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|Arlington Park Barn Notes (9/17/05)
Contact: Graham Ross
In today's notes:
Trainer Wayne Catalano, this season's training champion and now Arlington's leading conditioner three of the last four years, broke through his own barrier established three years ago for most wins saddled during an Arlington Park season when he accounted for one third of the winners on Friday's racing program.
When Catalano won the opening race on Friday's program with Frank Calabrese's Stormy Seas -- ridden by this summer's jockey champion Shaun Bridgmohan -- Catalano tied his mark of 64 winners locally set during the 2002 racing season when Arlington ran a 107-day meeting.
When Catalano returned to the winner's following Friday's seventh with Calabrese's It's Handsome I Am, with Jerry La Sala up, he broke new Arlington ground with his 65th winner during this summer's 94-day session.
"I'd like to thank my owner," said Catalano after the seventh during winner's circle ceremonies. "This wouldn't have been possible without Mr. Calabrese letting me run my horses where they belong."
And when Catalano saddled Calabrese's One Other Than, with Bridgmohan aboard once again, to win Friday's final race, he reaffirmed his numerical superiority over his rivals this year.
Catalano, 49, a native of New Orleans, has horses entered in four races Saturday and four on Sunday's last day of Arlington's current meeting. Those starters will give him the chance to reach historically unprecedented Arlington heights.
Now seventh on the list of Arlington's all-time leading trainers, Catalano had saddled 497 Arlington winners at the conclusion of Friday's races. The still-active Richard Hazelton, winner of Arlington's "Lifetime Achievement Award" this season, ranks as Arlington's leading conditioner of all-time with 1,149 local winners through Friday.
Hall of Fame jockey Earlie Fires, Arlington's all-time leading reinsman who establishes a new Arlington career record each time he rides a winner, reached a personal milestone of 2,800 winners at Arlington Park Friday when he guided Terry Bruner's Royal Master to the winner's circle following Friday's eighth race.
"This isn't the mark I'm looking for," said Fires in a post-race interview with Arlington Park television personality Christine Gabriel. "I'm looking forward to coming back to Arlington next season, and I'd like to reach 3,000 wins here."
Fires, 58, has ridden 6,356 winners during his career through Friday, after visiting the winner's circle for the first time aboard Carnation Kid on March 6, 1965, at Oaklawn Park while still a teenager. He went on to be the nation's leading apprentice that year with 224 wins. Fires is slated to ride three mounts Saturday and one on Arlington's closing day Sunday.
Fires has won six Arlington titles: in 1966, 1969 (in a tie with Craig Perret), 1975, 1979, 1983 and 1984. He also has the distinction of being a meet's leading rider in four different decades, including titles at Hawthorne, Hialeah, Calder, Keeneland, Churchill, Gulfstream and the old Miles Park in Louisville, Kentucky.
He was inducted into the National Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame at Saratoga Springs in August of 2001.
Dare To Dream Stable LLC's Nicole's Dream, who broke in stride to make the pace in Arlington's grassy J J'sdream Stakes in her last start July 24 at five-eighths, may be a tepid choice in the wagering when she faces nine male rivals named to Sunday's $42,500 Taylor's Special Stakes at five and a half furlongs over Arlington Park's world famous turf course.
Michael Bruder's Justice for Auston, who used identical tactics in a five and a half-furlong grass sprint Aug. 6 at Ellis Park, appears the one to beat in the closing day feature supporting the Grade III Arlington-Washington Breeders' Cup Futurity and the Grade III Arlington-Washington Breeders' Cup Lassie. Both of those juvenile fixtures at the Northwest Chicago race course are observing their 70th renewals.
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