unable to repeat that performance in the Grade 2 Fantasy in central Arkansas.
James C. Ruthsong's Megans Bluff is another possible starter in the Arlington Oaks. She finished second in the Cleveland Oaks at Thistledown in her last trip to the post July 14, but had won three in a row in Kentucky prior to that stakes outing.
After breaking her maiden at Keeneland last April at the nine-furlong distance, Megans Bluff returned to win in allowance company at Churchill Downs in May.
The daughter of Pine Bluff, who also sired this year's American Derby winner Pine Dance, then tried the grass for the first time June 22 at the Twin Spires oval and visited the winner's circle once again.
Jack McNulty's Polish Penny, another Arlington Oaks possibility, is coming off a front-running four-length tally in allowance company at Churchill Downs July 1. The daughter of Polish Numbers broke her maiden at Sportsman's Park in April.
Polish Penny is conditioned by Niall O'Callaghan, who saddled Stonerside Stable LLC's Minister's Melody to win the most recent Arlington Oaks in 1997.
Wendy's Ten Partnership's Instinct is also being considered for the Oaks after finishing second in allowance company in her last start July 14. The daughter of 1995 Kentucky Derby winner Thunder Gulch is trained by Richard Lundy.
COUNTDOWN TO 1,000
Arlington jockey Eduardo Perez is closing in on the 1,000-win milestone. The count through Thursday: Eduardo Perez - 995 lifetime wins, Arlington Total: 24
Tomorrow Arlington will host nine live races plus a Special Event Simulcast of Monmouth Park's Grade 1 Haskell Invitational between the eighth and ninth race.
The Haskell is one of the premier events of the summer season for three-year-olds and has attracted Belmont Stakes winner Commendable, owned by Bob & Beverly Lewis, as well as Mike Pegram's Captain Steve, who won Hollywood's Swaps last time.
Tomorrow is also the NTRA Mystery Voucher Day, when some lucky racing fan could bring a voucher he or she received in the mail to Arlington and find out it is worth $1 million. More than one million fans in markets across the United States recently received the vouchers through a nationwide mailout.
Today Arlington will simulcast a special "Hambletonian Day" program from the Meadowlands in New Jersey beginning with their third race. The Hambletonian is the premier trotting event in the world of harness racing.
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