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Arlington Park Barn Notes (6/15/06)

Contact: Graham Ross

In today's notes:


She’s a racing rarity -- a mare bred in Ecuador now racing in the United States -- but Marcelo Bueno and Isaac Zoldan’s Pentelicus Dance might be worthy of a second look in Saturday’s Grade III Chicago Breeders’ Cup Handicap.

Restricted to fillies and mares, Arlington’s seven-furlong Saturday feature appears “evenly-matched” for its 17th renewal. Loosely translated, that might mean “ripe for an upset.”

After breaking from the gate atrociously in three Gulfstream starts this winter, Pentelicus Dance had no chance in South Florida, but has done much better in her three starts since coming to the Midwest. What happened?

“Two years ago at Gulfstream, a jockey whipped her hard when she got a little nervous going to the gate,” said trainer Marco Salazar Thursday morning during training hours. “Then her regular pony guy down there got sick, and in her next start, she spooked a little bit in the tunnel and the jockey whipped her again. It took her a long time to get over that. These guys on the starting gate up here know me, and they know her. She doesn’t want anyone to touch her, and the key to her is to put her in the gate and leave her alone.”

Salazar, 55, is a native of Panama but a resident of Rolling Meadows for almost two decades, and finished second in the trainer standings at Sportsman’s and Hawthorne twice in the early ‘90s. He was introduced to Pentelicus Dance’s owners -- a pair of Ecuadorian businessmen -- some time ago and journeyed to Ecuador to see their farm.

“Ecuador is not that popular a place to race Thoroughbreds,” said Salazar. “It’s kind of like the bush tracks here; it’s not like Mexico or Panama or Puerto Rico. But this is a well-bred horse, and I took her to Puerto Rico for the Caribbean Classic series two years ago at El Comandante because she was eligible as an Ecuador-bred. Pat Day rode her and she finished eighth over a muddy track, but that race was at a mile and an eighth.

“I’d like to take her back there this December and run her in one of the shorter races,” said Salazar. “Now I know she’s more of a sprinter. Six or seven furlongs is about as far as she wants to go. That’s why Saturday’s race is ideal for her.

“She never disappoints me, but she tends to run according to the level of her competition,” Salazar said. “That’s why this race Saturday gives me a chance to get her some black type.”


With a riding triple Wednesday, and two wins Sunday during Arlington’s previous race day, jockey Jesse Campbell climbed from a three-way tie for fourth into a clear third-place advantage over the two-day period, trailing only leading jockey Chris Emigh and runner-up Francisco Torres at the end of Wednesday’s program.

Campbell’s “hat trick,” recorded in three successive races, began with John and Lois Auer’s Holy Starlite in Wednesday’s third race for trainer Eddie Essenpreis, continued in the fourth with Wayne Hughes’ Shift in Power for conditioner Paul McGee and concluded with Feel The Thunder Stable’s Sandburr for trainer Mike Stidham.

Torres countered with a Wednesday riding double aboard Cal Jestice and Dan Wainscott’s Piano Tunner in the eighth for conditioner Hugh Robertson and came right back to the winner’s circle on Brereton Jones’ Midway Man in the finale for trainer Steve Asmussen.


Robert Kibbey, who headed up Arlington Park’s security department in 1994 and 1995, died at his home in Oldsmar, Fla., June 5 at the age of 76.

Mr. Kibbey also worked at Tampa Bay Downs, Saratoga Race Course and Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby week during his Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau career, begun in 1976, which began after retirement from the Michigan State Police.

Mr. Kibbey is survived by his wife Karen, two sons, two daughters and three stepchildren.

Joe Leone, a program manager at Arlington Park for over 60 years, died June 11 in his Zion home at the age of 92. An avid horseman, Mr. Leone founded Circle J. Stables and successfully bred and raced Thoroughbred horses and harness horses, including a starter in the 1942 Kentucky Derby.

Mr. Leone is survived by his wife Geraldine, a Trackside Waukegan mutuel teller, as well as two stepchildren and 11 step-grandchildren.

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