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Arlington Park

Arlington Park Barn Notes (6/4/09)

Contact: Graham Ross

In today's notes:


Meagan Jamieson is 25 years old, pretty as her picture, and comes from “The Land Down Under” – where Thoroughbred racing is already an extremely popular social activity among young people.

Luckily, the Melbourne native is also this season’s Arlington intern from the sixth class of “Darley Flying Start” – the international management training program for the Thoroughbred industry that was founded by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Interestingly, Jamieson wants to concentrate on the marketing end of the industry when she graduates from the Flying Start program in July of 2010, and thankfully, she sees Arlington Park at the head of the class among American racecourses in its efforts to attract young people to her favorite sport.

“Back home, going to the races is kind of a popular thing for young people to do,” said Jamieson. “It gives us girls a chance to wear pretty dresses and socialize. It’s where we go to be seen, and the (Australian racing) season comes right after football but before cricket.

“I love Arlington’s ‘Party in the Park’ idea because it’s so popular and is obviously such a good way to attract young people to racing,” Jamieson said. “Arlington is a very well designed facility, and I also love the fact that it emphasizes turf racing like we have in Australia.”

Jamieson is one of 12 students selected from hundreds of applicants in the latest Darley class, joining three Americans, one Canadian girl, one German girl, two Irish boys, two English boys, one boy from Hong Kong and an Australian boy born in Hong Kong but raised in England.

Following her six-week stay at Arlington, Jamieson will rejoin her classmates in Kentucky in time to go to the July Fasig-Tipton Sale at Keeneland. In mid-August the group will journey to her native land for Australia’s Hunter Valley meeting and early next year they will all move on to the United Arab Emirates. That stay will include 2010’s Dubai World Cup Day when all those graded races will be contested at Meydan for the first time.

After Dubai, the class will return to Ireland (where last year it attended the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown and also visited The Curragh) and then make its second trip to Great Britain’s Newmarket facilities for graduation ceremonies.

“I started riding a pony when I was four years old but quickly graduated to Thoroughbreds,” said Jamieson when asked how she was originally attracted to horses. “I fell in love with racing when someone invited me to go to the Melbourne Cup one year and I realized how much fun it is because of how involved the public gets when it goes the races.

“Then, while I was still in school at Swinburne University I got a part-time job working for a Thoroughbred trainer and eventually became his stable foreman,” Jamieson said. “I realized I liked my part-time job better than what I was studying, and that led to a graduate degree in management studies at the University of Melbourne.

“I came across ‘Darley Flying Start’ on the Internet,” said Jamieson. “I applied for it, was accepted around Easter of last year, and figured it was a great excuse to celebrate so I got together with some friends of mine and headed down to attend a racing festival back home.

“It’s amazing – the things we get to study with so much depth in this program,” concluded Jamieson. “Hopefully, once I graduate from Flying Start I’ll be able to find a job where I can put all the things I’ve learned together and make a career of it.”


Start spreading the news! Chicago racing fans hungry for action this Saturday can come to the Northwest suburbs for “Breakfast at Arlington,” stay on for Arlington Park’s 12-race program and also watch and wager on the Belmont Stakes from New York.

Should this year’s Kentucky Derby hero Mine That Bird win Saturday’s Belmont Stakes, he would become the first horse to win both the first and third legs of the Triple Crown since Thunder Gulch in 1995, but two other Saturday appetizers from New York for Chicago racing fans will be Belmont’s Grade I Manhattan Handicap – almost always a major stepping stone to the Grade I Arlington Million nine weeks later – just as Saturday’s Grade I Just a Game Stakes from Belmont is for Arlington’s Grade I Beverly D.

In addition to Saturday’s “Breakfast at Arlington” program, set to run from 7:30 am to 9:30 am Central time while hosted by track announcer John G. Dooley and local trainer Liane Davis, breakfast guests can stay to watch and wager on the Belmont Park simulcast program which begins at 10:35 am local time.

Arlington’s own first race Saturday is scheduled for a special 12:15 pm post to accommodate the 12 live races slated for the day.

Other Arlington features this Saturday include the “Miller Lite Taste of Summer” program from the Park Area, featuring music by the rock band 7th Heaven, as well as “Learn to Win” Handicapping Seminar from Arlington hosted by morning-line maker Joe Kristufek.

Kristufek will be at the West Kiosk from 2 pm to 3 pm and follow that with an appearance at the East Kiosk from 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm.

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