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Irish are heating up in Chicago

John Haran won a couple races last week after recently taking over training responsibilities for his Eagle Valley Farm horses from long-time colleague Frank Kirby. Clabor Mor Stable's Big Bad Mike overcame some tense moments in Wednesday's 10th race at Arlington, a restricted claiming event at a mile on the grass, to score by a length under Tommy Molina. Clabor Mor is a partnership between Haran and Mike Ryan. Big Bad Mike returned $24.60 to win.

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Then, in Saturday's third race at the suburban Chicago oval, Haran's Art of Deception went from last to first to score by two lengths in a maiden claiming route at nine furlongs on the main track under Inosencio Diego. The 3-year-old homebred filly was making her sixth start She paid $17.20 to win.

Trainer Gerard Butler, a recent arrival in the Windy City, also made his mark in Saturday's 10th race, a non-winners of three races "other than" allowance/optional claimer at a flat mile on the main track. The Kildare native has been based at Newmarket, England and is going to give America a shake. He did all right in this spot with Michael Deegan's Maristar, which closed under Junior Alvarado to get up by just under a length for a $17.40 win mutuel.

Jockey James Graham also got into the act, winning four races at Arlington on Saturday, including the Grade 3 Hanshin Cup Handicap aboard favored Workin for Hops for trainer Michael Stidham. That winner, which paid $6.40, was the only one of Graham's winners to come on the main track; the others were all on the turf - Stone Free ($22.20) in the second race, Ruthville ($10.40) in the sixth and Albin ($12.40) in the ninth.

Meanwhile, Cathal Lynch didn't mind the slop at Philadelphia Park last Tuesday, when two of his charges came home first under the wire. Goldmark LLC's Two Brash hadn't won since breaking his maiden in 2009, but the first race field he met was so weak that he went off as the odds-on chalk and romped by five lengths under Angel Arroyo. The win price was $3.80.

The fourth race was a good news/bad news situation for Lynch and Carlo DeThomasi, owner of Irish Majesty. The 8-year-old gelding was a narrow winner against nickel claimers, but the drop from the $8,000 claiming ranks attracted trainer Ron Dandy's interest, and Irish Majesty now resides in that conditioner's shed row. Arroyo got the veteran up by a neck at short odds; the win price was $2.80.

Derek Ryan also emerged a winner in the 10th and final race at Parx that same day with Vic Carlson's Dancing With Lions. The 5-year-old mare wired a field of limited winners at the $7,500 claiming level under apprentice K.L. Pellot. She paid $20.40 to win.

John and Breeda Hayes got their first win of 2011 in Wednesday's second race at Woodbine when their Askeaton opened up to win a second-level allowance race by two and one-half lengths under Jono Jones. The 7-year-old mare has been a pretty reliable sort, although more inclined to pick up a minor share of the spoils. Here, she paid $4.40 as the favorite. Breeda Hayes handles the training.

Pat Gallagher overcame a bout of "seconditis" to win Thursday's third race at Hollywood Park with Derrick Fisher's Tippety Tap Tap. The 4-year-old gelding was reserved early in midpack by David Flores and then came running in the lane to break his maiden by one-half length. The win price was $8.20.