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Arlington Park

Arlington Park Barn Notes (6/14/08)

Contact: Graham Ross

In today's notes:


Thoroughbred racing dreams increasingly begin in Illinois – especially since the inception of the Arlington Park’s Prairie State Festival nine years ago.

Palos Hills residents Pat Orr and Linda Bellamy – mother and daughter respectively – have been Illinois-based owners and breeders for less than a decade but qualify as prime examples of how much fun the state-bred program can be. They plan to run their gray 3-year-old colt Wild Expectations, trained by Kenny Spraggins, in the $100,000 Springfield Stakes next Saturday. The Springfield, for sophomores at one mile, is one of six stakes restricted to horses in the Illinois program that make up Arlington’s one-day Prairie State Festival June 21.

How did this mother and daughter tandem get in the business of Thoroughbred racing?

“I was just a casual horseplayer who won a state-wide off track betting parlor regional contest at the Crestwood OTB,” said Pat Orr. “My daughter Linda was more into handicapping than I was, but after I qualified for the finals of that contest on Aug. 30, 1997 at Arlington, an interviewer asked me what I’d do if I won the grand prize of $10,000. I said I’d probably buy a race horse.

“Well, I did win the finals,” Orr said, “and I did buy a race horse. His name was Etched, and he earned $56,000 in his career. That’s how I got started. Then, I heard about a man who had a filly by Wolf Power he wanted to give away – all I had to do was haul her up from Kentucky – so I took her in and she became a broodmare for me.

“Her name was Winning Wolf,” said Orr, “and I bred her to the Illinois stallion Wild Wonder, who is a son of Wild Again (winner of the inaugural Breeders’ Cup Classic in 1984.) That’s how we ended up with Wild Expectations. My daughter is the one that should get the credit for naming him.”

How did Orr and Bellamy end up with Kenny Spraggins as their trainer?

“We operate a boarding facility in Palos Hills called Rustic Woods Stable,” said Orr. “Kenny’s brother has boarded horses with us in the past. He’s the one who originally put us in touch with Kenny several years ago, and since then we’ve become very good friends. Kenny is a very good horseman and we’ve enjoyed our association with him for some time now.”

Asked about a run in the Springfield for Wild Expectations, Spraggins confirmed the colt’s likely participation. “We’re looking to go in there,” the trainer said after saddling Orr and Bellamy’s Magical Kiss in Friday’s final race.

Wild Expectations, incidentally, has made one start in his career, finishing second by less than four lengths May 22 at Arlington despite being boxed in during his run. He was clearly best of the others in the field, finishing a length and a half to the good of the third-place finisher.

“Wild Expectations had some trouble in that race,” said Orr, “but we’re looking for better things in the Springfield.”


Triple C Thoroughbreds’ Royal Leah, defending champion in the Prairie State Festival’s upcoming $100,000 Lincoln Heritage Handicap, breezed five furlongs in :59.80 for trainer Mike Stidham Saturday in preparation for her defense of that championship next Saturday.

Virginia H. Tarra Trust’s Apple Martini, one of 20 other nominations to that same 1 1/16-miles grass test for fillies and mares, breezed that same distance in 1:00.60 Saturday morning for trainer Chris Block.

Team Block’s Amazing Results, nominated to the $100,000 Springfield Stakes, breezed five-eighths in 1:00.40 Saturday morning for Block.


For the second straight racing day, Arlington Park’s defending jockey champion Rene Douglas rode three winners on a single program.

On Friday, Douglas visited the winner’s circle after the second aboard Joseph Novogratz’s The Wrecker for trainer McLean Robertson, again after the fifth on Sassafras Racing’s Ready For May for trainer John Booker Jr.; and for a third time after the eighth astride Frank Calabrese’s Kathy’s Escolha for trainer Rick Slomkowski.

Arlington’s 2006 jockey champion Chris Emigh won two races Friday, leading every step of the way on Vegso Racing Stable’s Happiness Is in the seventh and using those same front-running tactics aboard William Stiritz’s Ella M in the finale.

Jockey Tim Thornton won Friday’s third with Flying I Ranch LLC and Millard R. Seldin Revocable Trust’s Lacer, and the sixth with Gumpster Stable LLC’s Clearly Cryptic.

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