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Horse slaughter in Illinois
|Arlington Park Barn Notes (5/28/05)
Contact: Graham Ross
In today's notes:
After a winter meeting on Chicago's Southside where he dominated the jockey standings, Illinois veteran Chris Emigh got off to a slow start in the opening days of the Arlington season that began May 13.
"I got injured the second to last day of the season down there," Emigh said, speaking of his May 9 spill. "I was still a little bit sore when I first got here. The first couple of days things just didn't work out during the races, but things are starting to fall into place now."
After riding three winners on Wednesday's program, Emigh scored his second "hat trick" in three days during Friday's twilight racing program, taking the opener on John Castro's Race With Grace, coming right back in the second half of the double with John Glueckert's Bailer Twine as the adjudged winner, and completing his personal triple with Steve Sawatske's Ivan Jay Perry in Friday's seventh.
The two midweek triples vaulted Emigh into a tie for second with Eddie Razo Jr. in Arlington's jockey standings this season with 11 winners, eight behind Shaun Bridgmohan.
"Some days, all the horses seem to run good," said Emigh of this week's success. "Down at Hawthorne, the season was like a dream. Everything came together. All the people I ride for -- like Harvey Vanier, Christine Janks and Hugh Robertson -- all ran a lot of good horses. But whatever happened down there didn't matter. Once we got over here, we all started at zero."
Emigh, 34, who arrived on the Illinois circuit in 1996, had his best Arlington Park season last year with 71 trips to the winner's circle, an achievement that allowed him to finish third in the final local standings. With the absence of perennial leading rider Rene Douglas so far this season, Emigh was asked if he saw himself in contention for the Arlington title this summer.
"Anyone who (agent Dennis) Cooper brings to Arlington has to be tough," said Emigh, speaking of Bridgmohan, who replaced Douglas as Cooper's client. "We'll just have to take things day-to-day and see what happens."
Christine Janks, currently tied for the runner-up spot in the trainer standings at the young Arlington Park meeting, will saddle representatives in both ends of Sunday's split Reluctant Guest Stakes.
In Sunday's sixth race, first half of the one-mile turf test for fillies and mare, Janks will be represented by William Lydon, Nancy and Vince Letto and Carson Springs Farm's Sunset Kisses, who has won four straight including Hawthorne's Nicole Stakes by three and a half-lengths at last asking May 8.
"I'm thrilled they split the stakes," said Janks, when asked about the Reluctant Guest. "Otherwise, Sunset Kisses wouldn't have had enough earnings to get in. She's by Sky Classic, who I have always loved as a sire. His horses all get better with age, and they all seem to run well over turf, dirt, or mud, which fits our program very well."
Incidentally, Sunset Kisses' dam is a daughter of Cozzene named A Kiss Away, and Janks was asked if that mare's name was more than a coincidence, given the trainer's status as a Rolling Stones fan.
"The answer to that is an emphatic 'Yes'," said Janks. "Not only are the Stones the best rock 'n' roll band ever, but 'Gimme Shelter' (with A Kiss Away as part of the lyrics) is the greatest record ever made."
Janks will also saddle William Lydon & Carson Springs Farm's Ms. Lydonia in the second half of the Reluctant Guest, to be contested as the eighth race on Sunday's program.
"Ms. Lydonia, although she runs on the main track -- almost always in restricted races -- is much superior on turf," Janks said. "I really think she is primarily a turf horse."
Hussar Racing Stable LLC's Lighthouse Lil, a contestant in the second half of Sunday's Reluctant Guest Stakes, has not run since winning Arlington's Lincoln Heritage Stakes during Prairie State Festival Day last June 26.
The 6-year-old chestnut mare suffered a hairline fracture of the cannon bone while preparing for Arlington's Grade III Modesty later last summer.
"She may be a little rusty this first time," admitted trainer Chris Block, "but we have to get the rust out of her somehow and this seemed like as good a spot as any.
"She's pretty fit," said Block, "but she may need a little more mental sharpness, and that's what she'll get on Sunday."
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