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Arlington Park Barn Notes (7/21/04)

Contact: Graham Ross

In today's notes:


Veteran Illinois-based reinsman Ray Sibille, who boasts a perfect record in Breeders' Cup competition as well as a riding championship at Arlington Park during an illustrious career of three and a half decades, will retire following Wednesday's fifth race at Arlington.

"It isn't something I wanted to do," said Sibille Wednesday morning. "It's just one of those things. My doctors told me it was time. It just has to happen. I've been in too much pain.

"However, if you'd have told me back when I rode my first horse in 1969 that I'd still be riding in 2004, I'd have told you that you were crazy."

Sibille, 51, born in Sunset, Louisiana, has maintained a rigorous physical fitness schedule for years to extend his riding career, but has now been scheduled for hip replacement surgery Aug. 24.

"I'll go back to Louisiana and begin an extensive rehabilitation schedule once the surgery is over," Sibille said.

Official totals from Equibase Company list Sibille with 4,264 wins from 36,858 mounts going into Wednesday's assignment astride Robert Forest Barnett's Above the Harbor. His mounts have earned almost $69 million since his career began in 1969.

Among the highlights of his career is a riding championship at Arlington Park in 1980 and a perfect one-for-one record in Breeders' Cup competition after riding Great Communicator to victory in the Grade I Breeders' Cup Turf at Churchill Downs in 1988. He also won the San Juan Capistrano and Hollywood Derby with that horse.

Sibille is also the fourth leading jockey in Arlington Park history with 981 wins at the Northwest Chicago oval before Wednesday's races. Last year, Sibille finished 18th in the Arlington Park standings. This year, going into his last scheduled riding day, he has three wins, four seconds and three third-place finishes at Arlington.

"I've been Ray's agent for the last 10 years and it's been a great 10 years," said veteran jockey agent John Hoffman. "He is the consummate professional. He and his wife Dot are one of the most well liked couples in racing. Everywhere I go, people always ask me about how Dot and Ray are doing."

Sibille had one scheduled mount Thursday that was subsequently withdrawn, moving up Sibille's last mount by one afternoon.


Moyglare Stud Farm Ltd.'s Simple Exchange, hero of the Hampton Court Stakes at Royal Ascot June 17, is on the grounds at Arlington following a transatlantic flight Monday in advance of his start in Saturday's Grade II American Derby, presented by Jack Daniel's.

The American Derby is the middle leg of Arlington Park's Mid-America Triple, which concludes with the Grade I Secretariat on Arlington Million Day Aug. 14.

"We had a good flight over with no problems," said Jeff Byrne, assistant to Dermot Weld, Ireland's all-time leading trainer and the conditioner of Simple Exchange. "We'll jog tomorrow but he's ready for Saturday. He had a good gallop last Saturday at The Curragh before we left."

Weld has saddled the winners of two of the last four American Derbys and finished second in another of those most recent renewals. Last year's American Derby winner, a Weld trainee named Evolving Tactics, also won the Hampton Court Stakes in his race leading up to the American Derby.

"I think this horse is a little better than either Evolving Tactics or Jazz Beat (second in both the 2002 American Derby and Secretariat)," said Byrne Wednesday morning.


The Laura de Seroux-trained pair of Sidney L. Port Trust, Marsha Naify and San Gabriel Investments' Ballingarry and Sidney L. Port's Toasted arrived at Arlington Park Tuesday following a flight from Southern California.

Ballingarry won the Grade III Stars and Stripes Breeders' Cup Turf July 4 and Toasted won the Grade II Arlington Classic, presented by Woodford Reserve July 3, on America's Birthday weekend at Arlington Park, but both returned to Southern California's San Luis Rey Training Center following their Chicago scores.

"They both trained this morning and will school tomorrow," said Jeff Ford, assistant to de Seroux. "They know they're back and they're both very happy here."

Also in from Southern California for Saturday's American Derby is Spendthrift Farm LLC's Samwise, who will also school in Arlington's paddock Thursday.

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