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Arlington Park Barn Notes (6/4/05)

Contact: Graham Ross

In today's notes:


Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens, with two victories in the Grade I Arlington Million during his illustrious career, made a quick trip to Chicago Friday evening in grateful recognition of a renewal he did not win.

Stevens' brief visit was on behalf of the Emergency Department of Northwest Community Hospital, the facility that treated Stevens for the life-threatening injuries he sustained in a finish line fall immediately following the 2003 Million. In that race, Stevens was trampled when he fell from Gainsborough Farm LLC's Storming Home, the first horse under the wire but one who was subsequently disqualified and placed fourth.

When a preview of Northwest Community Hospital's "Promenade of Art" was held Friday from 6-10 p.m. at the Arlington Sheraton in Arlington Heights, Stevens, accompanied by his wife Angie, flew in from Southern California to help at the fundraiser to benefit that Hospital's Emergency Department. The couple returned to the West Coast Saturday morning.

Friday's reception, which included a silent auction and a live auction, was in advance of the third annual arts and crafts venue that will be held in downtown Arlington Heights throughout the weekend.

Stevens, who enjoyed additional fame earlier that year as a supporting actor in the movie "Seabiscuit," suffered a collapsed lung and fractured vertebra in his Arlington Million spill. However, he returned to riding less than three weeks after those injuries, and revisited Arlington for a mount four weeks later.


Veteran Arlington conditioner Tony Mitchell, who saddled winners at a 23 percent clip two years ago here, made an uncharacteristically late departure from the maiden ranks this season when posed twice in the winner's circle on the 16th day of the 2005 Arlington meeting.

Mitchell saddled 14 horses this season before tasting victory for the first time with Keith Myers' Grand Illusion in the fifth race of Friday afternoon's twilight racing program. Immediately following that tally, Mitchell came right back to the winner's circle with Richard Otto Stables Inc.'s Bit of a Chap in the sixth to complete a sweep of the midday double.

"'Itchy' isn't the word," said Mitchell of his feelings about his unusually slow start here. "It was more like an extended cold streak that wouldn't end. I was getting tired of telling those jockeys to come to the paddock with an ice pick instead of a whip.

"I had one colt (Gambler's Prize) who got all tied up in the gate and had to be scratched," said Mitchell. "I watched the tape of that incident and I can only say that the colt is lucky to be alive. I've never had that happen to any of my horses before. Luckily, his injuries were only superficial.

"Then, I had that filly who fell on her head coming out of the gate," Mitchell said, speaking of another errant starter this season. "All I can say is that I'm very, very happy to finally break the ice."

Also posting doubles on Friday's program were jockeys James Graham and Larry Sterling Jr. Leading jockey Shaun Bridgmohan had three winners on the day to increase his incredible winning rate to 32 percent.


Tony Renfrow & Eugene Young's Silver Bid will shoulder the top impost of 122 pounds when he heads a field of nine Illinois-registered horses in Sunday's featured Zen Handicap at seven furlongs.

The gray gelding, trained by Joel Berndt, was second in his two most recent starts in April at Hawthorne but was the length and a quarter-victor in the Hula Chief Stakes at the Southside oval Feb. 26.

William Pacella, Joseph Rizza & Ronald Schwed's Wiggins, next in the Zen weights with 120 pounds, is capable of providing strong competition for the highweight. The Tony Granitz trainee won Mountaineer's West Virginia Governor's Handicap last August.

Carlos Montalvo rides Silver Bid while Eddie Razo Jr. handles Wiggins.

Completing the Zen field is Richard Perkins & Edward Stewart's Persuaggle, 113, Eddie Perez; Asiel Stables's Shandy, 118, Carlos Silva; Sweet 16 Thoroughbred Partnership LLC's Big Bold Sweep, 117, James Graham; Judith Zolna's Jack of My Heart, 115, Jesse Campbell; Kimberly & Michael Anderson's Medicine Eyes, 112, Nick Meza; Linda & Jeff Lafoy's Just See James, 112, Randy Meier; and Roger Salvino, Bob Kenneth & Charles Tomas's Bold Caller, 114, Earlie Fires up.

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