Xtra Heat cools off at Arlington

Salzman says mare takes to chilly temperatures

Breeders' Cup notebook

Horse Racing

October 22, 2002|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Temperatures have dipped into the 30s and risen only into the 40s recently at Arlington Park, about 25 miles northwest of Chicago. Highs may reach 50 by the end of the week, but just barely, according to forecasts.

"She likes it more than I like it," said John Salzman, the Maryland trainer, bracing against the chill as he grazed Xtra Heat outside her barn.

Xtra Heat was one of the first Breeders' Cup horses to arrive at Arlington Park. Salzman sent her for the Sprint by van Oct. 6, the day after her three-length victory in the Phoenix Breeders' Cup at Keeneland. It was Xtra Heat's 24th win in 31 races.

This will be Xtra Heat's third Breeders' Cup. In 2002, she attempted the Juvenile Fillies at 1 1/16 miles, got bumped at the break and finished 10th. That was her only race farther than seven furlongs, and her only finish out of the top three. Last year, she finished second in the Sprint.

Daily arrivals

Only about a quarter of the 100 or so horses who will compete in the Breeders' Cup have arrived at Arlington. Contingents shipped in yesterday and are expected daily through Thursday.

Yesterday, trainer Bobby Frankel sent his seven Breeders' Cup entrants out for breezes - six at Belmont Park (Aldebaran, Beat Hollow, Denon, Medaglia d'Oro, Milwaukee Brew and Starine) and one at Santa Anita Park (Banks Hill). Frankel took over the training of Banks Hill earlier this month. She is the only defending champion in the Breeders' Cup, having won last year's Filly and Mare Turf.

"No one looked better than the other because they all went perfect," Frankel said.

Explicit directions

Bob Baffert, whose horses are due in tomorrow from Santa Anita Park, said about War Emblem, the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner who will contest the Classic before shipping to Japan for stud duty: "War Emblem is going to the lead. I'm going to tell Victor [Espinoza, his jockey] ... just get him out there and let him take you as far as he can."

Decision on `Rock'

Trainer Aiden O'Brien's formidable group is expected today from Ireland. The biggest question of the Breeders' Cup is whether O'Brien will run Rock of Gibraltar in the Classic or the Mile. The 3-year-old Danehill colt has won seven straight Group I stakes in Europe, but has never raced on the dirt or longer than a mile.

Working out

Sky Mesa, the likely favorite in the Juvenile, breezed what his trainer Donna Ward termed a "slow, pedestrian" five furlongs in 1 minute, 5 seconds at Arlington. Ward had warned the colt's exercise rider, Danny Ramsey, not to go too fast.

"Perhaps I cautioned Danny too much," Ward said. "I would have liked him to go a little faster, but I'd rather have it a little slow than a little fast."

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.