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Arlington Park

Arlington Park Barn Notes (5/3/08)

Contact: Graham Ross
graham.ross@arlingtonpark.com

In today's notes:

AGELESS EARLIE ADDS TO UNPRECEDENTED ARLINGTON WIN STREAK

There are many reasons why jockey Earlie Fires was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame at Saratoga in 2001, but the Chicago legend added one more during Friday’s 2008 opening day program at Arlington Park.

Fires, who visited Arlington’s winner’s circle for the first time 41 years ago, kept his unprecedented annual local win streak intact in Friday’s opening day feature – the $56,100 Double Delta Stakes – by riding Frank Calabrese’s Dreaming of Liz to a front-running score.

Born 61 years ago in Rivervale, Arkansas, the longtime resident of nearby Palatine, Illinois, boasts six Arlington riding titles – in 1966, 1969 (in a tie with Craig Perret), 1975, 1979, 1983 and 1984. He also has the distinction of being a meet’s leading rider in four different decades, including titles at Hawthorne, Hialeah, Calder, Keeneland, Churchill, Gulfstream and the old Miles Park in Louisville, Ky.

With Friday’s win at 61 years of age, Fires is believed to be the second oldest jockey to win a race in 2008 at any major North American race course.

Among his numerous career honors in addition to his induction in the Hall of Fame, Fires was the recipient of the George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award in 1991.

DEFENDING JOCKEY CHAMP DOUGLAS RIDES OPENING DAY TRIPLE

Defending Arlington jockey champion Rene Douglas continued his local winning ways in 2008 by riding a “hat trick” on Friday’s opening day program at Chicago’s northwestern Thoroughbred oval.

The 41-year-old native of Panama won Friday’s fifth astride Wesley Ward’s Subcultural Girl, came right back to the winner’s circle in the sixth aboard Robert Ryan’s Fabulous Babe and made it a riding triple by winning the ninth with Hugh Robertson’s Really Rob.

Douglas also ranks as the only jockey in Arlington Park history to win four straight riding titles, accomplishing the feat from 2001-2004.

Robertson, owner and trainer of Really Rob, was completing a training double for the day after also saddling Fabulous Babe.

PERENNIAL CHAMPS CALABRESE, CATALANO ALSO ON BOARD

Owner Frank Calabrese who has led Arlington Park’s owner standings in number of wins for the last eight seasons, and conditioner Wayne Catalano, Arlington’s trainer champion for six of the last eight years, registered their first wins of the current session when Dreaming of Liz captured the $56,100 Double Delta Stakes on Friday’s opening day program.

Dreaming of Liz, heroine of last fall’s Grade III Arlington-Washington Lassie, was visiting the winner’s circle for the first time since last fall’s 2-year-old filly fixture.

The Calabrese homebred is out of Silver Maiden, who won the 1997 Arlington-Washington Lassie for Calabrese and went on to tally in Belmont’s Grade I Frizette later that year.

CROWN ROYAL AMERICAN TURF WINNER A MID-AMERICA TRIPLE NOMINEE

Michael Cooper and Pamela Ziebarth’s Tizdejavu, who led every step of the way in Churchill’s Grade III Crown Royal American Turf Stakes on Kentucky Oaks Day, is one of 145 original nominees to Arlington Park’s Mid-America Triple Series in 2008.

The Mid-America Triple, like Friday’s grassy American Turf Stakes, is restricted to 3-year-olds and is scheduled to be run over Arlington’s world-famous turf course.

Arlington’s traditional turf series begins with the Arlington Classic May 24, continues with the Grade II American Derby on Million Preview Day July 12, and concludes with the Grade I Secretariat Stakes on Arlington Million Day Aug. 9.

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