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Arlington Park

Arlington Park Barn Notes (6/18/09)

Contact: Graham Ross

In today's notes:


America first fell in love with jockey Calvin Borel two years ago, when his infectious smile and gracious manner appeared on TV screens immediately after he won the Kentucky Derby aboard Street Sense – owned by longtime Barrington resident Jim Tafel.

This spring, Borel added to his personal appeal by upsetting the Kentucky Derby with a last-to-first run aboard longshot Mine That Bird – lighting up the tote board with a $103.20 win price based on a $2 wager and leaving Borel with another ear-to-ear grin.

Then, two weeks later, the Louisiana native had the temerity to get off the Derby winner to ride another horse (a female, no less) in the Preakness Stakes. Rachel Alexandra was her name, and she became the first filly to win the Preakness since 1924.

Now, Borel has been to the White House, been a guest on David Letterman – and Saturday he comes to Arlington Park for the first time this season in time to ride three horses that are part of Saturday’s six-stakes Prairie State Festival program.

Heading the six $100,000 stakes race restricted to horses registered in the Illinois program is the Black Tie Affair Handicap – with Borel named aboard the favored Gentleman Chester – owned by Nick Mamatas and John Kerber and trained by Ralph Nicks.

Gentleman Chester – a son of 2000 Arlington Million winner Chester House – is the defending champion in the Black Tie Affair after unseating Team Block’s three-time winner Fort Prado last year. However, Fort Prado, still going as an 8-year-old, is back to face Gentleman Chester once again.

Borel also is named to ride Two Bucks To Show LLC’s Cumulonimble in Saturday’s Purple Violet Stakes and Dale Wessels’ Where’s Winston in the Springfield Stakes – both races that are restricted to 3-year-olds.

Gentleman Chester, incidentally, won the 2007 Springfield Stakes as a sophomore.


Arlington Park enjoyed the highest Father’s Day attendance of any racetrack in the nation for four straight years in recent seasons, and one way to avoid last minute disappointment this weekend is by making reservations online before Sunday at 30 percent savings.

General admission to Arlington Park will be $10 at the gate Sunday, but Father’s Day admission is $7 when made online prior to Dad’s special afternoon. Father’s Day packages are selling out quickly, so guests planning an Arlington visit Sunday are encouraged to make their reservations early.

Every Sunday is Family Day at Arlington – with pony rides and a petting zoo offered as part of the regular entertainment in the Park Area – but this Sunday when the Junior Jockey Club meets for children under 12 they will make a Father’s Day craft as part of their activities as they learn about race horses and Arlington Park.

Also on Friday of Father’s Day weekend, the bands play on, first on the Miller Lite Band Stage Friday during “Miller Lite Party in the Park,” and later that evening at Trackside Arlington Park during “Party on the Patio.”

Featured in the Park Area during the race program Friday is the band “Brit Beat,” which covers the music of the Fab Four from 1962-1970.

“Party on the Patio” returns to Trackside Arlington Park Friday night with the music of the “Neverly Brothers” who perform many of the old Everly Brothers songs of the 1950s. That session begins right after the last race at about 7:15 pm.


There will be no “Taste of Summer” band in the Park Area this Saturday, but there will be a renewal of the “Prairie State Art Fair” that was so popular in its debut last year.

Held in conjunction with the Illinois-themed Prairie State Festival Day of racing, the Prairie State Art Fair will feature some of the finest artists from Illinois in a judged art show.

Local artists will compete for $5,000 in prize money and booths will be set up in the Park featuring items of all price ranges for sale from those artists both Saturday and Sunday.


Arlington Park line maker Joe Kristufek will conduct a “Learn to Win” Seminar Saturday – appearing at the West Kiosk between 2-3 pm and in the East Kiosk in the Park Area from 3:30-4:30 pm – to give fans the tools they need to be a successful bettor.

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