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|Arlington Park Barn Notes (6/14/09)
Contact: Graham Ross
In today's notes:
State-of-the-art track maintenance equipment in use for less than two weeks on Arlington’s Polytrack course has already led to positive feedback from local horsemen.
“I haven’t heard any criticism at all,” said Tony Petrillo, Arlington’s vice president of facilities and operations. “So far, everyone seems to like it. Christine Janks told me that whatever we were doing to the track – keep doing it, and Chris Block said that his horses were running truer to form, and that their times were more like what he was looking for.
“We’re always looking for ways to upgrade,” said Petrillo, “so during the offseason we sent Javier Barajas (who oversaw the installation of Arlington’s Polytrack in 2007) up to Canada to check out some new equipment Woodbine was using for their Polytrack course. Irwin Drieger was their advisor up there, and he was instrumental in teaching Javier about it.
“What Javier found was that Woodbine was using some equipment that loosens up their track a lot in cold weather, and once the Polytrack people saw the use of it, they were quick to endorse it,” Petrillo said.
“In simple terms, when our tractors go over the surface after training hours in the morning and again after the races, what you might call the ‘teeth’ on the rollers they are dragging fluffs up the track, giving it more cushion underneath and allowing air to get into it,” Petrillo said. “It’s a little like watching how the bow of a boat cuts through water. It takes the tightness out of the track.
“Then, when the tractors go over the surface again with the ‘gallop master,’ it firms up the very top portion of the surface and evens it out once again,” said Petrillo. “We sent Ricky Malagon (Arlington’s new synthetic track superintendent) up to Canada, and he worked that surface for a couple of weeks before returning to Arlington.
“Now, if you go down to the rail and listen to sound of the horses going over the track during training hours in the morning,” Petrillo concluded, “it’s a lot quieter out there.”
Jockey Fernando Jara, who rode Shadwell Stable’s Jazil to victory in the 2006 Belmont Stakes and then underlined his talent with a win astride Shadwell’s Invasor in the 2006 Breeders’ Cup Classic, enjoyed a riding double Saturday on his first day as a member of the Arlington Park jockey colony.
The 21-year-old Panamanian reinsman visited the local winner’s circle for the first time aboard Suits Me Farm’s Fast Albert for trainer Jerry Hammond after Saturday’s third race and returned after the 10th on Glen Hill Farm’s My New Lady for conditioner Tom Proctor.
“I’ve only been in Chicago for three or four days now,” said Jara Sunday morning, “but so far I love it. I’ve ridden over Polytrack before at Keeneland and I like that, too. It’s more like riding on grass.”
Jara returned to the United States from his home about four hours away from Panama City after the birth of his son Ian a month ago.
Veteran Arlington jockey E. T. Baird, currently tied for second in the local standings with James Graham at 28 wins, also rode two winners Saturday, taking the opener on GPC Racing Stables’ Singandprayfurrhen for trainer John Good, and the eighth on Frank Calabrese’s Erdiston for conditioner Nick Canani.
Jockey Inez Karlsson won Saturday’s second race on Midwest Thoroughbreds’ Reine des Coeurs for trainer Hector Magana and the finale astride Loretta Clark’s P D Q Kiddo to give Magana a training double.
Veteran Illinois-based reinsman Eddie Perez combined with trainer Chris Block for a Saturday jockey-trainer double, taking the fifth with Team Block’s Lakeaway and the seventh with Lothenbach Stables’ Single Solution.
Among Saturday’s upcoming Prairie State Festival nominations breezing Sunday morning at Arlington were Team Block’s Black Tie Affair Handicap and White Oak Handicap nominee Amazing Results, who went a half in :47.20, as well as that same ownership’s Isaac Murphy nominee Secret Kin who went the four furlongs in :49.
Virginia Tarra Trust’s Apple Martini, a Lincoln Heritage Handicap nominee, also breezed a half-mile in :49.
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