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|Arlington Park Barn Notes (6/3/06)
Contact: Graham Ross
In today's notes:
Arbaway Farm and Carson Springs Farm’s Modjadji was clearly best in Friday’s $41,750 Reluctant Guest Stakes at Arlington while prepping for the $75,000 Isaac Murphy Handicap on June 24’s Prairie State Festival Day, but a sudden shower as the horses were pulling up dampened the winner’s circle ceremonies.
Fittingly, the victorious 4-year-old winning filly was named for the rain queen of South Africa’s Balobedu people, who believe magical powers are passed down from queen to queen, allowing her to transform clouds and create rain. H. Rider Haggard’s novels “King Solomon’s Mines” and “She” first drew the world’s attention to the legendary rain queen in the 1880s.
Also appropriately, a double rainbow quickly appeared as the sun shone brightly once again following Friday’s sudden shower, and Arlington Park bugler Bonny Brown played a few bars of “Over The Rainbow” as the horses came out on the track for the final race of the afternoon.
Although modern meteorology has robbed the rain queen of much of the awe she once commanded, her cultural influence remains. Mokope Modjadji, who died in 2001 at the age of 64, received visits from former presidents Nelson Mandela and F. W. de Klerk during her reign. She was succeeded by her granddaughter Makobo Modjadji, who died mysteriously in June of 2005, at the age of 27, of unspecified causes.
The upcoming Isaac Murphy ‘Cap -- the proposed next start for Modjadji the Illinois-bred filly -- is one of six Illinois-restricted stakes races run on Prairie State Festival Day June 24.
Francisco Torres, second in the current Arlington Park jockey standings, was completing a riding triple Friday when he piloted Arbaway Farm and Carson Springs Farm’s Modjadji to her one-length tally in Friday’s $41,750 Reluctant Guest Stakes for trainer Christine Janks.
However, Torres gained no ground on current leading jockey Chris Emigh, who also posted a Friday “hat trick” -- his fifth of the 2006 Arlington session -- and held his 15-win advantage over Torres going into Saturday’s program.
Emigh began his Friday by riding both halves of the Daily Double, scoring with Team Victory’s Sea the Joy in the opener for trainer Steve Asmussen, and coming right back to the winner’s circle with Sauganash Stable Ltd.’s Shoebootie in the second for conditioner Marco Salazar. Emigh completed his three-win afternoon with Keith Asmussen’s Slick City Nites, again for trainer Asmussen, in the fourth.
Prior to his stakes victory astride Modjadji, Torres won Friday’s third race, also for trainer Janks, and then posed in the winner’s circle with Hugh Robertson and Homewrecker Racing LLC’s The Bohemian Girl in the fifth for conditioner Robertson.
After saddling two winners Friday, Christine Janks moved into a tie for the lead in the current Arlington Park trainer standings with 10 winners at the meeting.
Earlier in the afternoon, Arlington racing fans were treated to a Tommy Tomillo interview conducted by Arlington television personality Liane Davis when the popular conditioner was awarded trainer-of-the month-honors for May.
“I’ve been laid up a little bit,” said Tomillo in classic understatement. “I have to give all the credit for our barn’s recent success to my help. They are the best.”
Irish-born reinsman James Graham, who celebrated a perfect five-for-five win afternoon at Arlington May 27, was awarded jockey-of-the-month honors, and the ownership duo of Charles Sigrist and Moises Yanez were named owners-of-the-month for May after winning four races from seven starters.
Conditioners Tommy Tomillo and Christine Janks, co-leaders of the Arlington training ranks through Friday, are slated to renew their current rivalry in Sunday’s $41,750 Zen Stakes, a prep race for the $75,000 Black Tie Affair Handicap on Prairie State Festival Day June 24.
Tomillo is slated to saddle Jeffrey Crockett’s Iron Rogue, to be ridden by leading rider Chris Emigh in the Zen, while Janks has named J. Denker and S. D. Brilie Ltd. Partnership’s High Expectations, with second leading rider Francisco Torres, to the seven-furlong Prairie State Festival prep.
Iron Rogue was easily second best in his local bow May 18 after finishing fourth in Hawthorne’s Chicagoland Handicap April 29, while High Expectations took down winning honors in last year’s $88,900 Springfield Stakes during 2005’s Prairie State Festival Day.
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