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|Arlington Park Barn Notes (6/1/06)
Contact: Graham Ross
In today's notes:
Arlington’s leading jockey Chris Emigh currently has almost twice as many winners as his nearest rival following back-to-back riding triples Sunday and Monday during Arlington’s extended Memorial Day weekend.
Emigh, 35, is in pursuit of his first Arlington Park jockey championship although he boasts numerous riding titles at other area ovals during his years on the Illinois circuit.
Last Sunday, he won the fourth race aboard Raymond Cyborski’s Fielding, came right back in the fifth astride Joanne Patten’s Just Ducky and concluded that triple with J. Denker and S. D. Brilie Ltd. Partnership’s Big Rushlet.
Then, on the Memorial Day program, Emigh took the second half of the Daily Double astride Annemarie Jones’ Tax Exemption, the sixth aboard David Banks and Hondo Racing LLC’s Quietly Quick and came right back in the seventh on Frank Calabrese’s My Calabrese.
The two three-win afternoons gave Emigh 29 winners at the meeting, 14 more than runner-up Francisco Torres, who was three in front of Carlos Silva through Monday’s races.
Two of Emigh’s Monday winners were for trainer Frank Kirby, Arlington’s 2004 trainer champion who also won the local training title 30 years earlier.
Trainer Steve Hobby had a training double Sunday, saddling Bobby Robertson and Windy Spa Racing Stable LLC’s Nine Chimes to win the second with Shane Laviolette aboard (bringing that rider within four of the 1,500 career-win milestone), and then posed in the winner’s circle again with Just Ducky with Emigh up. Hobby also now has an 80 percent in-the-money ratio at Arlington through Monday, exceeded only by conditioner Dale Bennett’s current 91 percent in-the-money ratio.
Jockey Eddie Perez, shaken up in a Monday spill, was back in action during training hours Thursday morning at Arlington and had two mounts listed during the afternoon program.
With a rare two-day midweek layoff following Arlington’s extended Memorial Day Weekend racing program, the Northwest Chicago oval will begin the coming first weekend in June at Friday’s Miller Lite Party In The Park by featuring the high-energy rock of the band “Brother John.”
Friday’s first race and first song begin at 3 p.m., but later that evening “The Fairlanes” -– a classic rock band -– is scheduled to entertain at Trackside Arlington Park’s “Party On The Patio” immediately following Friday’s races.
On Saturday at the “Bud Light Summer Bash and BBQ,” the pop rock band “215 West” will entertain, playing contemporary hits as well as timeless classics with first race and first song beginning at 1 p.m.
Saturday’s barbecue special in the Park Area will feature a chicken sandwich.
On Sunday, Arlington Park’s Pepsi Family Day, sponsored by the Daily Herald, will feature a “Family Sports Day,” including a family long jump, family slalom and other fun Olympic-themed sports.
Also on Sunday, Arlington’s Junior Jockey Club will meet to play in teams and one-on-one games in such contests as “baggo,” horseshoes, jump-rope and “Arlington Arnold buckets.”
One could bet a five-spot that Linda LaMontagna will never forget Memorial Day when Kevin Finn proposed to her in the winner’s circle at Arlington Park.
Finn and Arlington had pre-arranged a bogus scenario where the couple was approached, supposedly after being randomly selected, to be part of the presentation ceremony to the winning jockey following Monday’s first race.
Following the in-house televised presentation to winning jockey Larry Sterling, Jr., who was riding his first of two winners during the Memorial Day program, Finn suddenly dropped to one knee.
“Right now,” said Finn to LaMontagna, “in front of all these wonderful people, I’m asking you: ‘Will you marry me?’”
“Yes,” LaMontagna said after being given a few moments to get over her surprise.
The couple was then escorted to Arlington’s International Room where both of their families -– in on the set-up surprise proposal -– were waiting for them.
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