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ARLINGTON PARK

Arlington Park Barn Notes (5/6/06)

Contact: Graham Ross
graham.ross@arlingtonpark.com

In today's notes:

VETERAN JOCKEYS TORRES, FERRER RIDE ARLINGTON OPENER DOUBLES

Francisco Torres, 36, a Chicagoland native and a familiar friendly face at Arlington from former seasons, returned to his hometown circuit in time to ride Martin Scaminaci and Ted Kostecki’s One Perfect Day to a winning effort in the first race of the 2006 meeting for trainer Christine Janks, and made a second trip to the winner’s circle aboard 100% Racing Stable LLC’s American Diva after the seventh for conditioner Austin Smith.

Meanwhile, not to be outdone, jockey Jose Ferrer, 42, born in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, but an accomplished journeyman for years on the Florida and New Jersey circuits, made the first day of his career at Arlington Park equally successful by winning with Marc Goldish and Savoy Stable’s Prosico in the third race of the day and coming back with a tally astride that same partnership’s Mr. d’Or in the featured Shecky Greene Handicap. Both those horses were trained by Dale Bennett.

“I’m just grateful for the opportunity to ride here again,” said Torres Saturday morning following his opening day double. “I have to thank my agent Bobby Kelly for getting me on those two horses. I feel extremely fortunate to have gotten the chance to ride both of them, and both paid big prices ($13.60 and $28.80 respectively.) It was great to win a race for Christine Janks again, as well as that second one for Mr. Smith. The horsemen around here have welcomed me back with open arms and I’m very appreciative of that.”

Javier Torres, assistant clerk of scales at Arlington, is Francisco’s brother.

“This is my first time at Arlington,” said Jose Ferrer following winner’s circle ceremonies after his second win of the afternoon in the $40,000 Shecky Greene ‘Cap. “It’s awesome, and the city is unbelievable. I’ve been through hell for the last month and a half but my friends like Dale Bennett and my agent Oscar Sanchez gave me some support to help make up my mind to come here. I had always gone to Monmouth Park and done the Monmouth-Meadowlands circuit, but they convinced me to come here and thank God I did.

“I had done well there (NJ) but I was looking for something different,” Ferrer said. “I’ve been through some changes in my life. I got divorced a month ago (from former jockey Rosemary Homeister Jr., an Eclipse Award winning apprentice in 1992) and was looking for something different. I just came here to start a new life.”

Ferrer is a nephew of veteran rider Carlos Lopez and a cousin of jockey Chuck Lopez.

HIGH PERCENTAGE TRAINER DALE BENNETT ENJOYS OPENING DAY DOUBLE

After saddling Prosico to win Friday’s third race ($3.60) and Mr. d’Or to capture the Shecky Greene ($11.40), Dale Bennett accepted congratulations Saturday morning as Arlington’s current leading conditioner, accomplishing the only training double on the opening day program as well as one for his owners Marc Goldish and Savoy Stables (John Santina).

“I feel very lucky,” Bennett said from his Arlington barn during training hours on Kentucky Derby Day. “I’m very happy with the way we started off.

“Last year, I had 11 winners at Arlington from 58 starts, so I don’t really have the numbers to keep up with the bigger outfits like Catalano and Tomillo because they have a lot more horses,” said Bennett, “but I guess my goal would be to finish in the top 10 this year with a high win percentage.”

Bennett had a 22% win ratio during 2005, and almost a 19% ratio at Arlington Park.

“I’d like to finish in the top five, but sooner or later the numbers may catch up to me,” said Bennett. “My wife Denise should get the credit for Mr. d’Or’s win yesterday. She’s done a lot with him and spent a lot of time with him. She also gallops him. The horse makes me look good. He’s an overachiever.

“Prosico is going to be a nice for us as well,” said Bennett. “If things would have worked out better for him in a couple of his earlier races, he would have been in the handicap yesterday as well, but I didn’t want him running in there (the Shecky Greene) as a maiden.”

“Marc Goldish is kind of a silent partner among those owners,” said Bennett, “but John Santina was here at Arlington to enjoy the two wins.”

FORT PRADO SCRATCHED FROM CHURCHILL’S WOODFORD RESERVE TODAY

Team Block’s Fort Prado, the locally owned Illinois-bred who won Arlington’s Black Tie Affair and Sea O’Erin Breeders’ Cup handicaps last season, has been scratched off the program from Saturday’s Grade I Woodford Reserve Turf Classic Stakes at Churchill Downs.

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