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|Arlington Park Barn Notes (5/28/06)
Contact: Graham Ross
In today's notes:
Irish-born jockey James Graham vaulted from 11th to 4th position in the Arlington Park jockey standings -- and raised his win ratio from 11 to 20 percent -- with a perfect five-for-five win afternoon Saturday at the Northwest Chicago oval, becoming the only rider this season to visit the winner’s circle five times in a single afternoon.
Last season, eventual 2005 Arlington jockey champion Shaun Bridgmohan was the only jockey to ride five winners in an afternoon at Arlington, while Graham accomplished two four-win afternoons.
On Sept. 13, 1989, at Arlington during the inaugural season of the new facility, Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day set a North American record by winning with eight of nine mounts to mark the greatest riding accomplishment in local Thoroughbred history.
Graham finished third in Arlington’s standings last season behind Bridgmohan and Chris Emigh, Arlington’s current leading rider through Saturday’s program.
The native of Finglas, Dublin, who celebrated his 27th birthday 10 days earlier, won both halves of Saturday’s Daily Double, aboard William Stiritz’ Gita in the opener and Michael Ryan’s Gigi From Fiji in the second; returned to the winner’s circle on Montesano Racing’s Ituna in the fourth; captured the sixth astride Ladyburn, owned by Ralls and Foster LLC and Smith Ridge Stable; and came right back to the winner’s circle on Russell L. Reineman Stable Inc.’s Sobresaliente in the seventh to complete his perfect day.
“I’ve never won five races in a single day anywhere I’ve ridden,” said Graham Sunday morning during training hours, “but I’ve won four in a day a couple of times. Yesterday was a very special day for me. Hopefully, there will be more like that but this game has its highs and lows. Actually, every time I get to the winner’s circle it’s a good feeling for me.
“How did I celebrate last night?” Graham said when asked how he ended his banner day. “I went home and went to bed.”
Two years ago Arlington Park’s innovative television department introduced a novel television shot looking down from above at the horses and their jockeys as they loaded into the starting gate for each race.
Last season, Arlington’s TV department broke new ground again with an under-the-inside-rail view of the horses crossing the finish line in each race.
On Saturday, in time to attract new Thoroughbred racing fans from among the more occasional guests on hand for its Memorial Day weekend program, Arlington’s TV department raised the bar once again by having former jockey Zoe Cadman on horseback going to gate with horses and able to engage in publicly-broadcast conversation with new Arlington paddock analyst Liane Davis, who doubles as an active trainer on the Chicago circuit.
“What we were trying to do yesterday, and what we always want to do, is give more to the fans and handicappers than they can get out of a program,” said Kevin Clarke of Arlington’s television department on Sunday morning.
“I thought with Liane’s experience as a trainer, and with what Zoe could see on the racetrack from a rider’s standpoint, if there was a conversation going on between them that we could help give the handicappers that much more insight into what was happening on the track as the horses warmed up for a particular race.
“It was a little bit of an experiment, but I thought Zoe sounded great,” said Clarke. “We didn’t want to overdo it, and have her talking if there was nothing to say, but I thought she did very well with her insights when there was something worth noting.
“We wanted something very similar to the sideline reporting offered on network television at a football game,” said Clarke. “We wanted to add a third dimension to the whole horseracing experience to help our fans get closer to the action.“It’s not something we plan to do all the time,” concluded Clarke of the on-air byplay between Davis and Cadman. “For the time being, we’ll just try it occasionally and see how it develops, but I thought yesterday’s experiment was a great addition.”
Cadman, incidentally, is Arlington’s all-time leader among the female riders who have competed at the track. Born in South Africa but raised in England, Cadman gave up her successful riding career two years ago to become the wife of Larry Sterling, who has been among the leaders of the local riding colony for a number of years. She still gallops horses in the morning at Arlington.
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