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|Arlington Park Barn Notes (5/31/09)
Contact: Graham Ross
In today's notes:
During Arlington’s champagne-toasted winner’s circle ceremonies celebrating jockey Chris Emigh’s 3,000th career win Saturday, the Illinois-based reinsman was quick to note the appropriate name of his milestone-marking Thoroughbred – the Frank Kirby-trained Thanks Lord, owned by John Reinhart.
On Sunday morning, when reflecting on Saturday’s achievement, Arlington’s leading rider in 2006 added others to the list of those he wished to thank.
“It was really more of a group effort,” said Emigh. “Not only my agent Jay Fedor, my wife Kim and all the trainers who thankfully put me on their horses, but also the grooms of those horses, and the valets who have worked for me throughout my career. It’s a whole team of people who should share the credit.
“Obviously, I’m glad I did it in Chicago,” said the 38-year-old Elburn, Illinois, resident, “because of all those 3,000 wins, I would say that well over 2,000 of them have come right here and the fans here have always been very supportive of my career.
“It took me 20 years to get to this point,” Emigh noted, “but now it’s time to start building toward the next 1,000. Maybe if I get to ride another six or seven years, I can get another 1,500 or so. More immediately, of course, I have to focus on the next win.”
Interestingly, Emigh achieved the 1,000-career win milestone locally on Arlington Million Day in 1997 and recalled an amusing aftermath from that afternoon.
“I put the 1,000-win sign in the back of my truck that night to take it home,” Emigh said, “but on the way home driving down Route 53 it blew out of the back of my truck. Obviously, in all that traffic, I couldn’t stop and go back and get it, so I never saw it again.”
Coincidentally, jockey Robby Albarado, Arlington’s 1996 jockey champion, reached the 4,000-career win milestone on Saturday at Churchill Downs. It was Albarado who originally advised Emigh to come to Chicago to pursue his career.
The 20th anniversary edition of the Arlington’s Grade I Beverly D. Stakes is less than 10 weeks away on Aug. 8, but on May 30 two of the original nominations to the sister race of the Grade I Arlington Million won in graded stakes company in two different countries.
In California, 2009 Beverly D. nominee Magical Fantasy, owned by Bienstock, Mandabach and Winner, rallied in the late stages of Hollywood Park’s Grade I Gamely Stakes to be best by a neck at the wire. The 4-year-old daughter of Diesis captured Santa Anita’s Grade II Santa Barbara Handicap at previous asking April 18.
Three Chimney Racing’s Diamond Diva, the Gamely favorite and another Beverly D. nominee, finished third, beaten a neck and a nose in Saturday’s West coast turf test. That British-bred 5-year-old mare, runner-up in the 2008 Gamely, captured Hollywood’s Grade II CashCall Mile last summer.
Fourth in Saturday’s Gamely was 2009 Beverly D. nominee Black Mamba, bred in New Zealand and owned by Doubledown Stables. Black Mamba also finished second by a nose to Magical Fantasy in last month’s Santa Barbara.
Ron Beegle’s Lemon Chiffon and Johanna Louise Glen-Teven’s Toque de Queda, fifth and sixth respectively in the Gamely while heads apart, are also original nominations for this summer’s Beverly D.
Earlier Saturday afternoon, over Canada’s turf course at Woodbine, 2009 Beverly D. nominee Rutherienne, owned by Virginia Kraft Payson, justified her odds-on favoritism with a three-length victory in Saturday’s Nassau Stakes for fillies and mares.
French-born trainer Christophe Clement, who won last summer’s Beverly D. with French-bred Mauralakana, owned by Robert Scarborough, and the previous year’s renewal with German-bred Royal Highness, owned by Monceaux Stable, is also the conditioner of Rutherienne.
Runner-up in Saturday’s Nassau Stakes was the Irish-bred Callwood Dancer, owned by Three Chimneys Racing and Harlequin Ranches. That 5-year-old Danehill Dancer mare is also an original nominee to the 2009 Beverly D.
In other developments concerning Arlington’s upcoming international grass test for members of the distaff set, Darley Stable’s Criticism and Brushwood Stable’s Mushka finished first and second respectively in Belmont Park’s Grade II Sheepshead Bay Stakes on May 23. Both of those are original nominations to this summer’s Beverly D.
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