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Arlington Park Barn Notes (6/23/06)

Contact: Graham Ross

In today's notes:


Lord of the Game, the 2 Blondes Inc. gelding who was the hero of last year’s Grade III Hanshin Cup at Arlington Park, is due to arrive back at Arlington Saturday following tendon surgery at the University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center earlier this week.

The center for veterinary medicine has been prominent in the news lately as the facility where lifesaving surgery on Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro was performed a month ago following career-ending injuries in the Preakness.

Trainer Tommy Tomillo described Lord of the Game’s latest tendon surgery as similar to the procedure performed on Prestonwood Farm and Wall Street Stable’s Da Hoss between his two Grade I Breeders’ Cup Mile victories in 1996 and 1998.

“He (Lord of the Game) was carrying a lot of heat in that leg,” said Tomillo Friday during training hours, “and the procedure they did was designed to relieve that. He came out of the surgery good and he’s due back at my barn tomorrow.”

Following his 2005 Hanshin tally, Lord of the Game won the Grade II Cornhusker Breeders’ Cup Handicap at Prairie Meadows July 2 and was beaten a head when second in the Grade II Hawthorne Gold Cup Sept. 24 before injuring himself in Keeneland’s Grade III Fayette Stakes Oct. 29.

The son of Saint Ballado was given time off after the Fayette and was being prepared for a start in Gulfstream’s Grade I Donn Handicap Feb. 4, but was withdrawn from consideration when his injury did not respond to conventional treatment.

Tomillo, currently second in the Arlington Park trainer standings with 16 winners, two less than leader Wayne Catalano, is recovering from major surgery of his own after having one leg amputated less than two months ago following complications from diabetes.


Veteran Arlington Park jockey Shane Laviolette rode the 1,500th winner of his career Thursday aboard Craig Noser’s Stormy o’Bryan for conditioner Eddie Essenpreis, but in addition to mentioning Essenpreis and other horsemen for riding him on their horses, Laviolette offered special thanks to trainer Tommy Tomillo, who he credited for giving him his major career boost on the Chicago circuit.

“Tommy Tomillo brought me to Chicago,” Laviolette told Arlington television’s Zoe Cadman in winner’s circle ceremonies after reaching 1,500, “and the majority of my wins have been for him, so I have to give him special thanks.”

Tomillo was quick to return praise to Laviolette, 32, a native of New Orleans.

“Shane has always ridden hard for me and he always will,” said Tomillo. “He should’ve won a lot more races in his career with the talent he has, and he always keeps himself fit, so he should have no trouble reaching 3,000 wins.”


Arlington Park’s leading rider Chris Emigh, diagnosed with a “mild concussion” after a fall in Wednesday’s third race, was released from Northwest Community Hospital Thursday morning but the status for his return to competition remains uncertain.

The 35-year-old Chicagoland resident, in pursuit of his first riding title at Arlington Park after numerous championships elsewhere on the Illinois circuit, had been tentatively listed astride six mounts Friday but has been taken off those assignments.

Emigh has ridden 56 winners at the current session through Thursday’s program, 20 more than his nearest pursuer.


Veteran reinsman Francisco Torres, easily the runner-up in the current Arlington Park jockey standings, distanced himself 16 winners in front of his nearest pursuers with a riding triple on Thursday’s program.

Torres began his “hat trick” with Susan and Walter Kotzman’s King Cielo in the second half of the Daily Double for trainer Jan Ely, returned to the winner’s circle after the fifth on Frank Calabrese’s Bachelor’s Gulch for leading trainer Wayne Catalano, and concluded his winning afternoon aboard J. Denker and S. D. Brilie, Ltd. Partnership’s Yankee Reign for trainer Christine Janks in Thursday’s seventh race.

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