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ARLINGTON PARK

Arlington Park Barn Notes (6/4/06)

Contact: Graham Ross
graham.ross@arlingtonpark.com

In today's notes:

HALL OF FAME-BOUND BILL BOLAND RECALLS 1952 ARLINGTON HANDICAP

Former jockey Bill Boland will be inducted into the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame Aug. 7 after a career spent mostly on the East Coast, but he did post one unexpected tally in a major race at Arlington Park: winning the 1952 Arlington Handicap aboard King Ranch’s To Market for Hall of Fame trainer Max Hirsch.

“The track came up muddy that day,” Boland recalled, speaking over the phone from his home in Palm Coast, Florida. “My horse loved the mud and he just galloped. He won by 10, but Pet Bully would have been favored if the track had been dry.”

Ironically, it was two years earlier, while a 16-year-old apprentice, that Boland accomplished the feat that remains the defining moment of his career. Riding King Ranch’s Middleground, for whom he was under contract, in the 1950 Kentucky Derby, he held off the stretch drive of favored Hill Prince, owned by C. T. Chenery, to capture the Run for the Roses by a length and a quarter.

Some weeks later, in the Belmont Stakes, with Hill Prince favored again, it was once again Boland who posed in the winner’s circle astride Middleground. However, Hill Prince had won the Preakness in between the two classics to foil Middleground’s (as well as Boland’s and Hirsch’s) bid for the Triple Crown sweep that year.

“We finished second in the Preakness, but got beat about three or four lengths when another horse took me to the outside fence while the winner got through on the rail,” Boland said. “And the horse’s name that took me out was Mr. Trouble.”

Among Boland’s other memorable upset victories was a brilliant front-running ride in Hialeah’s 1967 Widener Handicap aboard George Widener’s Ring Twice. “As it turned out, that was the only time a ‘Widener horse’ won the Widener,” Boland said, “and it was a pick-up mount for me that I had gotten the day before.”

Joining Boland among those inducted into the Hall of Fame at Saratoga this summer will be trainer Carl Hanford, conditioner of five-time Horse of the Year Kelso. Boland also rode Kelso twice -- once in a sprint, and once again in the last race of Kelso’s career -- but never won with him.

“He made up a lot of ground in that sprint race (at Monmouth),” said Boland, “but he was no sprinter. Still, he finished third, beaten only a half-length. But in his last race (March 2, 1966 at Hialeah) he finished fourth. Kelso just wasn’t Kelso anymore. They retired him after that.”

In another ironic footnote, the only apprentice jockey other than Boland to win the Kentucky Derby was Ira Hanford, Carl’s brother. That Hanford tallied in 1936 aboard Bold Venture, who later in his life sired Middleground.

‘SPIN’S’ LITTLE BROTHER DIVINE COMIC GETS SUNDAY BREEZE

Russell L. Reineman Stable Inc.’s Divine Comic, full brother to that stable’s Original Spin, Illinois Horse of the Year in 2005, breezed three furlongs in :37.20 Sunday morning.

The unstarted 2-year-old will be brought along slowly by trainer Tony Mitchell, who reports that mentally the colt is developing very rapidly. Mitchell, who also trains Original Spin, is the son-in-law of Bill Boland, who will be inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame at Saratoga this summer.

ILLINOIS CHAMPS MYSTERY GIVER, FORT PRADO, SHOWCASE SUNDAY TAB

Team Block’s Mystery Giver, Illinois Horse of the Year in 2002 and 2004, breezed a half-mile in :48.80 Sunday morning at Arlington Park.

“He worked OK,” said trainer Chris Block of Mystery Giver, “but you can’t gauge this horse by his works. He’s a grass horse, and until we run him again we won’t really know how good he is now.”

Block also breezed Team Block’s Fort Prado, Illinois Turf Male and Older Handicap Male in 2005, on Sunday morning. That 5-year-old gray went five furlongs in 1:01.

MOTT COULD TRY FOR FOURTH ARLINGTON CLASSIC WIN JULY 1

Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott is the conditioner of Pin Oak Stable’s Equal Opportunity, winner of Saturday’s $41,625 Awad Stakes.

The Awad served as the local prep for the Grade III Arlington Classic, presented by Woodford Reserve, which will be run July 1. Mott has saddled three previous winners of the Arlington Classic, first leg of Arlington’s Mid-America Triple.

EMIGH WINS BACK-TO-BACK DAILY DOUBLES

Current Arlington Park leading rider Chris Emigh, bidding for his initial Arlington riding title this summer after numerous others on the Chicagoland circuit, swept both halves of the Daily Double Saturday, accomplishing that feat for the second straight day.

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