|Arlington Park Barn Notes
Contact: Graham Ross
(847) 385-7500 ext. 7319
In today's notes:
Chicago sports fans will get a chance to be in the presence of an active living legend Sunday at Arlington Park.
Hall of Fame Jockey Laffit Pincay Jr., who has won more races than anyone else in history, will ride at Chicago's premier Thoroughbred oval with a mount on Columbine Stable's Sligo Bay in the Grade II American Handicap.
Despite his 54 years of age, Pincay remains blessed with skills that are at the forefront of his profession. That was apparent as recently as earlier this week, when the world's all-time leading jockey won the 41st riding title of his career at the spring-summer meeting at Hollywood Park. That Southern California session ended Monday, and Pincay earned the winning rider honors with a victory aboard Ride and Shine in the final race of the day on the final program.
Interestingly, Pincay recorded the first American victory of his career at Arlington Park on July 1, 1966 aboard Fred W. Hooper's Teacher's Art.
Concerning the greatness of Pincay's career, consider these totals.
Facts noteworthy for the Pincay longevity since that first Arlington win include:
Jockey Randy Meier celebrated his 47th birthday Friday, July 20, one day after he became the 61st rider in Thoroughbred racing history to reach the 3,500-career win milestone with a riding double on Thursday.
Meier recorded the 3,499th win of his career in the eighth race of the day aboard Pam Slaughter & Jack Murphy's Jake the Flake. The Nebraska native came right back in the ninth and last race of the day with a win on Dean Huisman's Ubiquitous Boy, a first time starter trained by James Ernesto.
That milestone win involved a hard fought stretch duel and a photo finish, but Arlington announcer John G. Dooley offered this heads-up final phrase on his call:
"Randy Meier believes he did it, and I do, too!"
Meier's agent, Penny Fitch-Heyes, almost missed her rider's milestone win. She had dressed up for the ceremony, but broken the heel of her shoe shortly before the last race.
"I had to run home and change my shoes," Fitch-Heyes said in the winner's circle. "I almost didn't make it back in time."
Meier's 3,500th win was also his 100th win of the year, according to Fitch-Heyes.
Jockey Jesse Campbell, a native of Lake Zurich and a protégé of Randy Meier's since the beginning of his career, recorded the first win of his own career on July 20, 1995, exactly six years ago. Campbell's maiden score came aboard Apostle Island, a horse trained by his father Mike Campbell and bred by his grandfather, Art.
Although K. K. & Vilasini Jayaraman's Royal Spy, a contestant in Sunday's Grade II American Derby, was a creditable fourth in the Grade II Arkansas Derby this spring, the Peteski colt out of Caro's Beauty didn't really come into his own until switching to the grass.
In his three starts since, all on turf, Royal Spy is undefeated, including his most recent, a seven-length tally in the $125,000 Grand Prairie Turf Challenge at Lone Star Park July 3.
"Trainer Leo Azpurua Sr., who raised this horse, kept telling us he would improve when we got him on the grass," the owner known as "Dr. J." said in the track kitchen Thursday. "We knew he had grass breeding, and we were just hoping it was true."
"The competition will be a little stiffer on Sunday," said Royal Spy's assistant trainer Tom Howard. "But the money on Sunday (the American Derby has an increased purse this year of $250,000) makes it that way."
Royal Spy's trainer, Cole Norman, due in Friday for Sunday's race, has won the last three training titles at Louisiana Downs, and finished second in the recently concluded Lone Star Park meeting behind winning trainer Steve Asmussen. Norman won with 43 per cent of his starters at the Texas oval.
There were three consecutive riding doubles recorded at Arlington Park Thursday, and they were all posted by the first, second and third ranked jockeys in the standings.
Leading rider Mark Guidry won the fourth race Thursday on Russell L. Reineman Stable, Inc.'s Stop the Bluffing and the fifth on Pepper Tree Farm's Flatline.
Second in the standings behind Guidry is Rene Douglas, who won the sixth on Charles Papan's Cozy Lass, and the seventh on Cutshall Racing LLC's Missyshy.
Randy Meier is currently third in the Arlington standings and won the last two races of the day to reach the 3,500-win milestone.
A father-son training double was scored Thursday, with Cozy Lass being saddled by Lon Wiggins, and Jake the Flake being saddled by his father Hal.
On July 21, 1949 at Arlington Park, four-time Arlington riding champion Steve Brooks won five races from seven mounts.
On July 21, 1965, Arlington's all-time leading rider Earlie Fires, to be inducted into the National Racing Hall of Fame at Saratoga in August, recorded the first Arlington win of his career astride Mrs. W. E. Morgan's Rundan.
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