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Arlington Park

Arlington Park Barn Notes (6/29/08)

Contact: Graham Ross

In today's notes:


Alex and JoAnn Lieblong’s Telling, third beaten only a length in Arlington’s $54,200 Rossi Gold Stakes June 7, is set to try again in Friday’s Fourth of July weekend showcase race – Chicago’s 77th running of the Grade III Stars and Stripes Handicap.

Steve Hobby, trainer of Telling since the Lieblongs purchased the son of A. P. Indy from Darley last year, was not discouraged by the way Telling ran in the Rossi Gold, although he wishes the result had been more favorable.

“The (Rossi Gold) just didn’t set up that well for him,” said Hobby during training hours Sunday. “He just didn’t relax as much as we’d have liked. But we’re looking forward positively toward a better pace scenario this time. Everything is still a ‘go’ for Friday.”

The Stars and Stripes, run at the marathon 12-furlong distance, may or may not attract the Lieblongs – who own and operate their own plane – to fly up from their traditional family holiday weekend gathering near South Florida’s Marathon Key.

“We usually spend that time with our grandkids in the Keys,” said Alex Lieblong Sunday. “We’re going to wait and see how many horses we have in that day. We’re 50-50 to be there if we can sneak away and still get back down to Florida that evening.

“We don’t think Telling embarrassed himself at all in the Rossi Gold,” concluded the owner. “One thing we’ve learned is that in racing things don’t always go quite as planned.”


Defending Arlington Park jockey champion Rene Douglas won a quartet of races Saturday at Arlington – including a three quarter-length score astride Double Daimond’s Leah’s Secret in the Grade III Chicago Handicap.

Leah’s Secret, one of three horses trained by Todd Pletcher in Saturday’s extended sprint, was no disappointment as the 16-10 favorite of the fans, and was ending an 11-race losing streak in the $144,500 Chicago ‘Cap.

Michael Dilger, Pletcher’s Chicago-based assistant, was asked following the running if everything went according to plan.

“Not exactly,” Pletcher’s invaluable assistant quipped. “If everything went according to plan, our horses would have finished in a three-horse dead heat.”

Douglas, who has previously posted a five-win day this season at Arlington, was recording his second four-bagger at the current session. The Panamian won Saturday’s second astride She’sacartwheel, owned by Sy Sommer and Tom Swearingen; the third aboard Quick Notice, owned by Jan Nilsen and Butterfly Stable; and the finale on Proper Causeway, owned by Stoneway Farm.


With a riding double Saturday, jockey Jesse Campbell regained the runner-up spot in Arlington’s standings with 30 wins, three more than Eddie Razo, currently in third position.

Rene Douglas, the only jockey in Arlington history to win four successive local riding titles, is the runaway leader once again this summer with 60 wins, twice as many as Campbell.

Campbell, who grew up in nearby Lake Zurich, Illinois, visited the winner’s circle for the first time after Saturday’s seventh aboard Tom Gregerson’s Defiant Darling for trainer Tony Granitz, and came right back to pose for another win picture astride James Scatuorchio’s Attempted Humor following the eighth.

Ramsey Zimmerman, born and raised in Chicago, also posted two wins Saturday, beginning with Nelson Bunker Hunt’s Agastache in the fourth and completed with J. David Banks and Hondo Ranch’s Wagon Road in the sixth.

Zimmerman cracked the top 10 in the standings based on Saturday’s double.


Jockey E. T. Baird, son of the late Chicago legendary jockey Bobby Baird, won Friday’s first race astride Susan Fallon and Genevieve Rafael’s R True Lady.

Apprentice Brandon Meier, son of Hawthorne and Sportsman’s all-time leading jockey, the still-active Randy Meier, took the second half of Friday’s Daily Double aboard Russell Lawson and Versatile Thoroughbreds’ Miss Ruster.

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