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|Arlington Park Barn Notes (6/12/05)
Contact: Graham Ross
In today's notes:
Veteran Arlington-based trainer Mike Campbell plans have a busy upcoming Father's Day weekend, saddling one horse Saturday at Canterbury Park -- scheduled to be ridden by one of his twin sons -- and another Sunday at Arlington Park with the other twin aboard.
In a plot with shades of the 1961 movie "The Parent Trap," Mike Campbell trainee Kid Grindstone will start in Saturday's Come Summer Stakes at Minnesota's Canterbury Park and will be ridden by the conditioner's son Joel Campbell. In his last start, Kid Grindstone, owned by Wexler Racing Stables Inc., finished fourth at Arlington Park June 4, with Joel's twin brother Jesse in the irons.
To complete the switch, Mike Campbell wants to run Teller Line, a 6-year-old mare owned by Get In The Picture Stable, on Father's Day Sunday at Arlington. In her last start she finished ninth in Arlington's Reluctant Guest Stakes May 29 with Joel Campbell astride. On Father's Day, Campbell wants Arlington regular rider Jesse Campbell aboard so his brother can return to his own summer base this year in Iowa at Prairie Meadows.
Jesse Campbell, incidentally, currently sixth in Arlington's standings, is rapidly approaching the 1,000-win milestone in his career. Joel began his own career several years later.
How does a father feel when his sons are jockeys?
"As a father, I'm most proud because they both turned out to be good citizens," said the senior Campbell. "I can tell you that when they were kids (growing up in Lake Zurich) they both got into mischief, but they never got into any serious trouble. That's the most important thing.
"And as for both of them wanting to become jockeys; that didn't matter to me," Campbell said. "It didn't matter to me whether they chose to become jockeys or astronauts.
"I never suggested to either of them that they become jockeys," Campbell said, "but once they chose to be, my wife and I chose to give them our total support. But we'd have done the same thing if they chose to be carpenters. I'm happy that they're happy. It bodes well for people who have dreams to follow up on them."
When jockey Randy Meier -- at 50 years of age one of the senior members of the Arlington colony -- rode Russell Lawson & Versatile Thoroughbreds LLC's Sycamore Creek to victory in Saturday's ninth race, as a father he was presented with a unique opportunity. The Nebraska-born reinsman made the most of it.
Meier's daughter Emily, 21, who will be a senior this fall at Miami of Ohio University, is currently a marketing intern at Arlington Park, and one of her weekend duties Saturday was to get each race's winning rider to autograph a set of riding goggles as part of Arlington's weekend jockey goggle giveaway.
"He thought it would be funny if I gave his signed goggles away to the kids waiting for them," said Emily, speaking Sunday morning in Arlington's administrative offices.
"You know how -- when Chris Emigh wins a race on weekends -- he has his kids give away his goggles?" the younger Meier asked. "Well, Dad told me to do the same thing, and he made me do it on the one side of the tunnel, and then he made me go over to the other side and do it again. He told me: 'You're my little girl, too.' He was just giving me a hard time, but we had fun with it.
"I love it here at Arlington," said the intern, who lives with her family in Wheaton. "It's a lot of fun and there's a lot of variety in the things I get to do. I'd like to get into sports marketing when I graduate, preferably into racing if I can.
"I grew up around this business, and watching my father ride gives me so much excitement, especially when he wins," she said in conclusion. "People who work at the track are all like one big family, and they're our family."
Arlington Park's division of the Race Track Chaplaincy of America will offer five classes in etiquette to the children of backstretch workers, beginning at 9 a.m. Tuesday.
"The idea is to help them feel comfortable as they are gradually introduced to American social skills, beginning with proper table manners and other little things," said Arlington television personality Christine Gabriel, who along with trainer Mary Zimmerman and jockey's wife Debbie Laviolette will teach the upcoming classes.
"After Tuesday, other classes will be held July 5, 12 and 26, and once again Aug. 22," said Gabriel. "Those who attend will accumulate points for each class they come to, and a prize consisting of a dinner at a swanky restaurant will be awarded at the conclusion of the program.
"We've had a lot of interest, and several of the children's parents have asked if they could come, too," said Gabriel. "The answer is 'Yes.' Adults will always be welcome."
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