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Arlington Park Barn Notes (5/11/06)

Contact: Graham Ross

In today's notes:


Hall of Fame jockey Earlie Fires, Arlington Park’s all-time leading rider, visited the winner’s circle at the Northwest Chicago oval for the 39th season Wednesday when he piloted Scarlet Stable’s Chipotle to a front-running tally in the second half of the Daily Double for trainer Roger Brueggemann.

In Wednesday’s third race, Fires came right back to the winner’s circle aboard Mystic Palm Stables’ Dangerous Summer for conditioner Ed Beam to complete a two-for-two afternoon. The riding double comprised the 2,802nd and 2,803rd Arlington victories for Fires, who has 6,366 in his career.

Fires, 59, born in Rivervale, Ark., but a longtime resident of Palatine, has won six Arlington riding 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, Ky.

Among numerous career honors, in addition to his induction into the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame at Saratoga Springs in 2001, Fires was the recipient of the George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award in 1991.


Jim Tafel LLC’s Coolwind, third behind eventual Illinois Horse of the Year Original Spin in the Grade III Arlington-Washington Breeders’ Cup Lassie Sept. 18, will shoulder the top impost of 119 pounds when she faces five 3-year-old filly rivals in Saturday’s featured $40,000 Ribbon Handicap at six furlongs.

Veteran reinsman Eusebio Razo Jr. is named to handle the reins aboard the Kentucky homebred trained by Greg Geier.

The daughter of Forest Wildcat, most recently overmatched when eighth in Keeneland’s Grade I Ashland April 8 in her lone outing this season, concluded her juvenile campaign with a third-place effort in Churchill’s Grade III Pocahontas Nov. 5 and was fourth in Keeneland’s Grade II Alcibiades in her start before that on Oct. 7.

Capable of providing strong competition for Coolwind is William Stiritz’ Keystone Gulch, assigned 118 pounds by Kevin Greely, Arlington’s vice president of racing and racing secretary and handicapper. The Gulch filly won Prairie Meadows’ Goldfinch in her last start April 21 by a length and a half, and her two previous efforts at Hawthorne in March. The Ron Shenofsky trainee, bred by Calumet Farm, has Carlos H. Marquez Jr. listed for the irons.

A pound below Keystone Gulch and two below Coolwind in Saturday’s Ribbon is Kristine and John Richter’s Jazzy Okie, third behind Keystone Gulch last time in the Goldfinch, beaten three lengths by that rival despite a trouble line that notes a “brutal trip.” Previously, she was a three and a half-length winner March 1 at Oaklawn Park and was fifth in Oaklawn’s Dixie Belle before that Jan. 28. Leading rider Chris Emigh is slated for the tack aboard the Oklahoma-bred, who was trained by Kelly Von Hemel in his recent outings but is now conditioned by his father Don Von Hemel.

Completing the Ribbon field is Oxbow Racing LLC’s Rich Fantasy, 116, trained by Ronny Werner with Francisco Torres up; Wayne Sanders and Larry Hirsch’s Lillians Choice, 114, Bret Calhoun-conditioned with James Graham aboard; and Emerald Green Acres’ Lizzy’s Township, trained by Jimmy DiVito with Eddie Perez astride.


On Mother’s Day this Sunday, one of the most popular days at Arlington in previous seasons, the first 15,000 ladies in attendance will receive a Rio Rose, and the Pepsi Family Day program sponsored by the Daily Herald will also present Bill Hoffman’s “Exotic Animal Show” with show times scheduled at 1, 2, and 3 p.m. Additional attractions will include pony rides, a petting zoo, and an Organ grinder and monkey will roam the Park Area.

Also this Sunday, Arlington Park’s Junior Jockey Club meets from 11:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. in the Paddock Area and will feature an equine dentist.

Saturday at Arlington features guitar rock with an edge from the band Heavy Matters, who will headline the Bud Light Summer Bash and BBQ. An applewood smoked beef brisket will be the featured item on the grill with first race and first song at 1 p.m.

Friday’s Miller Lite Party in the Park twilight racing program will feature the Beatles tribute band British Export, with first race and first song at 3 p.m.

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