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Horse slaughter in Illinois
|Arlington Park Barn Notes (8/14/08)
Contact: Graham Ross
In today's notes:
Veteran Illinois-based jockey Randy Meier, who surpassed the 4,000 career-win milestone on closing day of Arlington Park’s 2007 season, will return to his native Nebraska this weekend for ceremonies inducting him into the Nebraska Racing Hall of Fame.
“It’s kind of neat,” said Meier (whose son Brandon is Arlington’s leading apprentice rider this summer) when asked about the upcoming Nebraska recognition ceremonies. “My mother still lives there, and she’ll be coming to the ceremony along with Brandon and Emily (Meier’s daughter who serves as Arlington’s marketing coordinator). We’re all going to stay for a couple of days and return to Chicago on Tuesday.
“I told Brandon that he’d better stay behind (in Chicago) because he’s been riding some live horses lately,” said Meier, “but he told me: ‘Dad, they are only going to put you in the Hall of Fame once, and I don’t want to miss it.’ He’s pretty pumped up about the whole deal.”
Born in West Point, Nebraska, July 20, 1954, Meier rode with success in his native state for several years, came to Chicago to ride for the first time in the mid-1970s, but did not become a regular on the local circuit in 1981.
Since that time, Meier became Sportsman’s Park’s all-time leading in 2001 with more than 1,000 wins there, and is also the all-time leading rider at Hawthorne with more than 1,300 victories at that Southside oval. He began his current Arlington season in the top 10 among Arlington’s all-time leading reinsmen but has since been passed by Chris Emigh.
Prior to leaving Nebraska, Meier garnered a riding title at Lincoln in 1974-75.
Slated for Nebraska Racing Hall of Fame induction along with Meier during the ceremonies at Agricultural Park in Columbus are trainer David Anderson, owner Art Abbott, racing commission chairman Dennis Lee and multiple stakes winner Roman Zipper, who raced for eight years and won 31 of 127 starts.
National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame trainer Jack Van Berg, a native of Columbus, Nebraska, is expected to be on hand to introduce the newest inductees in the Cornhusker State’s Thoroughbred Hall of Fame.
Hall of Fame jockey Earlie Fires, 61, Arlington Park’s all-time leading rider who ascended into the ninth spot among North America’s all-time leaders earlier this summer, rode three winners on Wednesday’s eight-race Arlington program.
The longtime resident of nearby Palatine won the second half of Wednesday’s Daily Double aboard Frank Calabrese’s Bea Image, returned to the winner’s circle after the fourth with Richard Rudolph and Michael Vranich’s Timeless Miss, and completed his “hat trick” with Calabrese’s Chihulykee in the fifth race of the afternoon.
Fires, born in Rivervale, Arkansas, is currently ninth in this summer’s Arlington standings. Through Wednesday, he had registered 32 wins from 110 mounts for a 29 percent win ratio, with 15 seconds and 17 thirds to complete a 58 percent in-the-money ratio.
Defending Arlington Park trainer champion Wayne Catalano, well on his way to his fourth straight local title and seventh of the last nine years, saddled three winners on Wednesday’s eight-race program including both halves of the Daily Double.
After winning the opener with the promising juvenile Jose Adan, owned in partnership with his wife Renee, and ridden by leading Arlington apprentice jockey Brandon Meier, Catalano came right back to take the second half of the Double with Frank Calabrese’s Bea Image with Hall of Fame jockey Earlie Fires aboard.
The Calabrese-Catalano-Fires team returned to the winner’s circle in the fifth with Chihulykee, giving Catalano his training triple, owner Calabrese a double, and Fires his third winner of the afternoon.
Friday’s Miller Lite Party In The Park at Arlington Park will feature the classic rock group “The Fairlanes.”
First race and first song on Friday’s twilight racing program will begin at 2:30 pm.
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