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|Arlington Park Barn Notes (9/12/08)
Contact: Graham Ross
In today's notes:
Churchill Downs television paddock hostess Jill Byrne was faced with something of a conundrum when her husband Pat’s trainee Investor first appeared in the Twin Spires paddock in advance of his career debut July 5.
“I’m supposed to be an impartial observer,” said Mrs. Byrne over the phone Friday morning when recalling that day, “but with 2-year-olds making their first starts there’s just not that much to say. So you have to talk about how the horses look in the paddock and which ones look nervous. I looked over at Pat’s horse and he wasn’t nervous at all – and quite frankly he was also the best looking horse in the paddock. You look for little quirks with the young horses, but this horse’s quirks are that he has no quirks.”
Speaking from the Louisville airport as the Byrnes awaited their flight to Chicago for Investor’s start in Saturday’s Grade III Arlington-Washington Futurity, she handed her cell phone to her husband.
“She’s right, you know,” said Pat Byrne of Investor, who broke his maiden over Arlington’s Polytrack Aug. 3. “He has no quirks and we hope he’s a good one. I can’t see him running a bad race in the Futurity, but with 14 horses and the outside post, you never know.
“Naturally, I’m really looking forward to seeing how he runs Saturday,” Byrne added. “Emler Neuman (who races in the name of Stonetower Stable) bred this horse, and he selects two names for each of the horses he breeds – one good and one bad – before he sends one of the names in to be registered. Investor was the good name for this horse, but Mr. Neuman waited until I breezed him a couple of times before he sent it in.”
What was the bad name?
“I really never found that out,” said Byrne. “We never got around to that.”
Interestingly, Stonetower Stable was originally called Xalapa Farm, and it was on that central Kentucky property that the horse farm scenes for the movie “Seabiscuit” were filmed.
Veteran jockey Alex Solis, increasingly on the cusp of Hall of Fame induction following a brilliant riding career in Southern California, will fly to Chicago to ride In His Favor Stable’s His Greatness in Saturday’s Grade III Arlington-Washington Futurity.
Why would a jockey with such credentials come such a long way to ride a horse who broke his maiden at first asking on Arlington Million Day Aug. 9, but has done nothing else.
“Alex and I go way back,” said trainer Marco Salazar, “We knew each other long before either of us left Panama. When I told him I had a 2-year-old that I liked a lot, he didn’t mind coming in to ride him for me in the Futurity.”
Although a native of Panama, Salazar, 57, has lived in nearby Rolling Meadows for about two decades, and finished second in the trainer standings at Sportsman’s Park and Hawthorne twice in the early ‘90s.
“This horse had a lot of trouble in that first start,” said Salazar. “He got boxed in, and he bled, but he was able to overcome all that and still win the race. He seems like the real deal to me. He’s done everything I’ve asked of him. He gave me a bullet work (half-mile in :46.20) last Tuesday. He is very impressive. Naturally, he’ll run on Lasix Saturday.
“We bought His Greatness at the Keeneland September sale last year,” said Salazar. “Michael Kostich and those people that helped us select this horse are all very religious people. That’s how Mike came up with In His Favor Stable (as his nom-de-course) and that’s also how the horse got the name His Greatness.”
German-bred Caprice, owned by NP Bloodstock, looms the solid 8-5 morning line choice in Saturday’s $50,000 Claire Marine Stakes, the undercard feature on Arlington-Washington Futurity Day.
The Claire Marine, named in honor of the 1989 Beverly D. winner, is restricted to fillies and mares and will be run at 12 furlongs over Arlington’s world-famous turf course.
Trained by British-born Graham Motion with Arlington’s champion jockey Rene Douglas slated for the tack, Caprice has finished third in both of her American starts after an extensive earlier career in France and Germany.
Jer-Mar Stable’s Angel Smoke, trained by Hugh Robertson and to be ridden by Diego Sanchez, is the 9-2 second choice in the Claire Marine after winning Canterbury’s $50,000 Dean Kutz Memorial Stakes in her last start Sept. 1.
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