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|Arlington Park Barn Notes (6/19/05)
Contact: Graham Ross
In today's notes:
The hits just keep on coming for jockey Chris Emigh at Arlington Park. He scored a riding triple at the Northwest oval Saturday, had a double Friday, tallied his personal season high four wins Thursday, and rode two winners the day before that.
With 11 winners over the last four days, Emigh was asked if he could explain his latest sudden surge, but the 34-year-old reinsman finds the feat somewhat hard to quantify.
"Some days, you just get on a roll," Emigh said. "Sometimes you just get in a zone and everything seems to go your way, but mostly, it's just that you're riding good horses. When you're riding good horses, it may seem like you're doing something different, but it's really what you have going in that makes things happen.
"Of course, in spite of all that, everybody has their good days and bad days," Emigh said. "When things are going well, the holes just seem to open up when you want them to and everything seems to happen just like you want it to. Then at other times, nothing seems to go right, and you find yourself saying 'Man, I can't wait for this week to get over.'
"But this has been a good week," Emigh said. "I've had a lot of good horses to ride, and they have been running very well for me. My Mom's in town visiting from California this week, so maybe she's been bringing me good luck."
On Thursday, when Emigh rode four winners, the first three were on horses that he had never ridden before, and the native of Portsmouth, Va., was asked if he approached mounts like those any differently.
"Not at all," Emigh said. "You can look at a program and see how they like to run, and the trainer usually tells you how they like to run anyway. The trainer knows that because of what the previous riders might have told him. Actually, sometimes I think it's an advantage not to have ridden a horse before. You may do something differently than the previous rider and the horse seems to like it, but you may never know exactly what that 'something' is. That's why certain riders fit certain horses."
One obvious result of Emigh's recent hot streak is his rise in the Arlington jockey standings. After dominating the Chicago circuit during the winter, Emigh got hurt at the end of the recent Southside season and got off to a relatively slow start here. While he was still recovering during the initial days at Arlington, jockey Shaun Bridgmohan got off to a phenomenal start and has been the dominant force. Nevertheless, through Saturday's races, Emigh is clearly in the second spot with 31 winners, now only eight behind Bridgmohan. Could he make a run at leading rider honors?
"It's a long meeting," said Emigh. "This meeting is more of a marathon than a sprint, and you just have to take it day by day. Whatever happens, happens. I don't think about that right now. But what is good about riding all these winners in the last few days is that it helps to get better horses. Sometimes people like to jump on the bandwagon and use the hot rider."
Stewart Mather Madison's Happy Ticket, three and a half-length winner of Saturday's Grade III Chicago Breeders' Cup Handicap at Arlington, remained in fine fettle Sunday morning, according to Lindy McDaniel, agent for winning rider Eddie Razo Jr.
"I just came from her barn," said McDaniel during training hours Sunday. "She came out of the race without any problems and was all full of herself when I just looked in on her. She's scheduled to go back home (to Louisiana) tomorrow. We'd go anywhere in the country for the chance to ride her again."
For Razo, third in the current jockey standings through Saturday, the win aboard Happy Ticket was one of two for the day. The Mexican-born reinsman returned to the winner's circle with Stan Fulton's Unbridled Danz following Saturday's finale, bringing his total to 28 wins at the session, three behind Chris Emigh and 11 behind Shaun Bridgmohan.
Trainer Hector Magana saddled two winners Saturday, scoring with favored Freddie's Folly in the third, a mare he co-owns with George Frey Jr., and returning to the winner's circle following the ninth with Acclaimed Racing Stable's Wicki Up.
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