Chicago Barn to Wire


Arlington Park Barn Notes

Contact: Graham Ross (847) 385-7500 ext. 7319

In today's notes:


Team Block's Ioya Two successfully defended her championship in Saturday's Lincoln Heritage Handicap, and Team Block & Lin Grisham's Reno Rumble made amends for his half-length defeat in last year's Cardinal Handicap, but the best news in trainer Chris Block's barn Sunday morning was that both horses came out of their races in good order.

"Both horses need three weeks to a month between races," Block said, "so we have no definite plans for future engagements, but we'll see what comes up. My owner (with a nod to his brother Ryan) gave me a lot of grief last year for not running Ioya Two in the Modesty, so if all continues to go well, I might see how that race comes up this year for her."

Arlington Park's Grade III Modesty, to be contested July 28 as part of Million Preview Day, is the final local prep for the Grade I Beverly D., to be run August 18 as part of the one-day International Festival of Racing.

Last year, when Team Block, which in addition to Chris Block's brother includes father David, mother Patricia and sister Dina, won three races on Prairie State Festival Day, the family went out to dinner to celebrate.

"Same deal this year," various members of the Block family agreed in unison. "It was a nice day for us. It's always pretty special when something like that happens."

David Block, who has become the man behind the breeding in the Team Block operation, refused to take credit for Saturday's success.

"In the case of Reno Rumble, we just got lucky," the senior Block said. "We owned that mare (A Cinch Or Better) and she has had nothing but runners."


Trainer Gene Cilio, who also saddled two Prairie State Festival stakes winners Saturday, reported that all of his runners also came back healthy from their Saturday engagements on what he described as his "favorite day" of Illinois racing.

Cilio saddled successive winners, capturing the Purple Violet Stakes with Joseph Marovich LLC & Crown's Way Farm's Shemya and coming right back in the Springfield Stakes with R'n R Breeders Act of War.

"I'll probably look for something on the grass for Act of War," said Cilio. "He is bred for it (by the Argentine-bred stud Lord At War.)"

"Shemya is named for an island off the coast of Japan," said Ron DiCicilia, trainer Cilio's brother and Crown's Way Farm mainstay. "Her dam is Kuma, which sounds kind of like an Indian name, and Shemya also sounds Indian, so it just seemed to fit."


Trainer Tom Dorris, the gentle giant of Arlington, was his usual modest self when accepting congratulations for the upset victory of David Halfacher's Rain Boots in the Isaac Murphy Handicap.

Rain Boots, who paid a healthy $39.60 straight price as the longest shot of the day, returned in good order from her winning effort.

"She grabbed a quarter and sprung a shoe, which we pulled off in the winner's circle," Dorris said. "But it was nothing serious. She came back real good.

"We'll play it by ear concerning her next start," the popular conditioner added. "We'll look around and see what develops."


Arlington's all-time leading jockey Earlie Fires, to be inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame at Saratoga later this summer, spoke fondly of his June 22 trip to Lone Star Park for the NTRA All-Star Jockey Championship.

Hall of Fame Jockey Jerry Bailey, a native of Dallas, Texas, won the competition for the first time in his stellar career.

Fires had poor racing luck in the competition. One of his mounts bled, one got stopped and came again late, and one was scratched, but Fires was undeterred despite those misfortunes.

"Lone Star did about as good a job as anybody could do," the enthusiastic Fires on the Arlington apron during training hours Sunday. "Everybody, especially the fans, really got into the whole thing. They treat you right. It was a lot of fun."


  Jockey Mark Guidry had a riding triple on Prairie State Festival Day, winning the third race with Joseph J. & Thomas J. DiGrazia's Our Sister Tonette; the Lincoln Heritage aboard Ioya Two; and the Cardinal astride Reno Rumble.

  Jockey Eduardo Perez opened and closed Prairie State Festival Day successfully, winning the opener with Charles J. Sigrist's Baker Road, and surprising in the finale, the Isaac Murphy, with Rain Boots.

  Ronald McDonald House, in conjunction with NTRA Charities, is conducting a 50-50 raffle Sunday at Arlington Park. The drawing will be conducted in the winner's circle following the sixth race race. Proceeds will benefit the Ronald McDonald House located near Loyola University in Chicago.

  The parents of track announcer John G. Dooley are at Arlington Park today celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary. John C. and Mary Anne Dooley are visiting from Staten Island, New York.

  American Cancer Society representatives and participants from the May11-12 "Relay For Life" held at Arlington Park, will be honored in the winner's circle following the fifth race, called the "Replay The American Cancer Relay For Life."

  Fifty-two years ago on June 25, a dark day at Arlington Park this year, Calumet Farm's Coaltown was upset as the 3-10 favorite when spotting 16 pounds to Dixiana's Star Reward in the $27,000 Equipoise Mile Handicap. R. L. (Bobby) Baird rode the winner, who covered the distance in 1:35. Baird currently serves as an agent for his son jockey E. T. Baird at Arlington.

  Thirty-one years ago on June 25, trainer Joseph "Spanky" Broussard earned his first Arlington victory with J. T. Brady's Mrs. Ogle under jockey Jimmy Nichols. Broussard, of course, is still active at Arlington, with stalls in Barn 17.

  Sixty-two years ago on June 26, a dark day at Arlington this year, Hall of Fame jockey Johnny Longden won his first race here with William Guest's Drudgery in the Arlington Inaugural Handicap. Longden retired from the saddle in 1966 with 6,032 winners, the most by any jockey in history at that time.

  Nineteen years ago on June 26, Arlington became the first Illinois track to offer wagering on an international race when the Irish Derby was simulcast as the day's first race with a special 9 a.m. post with the live card following immediately.

  My Jo Lee Stable's Soul Onarazorsedge, a contestant in Sunday's $50,000-added Ribbon Stakes, is missing her right eye. According to trainer Eugene Brajczewski, she was kicked in the right side of her face as a youngster and the injury caused her to lose her right eye along with disfiguring the right side of her face. "With all that she's been through in her young life," said Brajczewski, "the heart she shows when on the track is incredible."

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