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Arlington Park

Arlington Park Barn Notes (5/15/09)

Contact: Graham Ross

In today's notes:


Illinois-based jockey Inez Karlsson, quickly a Chicago sports celebrity in less than two years, has now developed an international following – a reality made evident by the Swedish television crew that has been shadowing her daily routine at Arlington Park in recent days.

Karlsson, 26, was Arlington’s leading apprentice jockey last summer, the leading rider at Hawthorne last winter and also runner-up for the 2008 Eclipse Award as the nation’s top apprentice. However, she is a native of Göteborg, Sweden, who emigrated originally to Canada to work with harness horses, but soon after came to the United States in pursuit of a career as a Thoroughbred jockey.

Word of her recent North American success quickly got back to her native land, and as a result, a television crew from TV 4 – Sweden’s largest television station with a signal that broadcasts throughout Scandinavia – was dispatched from Europe earlier this week to spend a few days filming Karlsson going about her business at Arlington Park.

While filming on the local grounds, the Swedish crew from the show entitled “Enough Talk” will also be preparing a brief segment on the upcoming Arlington Million Aug. 8 – Chicago’s showcase Thoroughbred race that annually attracts horses from all over the world.

“Inez was totally unknown back home until she returned briefly last winter and word of her accomplishments began to spread,” said Tony Ryttar, host of “Enough Talk” and also the producer of the show. “Then, there were suddenly a lot of journalists waiting for her, and she was the only person in (Thoroughbred) racing the big journals were writing about.

“In Sweden, harness racing is the big sport and accounts for 90 percent of the attention on horseracing,” said Ryttar, “but Inez – with her sudden success with Thoroughbreds – is becoming like a ‘Hollywood star’ story for us.

“She’s been great,” said Ryttar when asked his impressions of Karlsson. “She’s easy to talk to and very unspoiled. She says what she thinks, she’s very honest, and I think she’s very good for the sport. We interviewed Mr. (trainer Frank) Kirby (who names Karlsson on his many of his horses), and he’s obviously very proud of her. When we talked to him, it was like a father talking about his daughter.”

Prior to returning to Sweden, the TV 4 crew – which also includes cameraman Thomas Blomquist – will stop off in New Jersey at The Meadowlands to film a segment about a harness horse named Buck I St. Pat who is scheduled to go to Sweden shortly to compete in Stockholm’s Group I Elitloppet Stakes at the Sovalla Racecourse.

The Inez Karlsson piece, a seven-minute segment, should air in about three weeks.


Here come the Marines! Actually, the Marines have already arrived at Arlington Park with static displays of various vehicles already in place for the weekend locally in conjunction with Marine Week Chicago.

However, Sunday is the big day for the Marines at Arlington, when an eight-minute tactical aircraft exercise will take place in the infield featuring various helicopters as well as a state-of-the-art aircraft called the Osprey. The Osprey combines the tactical advantages of both a helicopter and an airplane.

In conjunction with Marine Week Chicago and Armed Forces Day Saturday, all active and retired military personnel will be offered free admission Saturday and Sunday at Arlington upon presentation of valid military identification.


Arlington’s 2006 jockey champion Chris Emigh enters Friday’s racing program nine wins away from the 3,000-career win milestone after riding Carson Springs Farm, Ken Meeker and Robert and Kelly Dobbs’ Let It Rain to victory in Thursday’s sixth race for current leading trainer Christine Janks.

Jockey Quincy Hamilton, new to the local colony this season, enters Friday’s racing program seven wins away from his 1,000th career win after scoring aboard Three Feathers’ Laguna Amiga for trainer Donnie K. Von Hemel on Thursday.


A special cooking segment, featuring Arlington entertainment reporter Alyssa Ali preparing crab cakes in conjunction with the Preakness Day theme, will be included as part of Saturday’s “Breakfast At Arlington” program that will run from 7:30 am-to 9:30 am.

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