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|Arlington Park Barn Notes (6/4/08)
Contact: Graham Ross
In today's notes:
After spending an afternoon in the stewards’ stand, an afternoon with the placing judges, and a couple of mornings taking entries, you could say that Jana Kroutilikova is off to a flying start as an Arlington intern for the next six weeks.
That’s because the 27-year-old native of the former Czechoslovakia is one of 12 young people worldwide participating in the fifth class of “Darley Flying Start” – an innovative international management training program for the Thoroughbred industry.
Obviously, being accepted for Darley’s two-year program (founded by Dubai’s Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum) from among its several hundred annual applicants is an honor in itself. Kroutilikova is joined in Flying Start’s 2007-2009 dozen by four Americans (including two graduates of the University of Arizona’s Race Track Industry Program), three students from Ireland, two from Australia, one from New Zealand and one from Great Britain.
Appropriately, in recognition of her already impressive background despite the difficulties of her earliest years, Kroutilikova presented the trophy after the Your Ladyship Stakes Sunday.
She was born in Znojmo, a town in the Czech region of Moravia, during the time her land was still under the bondage of Communism, but her family’s small farm has fared much better since that government’s restrictions were lifted after Nov. 18, 1989.
“We board horses for other people, and we breed and race our own horses,” said Kroutilikova. “My Dad (Jaroslav) trains our horses, but he also trains for other people. I was raised on more of the horsemanship side of the business, but I used to exercise our horses, I did take a trainer’s course and I have saddled a winner. Also, I graduated from University of Vienna in 2006, and I have had the opportunity to work for Sir Michael Stoute in England (a trainer known in the United States for winning the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Turf with Pilsudski in 1996, Kalanisi in 2000, and the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf with Islington in 2003).
“Thoroughbred racing is not very developed in the Czech Republic right now,” said Kroutilikova. “However, the economy is improving and more people are getting richer – so we need to upgrade our racing facilities in order to attract new ownership. We need more owners.”
Nevertheless, Kroutilikova’s more immediate future will be on the world stage. When she graduates from Darley’s program at Great Britain’s Newmarket in early 2009, she will have spent significant time studying in Ireland, Great Britain, Australia and Dubai in addition to her time in the United States.
“This program has taken us to places I would never have dreamed of going to when I was growing up,” said Kroutilikova. “It has given me the opportunity to see all aspects of the business. We work with farriers, spend time with veterinarians, learn about farm management, and visit breeding sheds. The program encompasses a broad spectrum. It is very professional, and offers great advantages to people who have a real commitment to racing. For instance, Michael Dilger, who runs the Arlington-based string of trainer Todd Pletcher’s massive operation, is a graduate of the Darley Flying Start program.
“And as for coming to Arlington Park, it has been even better than I thought it would be,” concluded Kroutilikova. “The people here are very friendly, and they have been very helpful to me since my arrival. I am learning more and more every day.”
Leading rider Rene Douglas, Arlington Park’s defending jockey champion, increased his current win margin over his nearest pursuers to 22 victories by riding four winners Sunday.
Douglas won Sunday’s opener aboard Alex Campbell Jr. and Overbrook Farm’s Our Last Try, the sixth race on Denis Savard and Frank Mancari’s Drivingmaxandmitzi, the eighth aboard Charles Middleton III and David Kassen’s Boffo, and the ninth astride Russell L. Reineman Stable’s Last Gran Standing.
Arlington newcomer Junior Alvarado won Sunday’s second race on Dennis Stanek and Del Sol Farm’s Elegant Kitten and the fifth aboard Owen Rainwater’s Lahar.
Veteran jockey Eddie Perez captured Sunday’s fourth race aboard Wayne Bessler’s Dynamic Wayne and the finale on Equiforce Inc.’s First Movement.
The second “Breakfast At Arlington” program of the 2008 racing program will be held Saturday morning at Chicago’s northwestern oval, and a special Noon post time will also be in effect at Arlington in recognition of New York’s Belmont Stakes Day program, where Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Big Brown will attempt to become Thoroughbred racing’s first Triple Crown winner in 30 years.
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