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|Arlington Park Barn Notes (8/15/09)
Contact: Graham Ross
In today's notes:
For the first time in her long local conditioning career, trainer Christine Janks has not been a daily presence at Arlington this summer, but she was in town briefly Thursday and Friday long enough to witness her Carson Springs Farm’s 2-year-old In the Details win Friday’s final race of the day.
Prior to returning on a flight from Chicago to Gainesville, Florida, Saturday morning, Janks had time to update some of the reasons for infrequent Arlington presence this summer, where she has left her horses in the care of her longtime valued assistant trainer Rob Dobbs.
“You could say that this summer I’ve been the assistant to the assistant,” said Janks, who is likely to advance to the seventh spot on Arlington’s all-time leading trainer list before the end of the current meeting. “However, even when I was here seven days a week like in previous summers, I always said that the day Rob quits, I quit. He is an absolutely essential part of our entire operation.”
That operation also includes Carson Springs Farm in Gainesville, where she raises her foals, including her vast majority of Illinois-breds, keeping a close watch on their development from birth through their eventual graduation to the race track.
“We have a lot going on at the farm right now,” said Janks, “so I really need to be there now. Also, I’ve reached a time in my life where I want to be able to do some other things besides being at the barn every morning seven days a week.
“I’ve been taking flying lessons and now I have a private pilot’s license,” Janks said, “but now I’m learning to fly higher performance planes and I’m also taking lessons to qualify for my instrument rating. Ultimately, since I no longer have a home in Chicago, I’d like to be able to fly up to Arlington to see my horses a lot more in future seasons. I really miss my horses, but my life down at the farm has gotten a lot better, too.
“I’ve built an exotic wildlife sanctuary right on the farm,” said Janks, a lifelong animal lover who has been a longtime advocate of animal rescue operations as well as a fierce protector of endangered species.
“Right now on the farm we have three cougars, two bobcats, two servals (nocturnal African cats) and one giraffe,” said Janks. “All of them are rescues. We feed them properly and give them good care. Soon we will be adding two oryxes (any of several large African antelopes), two sitatungas (central African swamp-dwelling antelopes) and two cheetahs. They will not be rescues, but we intend to keep adding to our sanctuary whenever we can.
“Now, when I lie awake at night on the farm and listen to them, it’s like being back in South Africa,” said Janks. “I’m in heaven down there now.”
Veteran Arlington conditioner Ron Goodridge has always been able to do a lot with a small barn during his four-decade Arlington-based career and he proved it once again by saddling two winners on Friday’s twilight racing program.
“Yeah, it was a nice day,” said Goodridge during training hours Saturday morning. “That’s the first time I’ve won two races on the same day at Arlington this season. It was fun.”
Goodridge saddled Tim Cook’s Tough Jodi to win Friday’s third race with Brandon Meier aboard and returned to the winner’s circle after the fifth with John Bell’s Yep with Inez Karlsson in the saddle.
“We’ve cut back on (our) numbers a lot over the years from what we used to have, but we’re still looking for the next good horse,” said Goodridge, who is known primarily for saddling Bowline and Cohrs’ Brother Brown to win the 1994 Washington Park Handicap at Arlington Park.
“I’m 81 now, but we got to keep going,” said Goodridge. “It keeps us young. My wife loves to come out to the barn to help. She really enjoys it, and so do I.”
Jockey Carlos Silva, firmly ensconced in third position on Arlington’s all-time leading rider list, rode Tom and Judy Dorris’s Scrimp N Onthenews to victory in Friday’s first race to register the 3,498th win of his career.
“I know I’ll have to retire one day,” said Silva, 51, when reached by phone Saturday morning, “but it won’t be today. Right now I’m driving to Prairie Meadows to ride a horse (Asiel Stable’s Caruso) in the stakes race ($75,000 Prairie Meadows Sprint) there tonight.
“However, I’ll have to come right back to Chicago to ride in the first race tomorrow,” the Chilean-born reinsman added.
Silva is listed aboard Miller Racing Stable, Ltd.’s Storm Catch in Sunday’s opener, a maiden 4-year-old gelding who is 8-1 the morning line.
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