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Arlington Park

Arlington Park Barn Notes (5/9/09)

Contact: Graham Ross

In today's notes:


He’s a 3-year-old son of Birdstone who ran in 135th Kentucky Derby earlier this month, and he’s presently under consideration for the 75th running of the Arlington Classic May 23.

No, not Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird – whose daddy is also Birdstone – but Summer Bird, who ran sixth in the May 2 Run for the Roses.

“It’s a possibility,” said Summer Bird’s trainer Tim Ice, speaking over the phone from Louisiana Downs Saturday morning when asked if Summer Bird was coming for the Classic – first leg of Arlington’s Mid-America Triple. “Nothing is definite at this time because we are also still looking at the Belmont (Stakes). The plan right now is to work the horse on the grass at Shreveport next Saturday and see how he handles it. Then we’ll decide on where we’re going next.”

The second leg of Arlington’s Mid-America Triple is the Grade II American Derby, slated for July 11, and the sophomore series concludes with the Grade I Secretariat Stakes on Arlington Million Day Aug. 8. For the first time this year, the Mid-America Triple is enhanced by a $500,000 bonus to any horse who sweeps the series.

Ice, 34, born in East Liverpool, Ohio, has been training for less than a year on his own but already includes a legitimate Kentucky Derby starter to his credit.

“It was good,” said Ice when asked about his initial Kentucky Derby experience. “It turned out to be everything it was supposed to be.”

Summer Bird, owned by Kalarikkal and Vilasini Jayaraman, was credited with a “good gain while seven wide” in the Derby’s chart footnote, but was third, beaten just over a length by Papa Clem and Old Fashioned in the Grade II Arkansas Derby.

“If I bring Summer Bird, I’ll probably also bring a filly I have named Affirmed Truth for the 1000 Guineas,” said Ice when speaking of the second running of Arlington’s American 1000 Guineas, also to be contested May 23. “She’s an Arkansas-bred who won the ($50,000) Rainbow Miss for me last winter at Oaklawn.”


Jockey James Graham was Friday’s riding star after posting three consecutive wins during the afternoon, but jockeys Chris Emigh and Quincy Hamilton both neared major milestones after riding two winners apiece on the same program.

Irish-born Graham, runner-up in the 2008 Arlington jockey standings and third-place finisher at Fair Grounds this past winter, captured Friday’s fourth race with Crowns Way Farm, Peter Stamas and Anthony Rallo’s Beleliu for trainer Neil Pessin, the fifth astride Alice Sparks’ Dana’s Bell for fellow Irish-born horseman John Good, and the sixth aboard Carson Springs Farm, Arbaway Farm and Letto Thoroughbreds Heart Luck Lady for Christine Janks to give that conditioner a training double.

Arlington’s 2006 jockey champion Chris Emigh is now 11 wins shy of the 3,000-Win milestone after guiding Carson Springs Farm and David Campbell’s Umbani to victory in the third race for Janks and Diamond Racing’s Ludmig to a win for Leo Gabriel Jr. in the finale.

Arlington newcomer Quincy Hamilton is now 10 wins shy of career win 1,000 after riding Robert Zoeliner’s Pray Tell to win the second half of the Daily Double for conditioner Donnie K. Von Hemel – and then gave that horseman a training double by winning the ninth with McNeill Stables Trojan War.

“Winning my first races here at Arlington today was a great feeling,” said Hamilton, “and naturally it’s even better to break through for my man Donnie Von Hemel because he’s given me so much support in my career.”

Interestingly, Hamilton, 25, a resident of Oklahoma City who grew up in the Houston area, began his career as a Quarter Horse jockey and is at career-win 999 for his combined Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred totals.

He is the son of well known Quarter Horse jockey John Hamilton.

“My father wanted me to ride Quarter Horses, but my preference was Thoroughbreds,” Hamilton said.

The rider has won two riding titles at Sam Houston Park and a third jockey championship at Remington Park.

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