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|Arlington Park Barn Notes (8/16/07)
Contact: Graham Ross
In today's notes:
Thoroughbred racing fans who give out Edward Evans’ Mini Sermon as their selection in Saturday’s Grade III Arlington Oaks may be preaching to the choir.
The sophomore filly, an aptly-named daughter of Pulpit out of the Storm Cat mare Ministorm, has won her last four in a row and looms the 9-5 morning line favorite for Arlington Park’s main event for 3-year-old fillies.
Also in her favor is the fact that she hails from the barn of conditioner Todd Pletcher – North America’s Eclipse Award-winning trainer of the last three years.
Named to ride Mini Sermon is Arlington’s leading rider Rene Douglas, the only jockey to ever win four straight riding championships at Chicago’s northwest suburban oval.
Arlington Park’s upcoming weekend events culminate Sunday when Arlington’s Pepsi Family Day, presented by the Daily Herald, includes three shows for the kids entitled “Arlington Andy Goes Back to School.”
Show times, all performed by “The Puppet Place,” will be at 1, 2 and 3 p.m., and between shows kids will have the chance to make horse hand puppets.
Arlington’s weekend festivities get underway Friday with Miller Lite Park in the Park at Arlington Park, which will feature the classic rock sounds of “Chicago Driveshaft.” First race and first song begin at 3 p.m.
On Saturday, the Miller Lite Summer Bash and BBQ, featuring a grilled Italian sausage as the food special, will attract guests to the Park Area, as well as a selection of great rock hits performed by “Heavy Matters.” First race and first song will be at 1 p.m.
Present-day tracking methods proving the popularity of the Arlington Million as Chicago’s Showcase Thoroughbred event include its highest ranking to date on Web site traffic.
Unique visitors to the site this year were recorded at 12,888 – up from an even figure of 10,000 visitors registered a year ago.
Total page views on Arlington Million Day Saturday were recorded at 183,565 – up from 171,120 page views on the day of the 2006 Grade I Arlington Million.
The official attendance at the silver anniversary edition of the Arlington Million was listed at 32,055 – the highest attendance posted for an Arlington Million Day program since the track reopened in 2000 following a two-season hiatus.
Arlington Park trainer Christine Janks moved to within two victories of the 1,500-career win milestone Wednesday when she saddled Allen Tanis’s Lord Vader to win the fifth race of the afternoon.
Defending Arlington Park jockey champion Chris Emigh rode the 4-year-old son of Devil His Due, who was breaking his maiden in his third career start.
Veteran Arlington Park jockey Randy Meier keeps inching closer to the 4,000-career victory mark – capturing career win 3,994 Wednesday.
Meier cruised to a front-running four and a quarter-length victory in Wednesday’s opening event on Simpson Enterprises Inc.’s Delightful Vice for trainer Patrick Mitchell.
In a post-race interview conducted by Arlington Park television’s Zoe Cadman, Meier was asked what trainer he hoped to be riding for when he reached his upcoming milestone.
“I guess my first choice would have been someone who’s not here anymore,” said Meier. “That would be Charlie Vinci (who died in June shortly after retiring from a long local training career). He was a great supporter of my career.
“I guess my next favorite would be Lara (Van Deren),” Meier said. “She has been a tremendous help to me this year.”
The Van Deren/Meier tandem has been successful four of nine times at the current session. Meier has 13 winners at the meeting through Wednesday.
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