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Horse slaughter in Illinois
|Arlington Park Barn Notes (5/21/05)
Contact: Graham Ross
In today's notes:
Veteran Illinois jockey Eddie Razo Jr., an Arlington fan favorite who earned his second straight runner-up finish in the local jockey standings last season, is presently holding second position during the young 2005 meeting at Chicago's suburban oval.
Through Friday, the sixth racing day of Arlington 2005, Razo had visited the winner's circle six times during 24 trips to the post, three wins behind current leader Shaun Bridgmohan and one ahead of James Graham, winner of Arlington's Rising Star Award last fall.
With Arlington's defending jockey champion Rene Douglas riding in California so far this season, Razo would appear well positioned to challenge for leading rider honors during 2005, but a conversation with the 39-year-old reinsman reveals that a riding title is not his main focus.
"Lindy (Razo's agent McDaniel) and I have talked about that," said Razo of the subject of a run at the 2005 Arlington championship, "but we have more important goals. It would be nice to win a title, but we are more concerned with staying loyal to the people who have always supported us and given us our business. If you decide to do that, sometimes it means you are not riding the best horse in the race, but we always want to honor our commitments.
"So far this season, everything is working out very well for us," Razo said. "Our horses are all running good right now, so we are doing well. If a riding title happens for us -- that would be great -- but we're not going to step on anybody's toes to get one. We want to stay loyal to the people who have been loyal to us."
Casey Fusilier, an 18-year-old native of Carencro, Louisiana, made his Arlington Park debut Friday, finishing fifth astride Frank Calabrese's Stage Glitter in the seventh race on the twilight racing program.
Since obtaining his jockey's license at age 16, Fusilier (pronounced Few-So-Lay) has won 201 races, including seven stakes.
"I've raced in Louisiana, Texas, California - a lot of places," said Fusilier shortly before accepting his first local mount Friday, "but right now I really want to race in Chicago."
Fusilier won more than 120 races before losing his apprentice allowance in March of 2004, and later that summer he transferred his tack to Southern California, where he won two races after arriving during the last week of the Del Mar meeting. While riding in Southern California, he won the Grade III Monrovia Handicap aboard Bob & Beverly Lewis's Resplendency for trainer Bob Baffert. The son of jockey Dean Fusilier moved his tack to the Midwest in April.
"I got a call from (agent) Randy Romero Jr., who thought we could do well riding at Churchill Downs and then moving on to Arlington Park," Fusilier said. "Some of my friends are in the Midwest, so I thought it would be fun."
Owner Frank Calabrese, leading owner in number of races won for the last five seasons at Arlington Park, won Friday's fifth race with Marion's Man, ridden by current leading rider Shaun Bridgmohan, but the 5-year-old Helmsman gelding got claimed by Frank Kirby, defending trainer champion at Arlington.
Kirby had to win a 28-way shake in the claim box to get the horse, believed to be the second-largest claim box shake at Arlington since the track opened its new facility in 1989. In 2001, trainer Tom Tomillo won a 29-way shake on Talknow, who went on to win the $50,000 Claiming Crown Express in 2002.
Wayne Catalano, trainer champion in three of the last five Arlington seasons, was the trainer of record for Friday's win.
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