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|Arlington Park Barn Notes (4/21/08)
Contact: David Zenner
In today's notes:
Longtime Arlington Park mainstay Steve Hobby was the first trainer to pass through the Gate 9 Stable Gate Monday morning as the track’s Barn Area officially opened for the 2008 racing season, which gets underway on Friday, May 2.
“It just kind of works out that way,” Hobby said of his second consecutive year of being first to arrive. “We need to vacate Oaklawn Park fairly quickly after their meet. Several other trainers headed this way sooner than me, but I always seem to be first to get here.”
Not far behind Hobby himself were three Creech vans containing 24 of Hobby’s expected 38 horses, the remainder of which are slated to arrive Tuesday. Hobby arrived from Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark. where the veteran trainer finished second in the standings to Steve Asmussen.
“It was the best meet I’ve ever had,” Hobby beamed of the Oaklawn stand as he was waiting for the gates to open Monday morning. “Let’s hope that lasts for the whole year and not just the one meet.”
In addition to the runners that Hobby will send to the post, one more familiar mane will be present in the Hobby barn – that of the now-retired millionaire Chindi, who acts as stable pony for the barn.
“He’s 13-years-old now but still as ornery as ever,” the veteran conditioner noted. “He’ll nip at you and will bite back if others try to bite him. We’ve tried to just turn him out and ‘paddock’ him but he still likes to be at the track.”
Before even all of Hobby’s 24 horses were bedded down in Barn 21, nine horses from Ocala, Fla., representing trainer Jim Gulick were being unloaded one barn over with more slated to arrive in the next few days, along with the trainer himself.
A few barns down the road, Mike Dini personally drove in a van with one horse, though several more of his arrived later this afternoon.
By mid-afternoon on Monday, more than 100 horses were on the grounds at Arlington Park. In addition to the above listed trainers, horses from the barns of national leading trainer in 2007 in races won Steve Asmussen were there, as well as those from Jim McMullen, Larry Rivelli, Lon Wiggins and Jerry Quinn.
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