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Arlington Park

Arlington Park Barn Notes (8/23/08)

Contact: Graham Ross

In today's notes:


Frank Calabrese, Wayne Catalano and Rene Douglas are far in front in defense their respective owner, trainer and jockey championships of last season at Arlington, but an exciting battle for leading apprentice honors this summer has been gaining momentum lately.

Brandon Meier, born in nearby Elk Grove Village and the son of one of Chicago’s all-time leading jockeys, remains the apprentice leader entering Saturday’s races, but Swedish-born youngster Inez Karlsson, a former boxer in her native land, remains within striking distance while only seven wins behind the local favorite.

Their developing duel was emphasized during Friday’s twilight racing program when the two young athletes were the only jockeys on the program to celebrate multiple-win days. Meier drew first blood when he won the third race of the day aboard William Tippett’s Willie To To, trained by Ron Goodridge. However, in next race Karlsson matched him tit-for-tat with a win astride Death Valley, owned by Robert Neumeyer and trained by Jimmy DiVito.

Responding to that rebuttal, Meier came right back to take the fifth with a win on Kathleen and Diane Miner and Pat Beauvais’ Seven Courses, conditioned by Mike Dini. Karlsson answered that after the eighth, when she guided Al Moorhouse’s Snapphok to the winner’s circle for trainer Jimmy Gulick.

Interestingly, it was aboard Death Valley that Karlsson broke her maiden last Sept. 12 at Arlington when the horse was trained by Chris Block.

Meier won the first race of his career this season on May 11 at Arlington aboard Frank Calabrese’s Houseboat. Since then, Meier has enjoyed success doing a significant portion of the riding for that dominant stable and would appear to have the edge in the battle for leading apprentice honors.

On July 9 this summer, perhaps significantly, Meier celebrated a two-win afternoon on the occasion of his 20th birthday – one of which was for Calabrese.

However, Karlsson – like any good fighter – was not to be taken lightly. On July 10, she became the first female jockey in Arlington Park history to win four races on a single program, lighting up the tote board with win payoffs of $62.60, $13, $31 and $8.20.

And once was not enough. On Aug. 15, Karlsson did it again – winning four races on a single program – which made her Arlington’s leading rider for the month of August at that time.

“She and Brandon are energizing the whole game here this summer,” said Karlsson’s British-born agent Penny Ffitch-Heyes last weekend. “That gets the occasional racing fans talking, and we need to get those kinds of fans out here more often.”

Meier and Karlsson are currently sixth and seventh respectively in the Arlington standings through Friday’s races.


Veteran jockey Richard Migliore, whose career began with a bang when he was named the Eclipse Award-winning apprentice rider of 1981, received an even greater honor this year when he was named as 2008’s George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award winner.

The award, voted on by jockeys, recognizes jockeys whose career and personal character reflect positively on themselves and the sport of Thoroughbred racing.

Migliore, 43, makes his first visit to Arlington in 2008 to ride Earle Macke’s Prince Woodman in Saturday’s featured $200,000 Arlington Sprint.


Hall of Fame jockey Earlie Fires, Arlington’s all-time leading rider, and Randy Meier, all-time leading reinsman at Hawthorne and Sportsman’s Park, head the list of nine members of Arlington’s jockey colony that will ride at Southern Illinois’ Fairmount Park this Tuesday for that oval’s six-stakes program.

Other local riders headed to Southern Illinois for that banner afternoon include Chris Emigh, Eddie Razo, Jesse Campbell, Inez Karlsson, Tim Thornton, Junior Alvarado and Uriel Lopez.


The beach comes to Arlington Park this Sunday when those on hand for Family Day will see artists create spectacular works of sand art during the afternoon in the Park Area.

Also on Sunday, now that school is starting for the youngsters, the first 300 members of Arlington Park’s Junior Jockey Club will receive a free Arlington Park lunch bag to help get them through the upcoming school year.

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