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Arlington Park

Arlington Park Barn Notes (6/7/07)

Contact: Graham Ross

In today's notes:


Arlington Park will host the second edition of its new handicapping forum this Saturday in time to encompass Saturday’s Belmont Stakes Day.

The innovative forum, introduced at Arlington three weeks ago on Preakness Day, is slated to run from noon to 4 p.m. in Arlington Park’s Starting Gate Theatre.

Daily Herald handicapper Joe Kristufek – the man who has led all Chicago handicappers in dollars earned for the last seven seasons – will serve as the host of forum once again and will be assisted by Daily Racing Form’s Chicago handicapper Marcus Hersh.

In addition to their handicapping duties for their respective publications, Kristufek sets the odds for Arlington’s morning line each race day, while Hersh’s insightful DRF commentary is a “must read” for serious students of Thoroughbred racing throughout the nation.

Kristufek uses the phrase “Arlington Interactive” to describe the nature of the forum, emphasizing that he wants guests of the seminar to be participatory in the exercise.

“We want their questions – and their own opinions – to be part of the forum,” Kristufek said. “However, we also want to offer insights into how insiders – the so-called ‘experts’ – approach each race in real-time fashion, and how they play these races. That involves analyzing the constantly changing odds and the opportunities available in the exotic wagering as each race’s post time draws near.”

Saturday’s handicapping forum, which will touch on the Belmont Stakes in addition to Arlington Park’s live racing program, will also be available on Arlington’s closed-circuit television system over Arlington’s Channel 4 – the track’s handicapping information channel.

In the Park Area at Arlington Park Saturday during the Summer Bash & BBQ, the food special will be a foot-long Polish sausage from the grill while ‘60s and ‘70s music will be provided by the band “The Chuckleheads” with first race and first song beginning at 1 p.m.


Nationally prominent conditioner Todd Pletcher, with a division of his stable on the Arlington Park grounds for the first time this season, won two races Sunday to move into second place in Arlington’s trainer standings entering Thursday’s racing program.

Wertheimer and Frère’s Tiganello, trained by Pletcher, came from off the pace to capture Sunday’s $46,650 Mister Gus Stakes by a length, and two races later Stonestreet Stable LLC’s Pletcher-trained Wild Union used the same tactics to capture Sunday’s eighth event by a neck.

Pletcher has won the Eclipse Award as North America’s top trainer for the last three years straight.


Jockey E. T. Baird rode two winners Sunday to move into a tie for fourth in the Arlington Park jockey standings entering Thursday’s program, while also moving him into a tie for first among local riders with the highest win percentage.

The Sunday double gave Baird 15 winners at the session, moving him into a tie with Israel Ocampo for fourth in the standings, while his win percentage was established at a 25 percent success ratio to bring him on even terms with leading rider Rene Douglas.

Baird’s first Sunday winner came astride Jennie R. owned by Gerald and Sam Belpedio, William Lloyd and Cherrywood Racing Stable II and trained by Michele Boyce in the afternoon’s fourth race; and his second came aboard Frank Calabrese’s Ego’s Appeal, trained by Wayne Catalano, in Sunday’s finale.


It’s a new wrinkle for guests at Arlington Park this season, but alternate finish lines with their sometimes shorter stretch runs have been in vogue for many years at other Midwestern tracks such as Keeneland, Fair Grounds and Oaklawn Park.

It may take some time for Chicago racing fans to become accustomed to those races when they are scheduled, but the local jockeys are obviously not allowed that luxury.

Out of the 202 races run at Arlington Park so far this season through Sunday, 23 have employed the alternate finish line, and so far, no one in the local riding colony has glaringly misjudged the early finish line when it was in use.

However, Chicago racing fans should learn to remember that all mile and a sixteenth races over Arlington’s new Polytrack course employ the early finish line, and that fact is noted in the Daily Racing Guide in the race heading.

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