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Horse slaughter in Illinois
|Arlington Park Barn Notes (6/20/08)
Contact: Graham Ross
In today's notes:
On the eve of Arlington Park’s ninth Prairie State Festival, Illinois-based trainers Christine Janks and Chris Block offered some general assessments of their chances in Saturday’s six-stakes series restricted to horses registered in the Illinois program.
Christine Janks, who has saddled more than 1,500 winners in her career, has rung up three incredible Prairie State Festival performances over the last three years by saddling two winners of the six stakes each year.
“It’s hard to tell how the horses will run because it always depends on how each race sets up,” said Janks of her chances Saturday. “However, I keep thinking Mighty Rule will run well (in the White Oak Handicap) – and High Expectations (winner of the last two White Oak renewals) always seems to run well in this race. Sun For Fun (Purple Violet) has been training real well lately, and Pretty Jenny has also been doing well but doesn’t seem to run quite as well on the Polytrack.”
Janks, who got off to a slow start this season at Arlington, has picked up the pace lately. She had a training double Wednesday and saddled another winner Thursday.
“I’ve been telling people this week that I’m hoping things are beginning to turn around at the right time,” said Janks, who finished sixth in the 2007 Arlington trainer standings.
Chris Block, who finished second in Arlington’s overall trainer standings last year and is far in front of the Prairie State Festival’s all-time leaders, is looking forward to Saturday and some good performances by his horses.
“This (Prairie State Festival) is why we breed our horses in Illinois,” said Block in advance of Saturday’s $100,000 stakes sextet.
Team Block’s Fort Prado will be attempting his fourth straight score in the Black Tie Affair Handicap after unfortunate recent racing luck.
“He’s had some rough trips lately – especially the last two,” said Block of Fort Prado. “In those last two races he’s never even had a chance to stretch his legs, but he continues to train well and we hope for better racing luck Saturday.
“Secret Kin (Isaac Murphy Handicap) has been doing real well and I think she’ll run well,” said Block. “Holy Thursday (White Oak Handicap) is a one-run sprinter coming from off the pace and my concern is there may not be enough speed in this race, and as for Apple Martini (Purple Violet) – she has been running well but the cut back in distance and to one turn might not be the same for her. As for Amazing Results, my concern is that he might not like the Polytrack the way he likes the grass. But, as always, we’re hoping for the best Saturday.”
The father-and-son jockey tandem of veteran Randy Meier and his apprentice son Brandon combined for four winners on Wednesday’s eight-race program.
It was the first time in their dual careers that both father and son rode winners on the same program, but the younger Meier, who began his career this season at Arlington, also established a new personal standard by scoring his first riding “hat trick” Wednesday.
Randy Meier, 53, is Chicago’s all-time leading rider at both Hawthorne Race Course and Sportman’s Park. The Nebraska native but long-time Chicagoland resident scored an upset in Wednesday’s 6th race with a $41.80 win payoff aboard Craig Swenson’s Afleet Devil for trainer Terry Young.
Brandon Meier, 19, bracketed the afternoon with an upset win on Flying I Ranch and Millard Seldin Revocable Trust’s Ain’t a Saint ($35.80) for trainer Charlie Livesay in the opener and took the finale with Ricardo Quinones’ Socart’smyname ($11) for Charlie Bettis.
However, the youngster added meat to that sandwich with a win aboard Charles Middleton III and David Kassen’s Boffo in the seventh race of the afternoon in the race immediately after his father visited the winner’s circle. Boffo returned a $22.20 straight payoff.
Arlington Park adds a second High-5 wager to its Saturday wagering menu beginning this weekend on Prairie State Festival Day.
The $1 High-5 wager, introduced locally at the start of the Arlington Park season May 2, requires a bettor to correctly select the top five official finishers in order. If no one correctly selects the top five official finishers in order, the entire net pool is carried over the next scheduled High-5 race.
The wager will be offered on races seven and 11 on 11-race cards and on races eight and 12 on 12-race programs.
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