08/13/2010 12:01PM

Kentucky-based runners prepare for Arlington Park stakes

Tom Keyser
General Quarters has been pre-entered in the Aug. 21 Arlington Million at Arlington Park.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – This is the time of year when Kentucky horseplayers keep one eye peeled on Ellis Park and the other on what’s happening elsewhere, especially at Saratoga, where many of the circuit’s top horses spend the summer.

But this coming weekend, Arlington Park will be the site of particular interest for those keeping tabs on Kentucky horses. As many as six of them are expected to ship north from Louisville and Lexington to compete in the three International Festival of Racing events at the suburban Chicago track next Saturday, Aug. 21: General Quarters and Rahystrada in the Arlington Million, Hot Cha Cha and Acoma in the Beverly D., and Paddy O’Prado and Dean’s Kitten in the Secretariat. Pre-entries for all three Grade 1 events closed Friday.

All six Kentucky horses were to have their final pre-race workouts prior to leaving later in the week. One of them, General Quarters, has not been confirmed to go, although owner-trainer Tom McCarthy said he would like to.

“It all depends on how the weather is,” McCarthy said.

General Quarters, based at Churchill Downs, was scheduled to work Saturday, after which McCarthy will gauge the competition following the release of pre-entries while also tracking weather patterns for the Chicago area. General Quarters won the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic over a boggy Churchill turf course this spring but struggled when sixth in his last start, the July 17 Arlington Handicap, when the Arlington turf was firm.

“I’m only going if I think the turf will have some give to it,” McCarthy said. “Otherwise, we’ll wait to run in the Woodward” on Sept. 4 at Saratoga.

The long-range Chicago forecast is calling for moderate and dry conditions, with an outside chance of rain later in the week.

Paddy O’Prado also was scheduled to work Saturday at Churchill, with trainer Dale Romans in from Saratoga to observe. Paddy O’Prado figures as a solid favorite in the Secretariat off back-to-back victories in the Colonial Cup and Virginia Derby.

“I really like how he’s been doing,” said Romans, who otherwise has most of his best horses at Saratoga. “I could’ve taken him with me to Saratoga, but Churchill’s his home base. He loves it there, and plus it’s fairly easy to get him to Chicago from there. We just thought we’d go with what’s been working for us.”

Acoma, trained by David Carroll, also will ship to Arlington from Churchill, while Dean’s Kitten, trained by Mike Maker, will leave from the nearby Trackside training center. Rahystrada is based at the Thoroughbred training center in Lexington with Scooter Hughes, with Hot Cha Cha just down the road at Keeneland with Phil Sims.