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|Arlington Park Barn Notes (6/20/04)
Contact: Graham Ross
In today's notes:
Veteran reinsman Frankie Lovato Jr. broke out of his seasonal shutout in a big way Saturday by registering the first four-win afternoon by any jockey riding during the current session at Arlington Park.
"It was getting a bit scary," said Lovato Sunday morning, while admitting a sense of relief that his local winless streak was over. "It wasn't so much that I was getting down on myself as it was that I was getting frustrated. I've been in this business long enough to know that things like this happen, but when your statistics are down, other people can get to thinking.
"I can make sense of it," said Lovato of the ended draught, "but that doesn't mean that all the owners and trainers can. I knew that I would have ridden a few winners with some of the good turf horses I ride, but then the race would come off the grass. Things like that happen, so you have to hope for a miraculous day like yesterday (Saturday) to turn things around for you."
The first of Lovato's four straight wins Saturday came immediately after the opener when he guided Dogwood Stable's Color Me Gone to the winner's circle for trainer Rebecca Maker. His next mount came in the fifth race astride Totier Creek Farm's Boogie Piano for conditioner Jeff Thornbury, and once again he was the winning rider. The streak continued with Lovato's next mount astride Pin Oak Stable LLC's Acceptwithpleasure for trainer Mike Stidham, giving Stidham a two-win day, and Lovato completed his quadruple with his next ride on Stan E. Fulton's Cherokee's Disco, saddled by Rebecca Maker for her second win of the afternoon.
Lovato's fifth mount of the afternoon came aboard Dogwood's Stylishly for Maker in the finale. That sophomore colt made the pace for a half but eventually weakened to finish fourth.
"Things always seem to have gone that way for me," said Lovato of his cold-to-hot status. "I knew I had four good mounts to ride Saturday, and I thought they'd all run good, but I began the day just hoping for a winner. I never thought all four horses would win for me."
Lovato is named on two horses Sunday, but now that he's in the midst of a hot streak, could there be another four-win day on the horizon?
"Why not?" Lovato said. "You never know."
Jockey Patti Cooksey, one of the pioneering female riders in Thoroughbred racing history, made a rare visit to Arlington Park Saturday to accept one mount aboard Phillip S. Maas's Bully Bully in the final race of the day.
Unfortunately, Bully Bully ripped his lip open in an accident in his stall shortly before the race, and was subsequently a late scratch by the track veterinarian.
"I wanted to ride him so bad," said Cooksey Sunday morning, speaking over the phone from her Louisville home base. "I was really looking forward to the mount. But he ripped his lip so bad they said they couldn't even put a bit in his mouth. Now the trick will be to get his lip healed before he loses too much time in training. Then, hopefully, I could come back to ride him the next time."
Cooksey, first woman to ride in the Preakness and for many years in a battle with Hall of Fame jockey Julie Krone for racing's leading female rider, is now in the twilight of a career that includes more than 2,000 trips to the winner's circle. In recent years the affable Cooksey has had her career interrupted by one catastrophic injury as well as a serious bout with cancer. However, she remains as positive in attitude as she was when she took the Kentucky jockey colony by storm as a youngster in the early '80s.
"I don't consider yesterday a wasted journey," said Cooksey on Sunday of the day-trip. "I had a nice trip to Chicago. It gave ne a chance to visit with some old friends. I had a good dinner, and a very nice flight back. Plus, I got to visit with (Arlington television personality) Christine Gabriel during a winner's circle interview, and I talked with some of my friends in the jockey's room who are having a little trouble getting started in Chicago. I told them things could turn around very quickly for them.
"Look at what Frankie did yesterday," Cooksey concluded, speaking of jockey Frankie Lovato Jr., winless at Arlington this summer before riding four straight winners on Saturday. "This is a game when things can turn around in a heartbeat."
Carl F. Pollard's My Trusty Cat, heroine of Saturday's Grade III Chicago Breeders' Cup Handicap, returned from her winning effort in good order and was doing well Sunday morning, according to trainer David Vance, speaking over the phone from his Churchill Downs headquarters.
Also doing well was runner-up Our Josephina, according to owner George Brunacini on Sunday morning.
Odds-on favorite Mayo on the Side, owned by Lothenbach Stables Inc., who finished fourth in the Chicago Breeders' Cup, came out of the race fine, trainer Carl Nafzger advised shortly after that mare's disappointing outing.
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