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Arlington Park Barn Notes (5/13/06)

Contact: Graham Ross

In today's notes:


When Circle K Ranch’s (Frederic Kuen et al) Rucker won Thursday’s featured allowance optional claiming event for conditioner Donna Dupuy, it was the fifth trip to the winner’s circle for the 5-year-old gelding and his third score at Arlington, as well as a tribute to training prowess of Dupuy.

The Chicago-born horsewoman had saddled Rucker to his first Arlington win a little less than a year ago when in for a $5,000 tag against non-winners-of-two-lifetime, and near the end of Arlington’s 2005 season, Rucker won again, capturing an allowance event by three lengths while upsetting rivals at 27-1 on Sept. 5. Carlos Silva was aboard for all three local scores.

On Friday, Dupuy saddled her second winner of the season, taking the opening event with Kuen’s Freddy’s Thunder, again with Silva aboard, and after six racing days, the former assistant to trainer George Getz has half as many wins as she did all last season at Arlington.

“We’re a small outfit, and we start all our horses from the beginning and wait to see how they develop,” said Dupuy. “Sometimes, they don’t (develop), but when they do, it’s a very rewarding experience.

“With Rucker, I had to convince Mr. Kuen to give him one more chance at Arlington last spring before we gave up on him and sent him to Fairmount,” Dupuy said. “I told him we ought to try to run the horse short and that he would like Arlington a little better than Hawthorne. I also think starting him at that level here last spring and having him win the way he did then helped out a lot. It served as a confidence builder.

“Also, I have to give a lot of credit to Carlos Silva,” Dupuy said. “He stuck with us, and he knows how to ride this horse.”

Dupuy began her career with show horses before starting to gallop Thoroughbreds for Getz, and has been training on her own a little more than a decade. She is married to Mike Dupuy, who presently serves as her assistant. His father was trainer John Dupuy and his brother Pat is a Kentucky-based trainer married to Louisville Courier-Journal turfwriter Jennie Rees.

Owner Kuen, born in Chicago but raised in Wisconsin, was equally pleased with his two winners so early in the Arlington season, and was asked how he got into the business.

“I went to claim a horse to breed to quarter horses,” said Kuen, “and then the horse won. Then I met Donna and we’ve been together ever since.”


Trainer Lara Van Deren and owner Louie Roussel III lost a heartbreaker in Thursday’s finale when Saint’s Relic made the pace before succumbing to fast-closing Catmantoo, owned by Renee and Paul Kessel and trained by Jerry Calvin, in the final stride.

However, on Friday, Van Deren and Roussel made amends for that defeat when Case Rules led every step of the way in the featured eighth event to pose in the winner’s circle for the first time this year. With that win, the owner-trainer combination -- often a powerful Arlington combination in other Chicago summers -- equaled their win record during an uncharacteristically slow 2005 season here.

“Things look a lot more promising this year,” said Van Deren Saturday morning during training hours. “We had a lot of 2-year-olds last year and they’re 3-year-olds now, and we had a lot of seconds last year but couldn’t seem to win any of them. Now, we have a lot maidens and a lot of horses with conditions, so things are looking up.”

Reinforcing that theory was Friday’s finale, where Roussel’s Lucyswordsoflove, a sophomore maiden filly making her second career start, set the pace until mid-stretch as the third choice in the wagering before giving way in the final furlong.

“I think she got a little intimidated by that other filly coming up on the outside,” said Van Deren. “I think she’ll improve with a little more experience.”


Leading Arlington jockey Chris Emigh and leading trainer Tom Tomillo had twice as many winners as their closest pursuers after six days of racing through Friday’s program.

Emigh and Tomillo, who have never won Arlington titles but boast multiple championships at other area ovals, are both off to unusually fast starts here.

Emigh has 12 wins, while runner-up riders Jesse Campbell and Francisco Torres are currently tied with six wins apiece, and Tomillo has saddled six winners through Friday while tied for second in the trainer standings were defending champion Wayne Catalano and last year’s co-runner-up Christine Janks with three apiece.

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