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Arlington Park

Arlington Park Barn Notes (5/24/08)

Contact: Graham Ross

In today's notes:


Arlington Park’s perennial leading owner Frank Calabrese added to his numerous local milestones Friday by winning four races on the 10-race twilight program at the Chicago oval.

The familiar black and white silks of the Chicagoland icon first posed in the winner’s circle aboard Due East after Friday’s second race, came right back following the third astride Holiday Justice; appeared again following the sixth race aboard Kathy’s Escolha and returned again after the seventh on Manhasset Indian.

Two of Calabrese’s winners, Due East and Kathy’s Escolha, were trained by Rick Slomkowski, who was saddling his first two winners of the season.

Holiday Justice and Manhasset Indian are conditioned by Wayne Catalano, Arlington’s defending trainer champion.

Calabrese has led Arlington’s owner standings in number of wins since the track reopened in 2000 following a two-year hiatus, including a record-setting 74 wins set last year.

Catalano has led Arlington’s trainer standings in six of those seasons, including his record-setting 74 wins during 2007 with the Calabrese horses.

Slomkowsi, who is Catalano’s brother-in-law, is new to Arlington as a trainer of record this year, but has been training for about a year and a half and saddled 12 winners from 52 starters at Tampa Bay Downs earlier this year.


Arlington Park’s defending jockey champion Rene Douglas rode five winners on Friday’s 10-race program – becoming the first rider to accomplish that feat this summer.

Douglas won Friday’s opener aboard Jay Bligh’s Rylee River for trainer Todd Pletcher, took the second half of the Daily Double astride Frank Calabrese’s Due East for conditioner Rick Slomkowski, made it three in a row aboard Calabrese’s Holiday Justice for trainer Wayne Catalano, took the fifth with John Castro and Hugh Robertson’s Popsicle Toes for trainer Robertson, came right back in the sixth on Calabrese’s Kathy’s Escolha for Slomskowki again, and then the eighth with Calabrese’s Manhasset Indian to give Catalano his second winner.

Friday’s win quintet gave the Panama-born Douglas 29 wins at the meeting, 16 more than his nearest pursuer.


Apprentice Brandon Meier, who kicked off his fledgling jockey career by winning with his first two mounts, rode his fifth lifetime victory Friday to automatically lose three pounds off his original 10-pound apprentice allowance.

Meier, 19, is the son of veteran jockey Randy Meier, all-time leading jockey at Sportsman’s Park and Hawthorne on Chicago’s Southside.

Born in nearby Elk Grove Village, the younger Meier enters Saturday’s race day – his first full day as a seven-pound apprentice jockey – with a 50 percent win ratio after guiding Frank Calabrese’s Due East to the winner’s circle following the second half of Friday’s Daily Double.

The teenager’s five Arlington winners put him into a tie for 10th in the local standings with jockey Tim Thornton.


Veteran local conditioner Brian Williamson, initially off to a slow start this season at Arlington, saddled two winners Friday to jump start his own training record at the local session.

Williamson won Friday’s fourth with Nancy Vanier and Cartwright Thoroughbreds VI’s Revivalist, with Arlington’s 2006 jockey champion Chris Emigh in the irons; and returned to the winner’s circle in the eighth with Karen Sheak and Vickie Wilder’s Call Me Goer, with jockey Eddie Perez in the saddle.

A Chicago native, Williamson, 47, is the son-in-law of training legend Harvey Vanier, who is Arlington Park’s third-leading conditioner of all-time with 719 victories and seven training titles here.

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