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|Arlington Park Barn Notes (6/6/04)
Contact: Graham Ross
In today's notes:
On the morning after a thwarted Triple Crown bid, few people can feel the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat better than owner Louie J. Roussel III, based at Arlington Park once again this summer.
One week ago, Roussel's 8-year-old gelding Intern finished second by a nose under the wire in Arlington's $42,375 Mister Gus Stakes. However, Intern was subsequently adjudged the winner following a disqualification.
And 16 years ago, Roussel's Risen Star, owned in partnership with Lamarque Stable, won the 1988 Preakness and Belmont Stakes after finishing third in that year's Kentucky Derby.
Do owners in that position dwell on what might have been, or are they thankful for what was, Roussel was asked while speaking over the phone from New Orleans?
"I thank God I was able to win the Preakness and the Belmont," Roussel answered quickly. "I think about how fortunate I was to have a horse that could compete at that level. I was around a great champion when we had Risen Star. I've tried many times to get back there (to the Triple Crown races), but it just doesn't happen that often.
"You could go back and look at my horse's race in the Derby and say, 'He could have won if he'd had a better trip,' but if you do that, you're never going to be happy with yourself," Roussel said.
"The way I look at it," Roussel concluded, "a wonderful thing happened to me. My father, who has since passed away, was 82 years old when we won the Belmont. I was able to take him down to the winner's circle with me, and could look at his face and see how happy he was being there, and I'm just very thankful he could have that experience. That was the greatest thrill for me, watching him enjoy all that the way he did."
Wayne Bessler & Plaine Enterprises Inc.'s Marley's Revenge, who briefly collapsed in the paddock shortly after finishing a courageous third in Saturday's $38,000 Awad Handicap, recovered quickly and was in fine fettle Sunday morning, according to trainer Dale Bennett.
"He's fine," said Bennett, speaking at his barn on the Arlington Park backstretch. "It was a scary moment out there, but he recovered quickly. He cleaned up all his dinner last night and looks great today. He just suffered a little heat stroke; actually it was more like total exhaustion. He tries so hard every time he runs, and I think he was a little confused about going two turns for the first time. He was acting like he wasn't sure exactly what he was supposed to do. But he'll be back."
Marley's Revenge, a sophomore gelding by Concorde's Tune, made the pace in the Awad but tired in the late stages to finish third beaten two lengths. Ralls & Foster's Up Anchor was the winner, and Clinton C. & Susan A. Atkins's Saltire finished second.
Apprentice jockey Cruz Contreras enjoys a five-win advantage in the Arlington Park jockey standings following a riding double Saturday while defending jockey champion Rene Douglas, Contreras's nearest pursuer, was out of town for the day.
Contreras captured the second half of Saturday's opening daily double when he won the second race aboard Versatile Thoroughbreds LLC's Kin Roar for trainer David Hinsley. That conditioner also saddled runner-up Moon Boots, owned by Russell Lawson & Versatile Thoroughbreds LLC, with Shane Laviolette in the irons.
Contreras, who captured riding honors at Hawthorne this spring, rode his second Saturday winner in the fourth race astride first time starter Rugula, a juvenile filly owned by Andrew Logan & Joseph P. McKeller and trained by McKeller.
Rene Douglas, leading rider at Arlington the last three years, journeyed to Canada for the day to ride Ocean Drive for trainer Todd Pletcher in Woodbine's Grade III Nassau Stakes. Ocean Drive finished second in the Nassau, beaten three-quarters of a length by Inish Glora, last year's Canadian champion turf female.
Veteran Arlington reinsman Chris Emigh, with a riding triple here Saturday, moved within one winner of Douglas for second in the current standings. Emigh won the fourth with Thunderhead Farms' Riverbrook for trainer Don Von Hemel, the eighth aboard J. David Banks' Orphan Cartwright for conditioner Frank Kirby, and the featured $38,000 Awad astride Up Anchor for trainer Paul McGee.
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