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Arlington Park

Arlington Park Barn Notes (5/1/08)

Contact: Graham Ross

In today's notes:


Thoroughbred racing fans are reminded that post time for the first race this Friday on Opening Day at Arlington Park will be at 2:30 p.m. with the first Miller Lite Party In The Park featuring live rock music by the band I.R.S.

Arlington’s Friday post times will remain at 2:30 p.m. – a half-hour earlier than in previous years – throughout the 96-day meeting which concludes on Sunday Sept. 21.

However Arlington Park’s gates will open early this Friday for simulcast racing from Churchill Downs that includes the Grade I Kentucky Oaks, sister race to Saturday’s Kentucky Derby.

This Saturday, Kentucky Derby Day, gates at Arlington will open at 9:30 am in advance of Arlington Park’s “World’s Largest Derby Party.” The day’s festivities at Chicago’s Northwestern oval will include a Kentucky Derby Glass Giveaway presented by Valvoline Instant Oil Change to the first 4,000 paid admissions, a bonus Miller Lite Derby T-Shirt giveaway, Kentucky Derby-themed beverages, and live music from the Kimi Hayes Band in the Park Area.

Saturday’s first live race on the Arlington Park card is at 1 p.m. and the local racing program is highlighted by the $100,000 James B. Tafel Illinois Owners Stakes.


Handicapper Jessica Pacheco, a veteran of two winter seasons as racing analyst at Fair Grounds in New Orleans, joins Arlington Park this year to fulfill the same role at Arlington Park.

Her new assignment as television paddock personality at Arlington teams her up once again with Arlington announcer John G. Dooley, entering his ninth season calling the races at Chicago’s premier Thoroughbred oval after manning the public address microphones at Fair Grounds for the last four years. The on-air duo hosted a morning show on HRTV last winter in New Orleans.

“This facility is awesome,” said Pacheco as she toured Arlington Park shortly before its opening day May 2. “I’ve never even been to Arlington before – even to visit – but it turns out that it’s everything I was told it was. I just love it here.

“I’ve never handicapped Polytrack on a regular basis before,” Pacheco said, “but I’ve been studying Polytrack and working on some theories about it. I’m anxious to see how they turn out. I’m also looking forward to working with John (Dooley) again,” she added. “People tell us we have a good on-air chemistry and I think we work together very well.”

Dooley is approaching their re-established partnership in an equally positive frame of mind.

“I think it will be a lot of fun for both Jessica and me to be partnered again at Arlington,” said Dooley. “We have so much enthusiasm about our positions and look forward to sharing that with fans across the country.”

While Pacheco and Dooley will keep the patrons abreast of all the racing news, entertainment reporter Lauren Massarella, now in her third year at Arlington, will keep guests apprized of all family activities including updates from the Park Area.


Defending Eclipse Award-winning trainer Todd Pletcher will be in the national spotlight once again Saturday at the Kentucky Derby when he saddles Monba and Cowboy Cal – first and second respectively in Keeneland’s Grade I Blue Grass Stakes.

However, another Pletcher-trained twosome will be active in Chicagoland Saturday in Arlington’s $50,000 Timeless Native Stakes, where Starlight Stable LLC, Donald Lucarelli and Paul Saylor’s Throng and WinStar Farm and Gulf Coast Farms’ Cowtown Cat are slated to start for the four-time Eclipse Award-winning conditioner.

Both those Kentucky-breds are familiar to Illinois racing fans.

Throng, who shipped in to Arlington Park mid-week from Belmont Park, finished second by a nose in last year’s Timeless Native and went on to win the $45,000 Dr. Fager later in the summer.

Cowtown Cat won last year’s Grade II Illinois Derby on the Southside of Chicago and ran in last year’s Kentucky Derby. The 4-year-old colt has never run competitively on Polytrack but trained very well over it at Keeneland when prepping for last year’s Run for the Roses.

Pletcher’s Chicago-based assistant Michael Dilger will saddle Throng and Cowtown Cat at Arlington Saturday.

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