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Arlington Park Site of European Debut

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The $150,000 Locust Grove Handicap at Churchill Downs isn’t the only graded stakes Team Valor will be involved in this afternoon.

Just minutes before Ipi Tombe, the freakish African-bred mare Team Valor owns in partnership with WinStar Farm and Sunmark Partners, makes her U.S. debut, European will make his first start in this country in the $175,000 Arlington Classic at Arlington Park.

Purchased about a month ago by Barry Irwin and Jeff Siegel, who head Team Valor, the 3-year-old son of Great Commotion, who is a son of Nureyev, arrives perfect.

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Trained by Con Collins in Ireland, the chestnut colt won the first two races of his career and showed some tenacity. He prevailed by a nose going six furlongs in his bow as a 2-year-old on June 29, 2002, then won by a neck in his first start of 2003 on May 11.

Now in the barn of Elliott Walden, European will be trying a distance beyond a mile for the first time today -- the Arlington Classic is 1 1/16 miles -- and he will be ridden by Shane Sellers.

The Grade II is the second leg of the National Thoroughbred Racing Assn.’s Summer Pick Three. The other two races in the $1 wager are the $300,000 Mother Goose from Belmont Park and the $300,000 Molly Pitcher Breeders’ Cup Handicap from Monmouth Park.

Race of the day: Lusty Latin, whose main claim to fame was finishing third in last year’s Santa Anita Derby, which was one of the worst renewals ever of that race, will make his turf debut in today’s sixth at Hollywood Park. Ten are supposed to run in the $55,000 allowance at one mile.

One for the road: Bossanova should be tough to catch against New York breds as he makes his first start for trainer H. James Bond in today’s $100,000 Mike Lee at seven furlongs. The 3-year-old was beaten by only a half-length by Posse, who returned to upset Midas Eyes in the Riva Ridge, in the Matt Winn at Churchill Downs on May 10.

Exotically speaking: A pick three using Quanah County, Lovely Rafaela, Hawa Mahal, Cutie Bye and Awesome Lady in the second, then singling Dream Of Summer in the third and A.P. Slew in the fourth.

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Winners (through Thursday): Previous day/meet total: 4/129. Money: Previous day/meet total: $22.60/$691.80. Total money bet: $808.

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