Arlington Park is just about to kick it into high gear for this weekend’s upcoming Holiday race card. On Saturday, July 7, the beautiful facility — with one of the world’s most pristine and magnificent grass courses — will play host to five Stakes events in a row. Four of those are Graded Stakes events.

Here is a closer look at Saturday’s major features:

  1. Race 5: G3 American Derby
  2. Race 6: Hatoof Stakes
  3. Race 7: G3 Arlington Handicap
  4. Race 8: G3 Modesty Handicap
  5. Race 9: G3 Stars & Strips Stakes

If you get the opportunity, head out to the track. If not, catch all the live action on TwinSpires.com.

STIDHAM AIMS SYNCHRONY AT GRADE III ARLINGTON HANDICAP:

Trainer Mike Stidham said Thursday afternoon that he will point two-time graded stakes winner Synchrony toward the Grade III $100,000 Arlington Handicap, which is run on the Arlington International Racecourse turf at a distance of 1 3/16 miles for 3-year-olds and upward. The Arlington Handicap is one of four graded stakes events scheduled for Ride to the Million, presented by Miller Lite set to take place on Saturday, July 7. The top three finishers of the Arlington Handicap will have their entry and starting fees waived for the Grade I $1,000,000 Arlington Million on August 11.

Owned by Pin Oak Stable, the 5-year-old son of Tapit kicked off his year with victories in the Grade III Fair Grounds Handicap on February 17 and the Grade II Muniz Memorial Handicap on March 24, the latter of which he took over graded stakes winner Arklow who also is pointing toward the Arlington Handicap. Last time out, Synchrony raced over a yielding turf course at Churchill Downs in the Grade I Old Forester Turf Classic, where he finished third beaten 3¾ lengths behind Yoshida (JPN) when traveling 1 1/8 miles.

Following his most recent effort, Stidham indicated that he would point towards the Arlington Million as the long term goal.

“Our goal is that he runs well on the (Arlington) turf and then what we can consider the Million,” Stidham said. “After that we’ll see, but the only race where he didn’t run as well was that bog at Churchill in the Grade I (Old Forester Turf Classic). That turf was so bad, but he came from last to make a pretty good run at them. I think he’ll like the Arlington turf.”

Synchrony began his career under the care of trainer Donnie K. Von Hemel, who conditioned the horse to two victories before a third place effort in the Grade III Lexington Stakes at Keeneland. Synchrony joined Stidham’s contingent last winter and made his grass debut a winning one in his second start for the trainer, which took place in a second level allowance event at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. Since then, he has either won or placed in six starts over the grass.

Should Synchrony put up an effort worthy of a start in the Million, he would likely keep the horse with his local string to train for the race.

Stidham will also be represented by Godolphin’s two-time stakes winner Hallie Belle in the Grade III $100,000 Modesty Handicap, a 1 3/16- mile event on the turf course. The top three finishers in the Modesty will also have their entry and starting fees waived in the Grade I $600,000 Beverly D. at Arlington’s International Festival of Racing on August 11.

The Modesty Handicap would be the daughter of Medaglia d’Oro’s graded stakes debut. She won the Dahlia Stakes at Laurel Park on April 21 and has since trained with Stidham’s contingent at Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland.

“She won (the Dahlia Stakes) first time we ran her at Laurel,” Stidham said. “We’re coming in off of that win with her and she’s doing well again.”

Stidham went on to say that Dare To Dream Stable’s Memory Bank is a possibility for the Grade III $100,000 Stars and Stripes Handicap. The Illinois-bred son of Misremembered last raced when finishing second in the Black Tie Affair Handicap on June 9. He has either won or placed in his last nine starts, which include an open company allowance win over the lawn at Tampa Bay Downs and a local allowance triumph against state-breds on earlier this year.

Leading Trainers This Meet:

Here is a closer look at the top trainers at Arlington Park so far this meet. The trainer dominating the standings is none other than Larry Rivelli, who has a commanding 20 win margin over second place holder Wayne Catalano.

Name Starts 1st 2nd 3rd Earnings
Larry Rivelli 100 31 17 17 $637,919
Wayne M. Catalano 59 11 16 4 $296,815
Chris M. Block 53 9 2 11 $300,927
Hugh H. Robertson 27 7 8 3 $198,900
Louie J. Roussel, III 25 7 7 5 $123,713
Brian Williamson 55 7 6 7 $231,206
Michele Boyce 31 7 4 3 $263,251
Roger A. Brueggemann 23 7 2 1 $136,255
Steve Manley 55 6 10 3 $172,601
Ingrid Mason 44 6 8 4 $105,917
James M. Gulick 18 6 3 2 $179,675
Christopher Davis 18 6 2 5 $133,616
Scott Becker 38 5 6 9 $181,046
Manny Perez 66 5 6 8 $89,736
Joe Kirby 35 5 3 10 $117,278
Terry R. Young 23 5 2 5 $91,458
Liane P. Davis 11 5 1 1 $94,555
Ignacio Correas, IV 25 4 5 2 $113,650
Cheryl Winebaugh 19 4 2 2 $70,495
Andrew McKeever 18 4 1 6 $43,768