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|Arlington Park Barn Notes (8/16/09)
Contact: Graham Ross
In today's notes:
Hockey Hall of Famer Denis Savard is famous for once urging his Chicago Blackhawks team to “commit to the Indian” – a reference to the iconic Blackhawks logo.
Now, the former Blackhawks player and coach has continued his ongoing commitment to the Chicago community by honoring locally based superstar jockey Rene Douglas, who suffered serious injuries earlier this season at Arlington.
Our Douglas, a 2-year-old Stormy Atlantic colt owned by Savard, Michael Pacella and Carol Burkhart, will make his career debut in Sunday’s seventh race at Arlington, renamed recently in honor of Arlington’s six-time jockey champion.
“Rene’s a good friend and he’s going through a lot right now,” said Savard on Friday, speaking over the phone from San Diego. “I visit him frequently in the hospital, and I asked his permission to rename this colt. I used the ‘Our’ as part of the colt’s name because Rene belongs to all of us.
“I’ve raced other horses – like Drivingmaxandmitzi – but this is the first baby I’ve ever bought (from a Keeneland yearling sale),” said Savard, who was to have a private dinner Friday night with Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith and fellow West coast riding star Alex Solis.
Savard, incidentally, had earned the private dinner as the top bidder for that prize in last month’s Rene Douglas Charity Golf Outing.
“The day Rene had his accident, he had worked this colt out of the gate for the first time earlier that morning,” Savard said. “When he came back after the work, Rene told me, ‘I like this colt. You can really have some fun with this one.’
“Rene’s spirit remains pretty good most days,” said Savard. “He’s a very upbeat person and that’s going to help him get through this. Of course, Rene would have ridden this colt if he hadn’t had his accident, and now Rene’s good friend Eddie Razo will ride him.”
Chilean-born jockey Carlos Silva sat chilly in the saddle during the early going of Friday’s third race at Arlington, but the 53-year-old native of Santiago moved Ben Barnow’s Iris Germanica up boldly along the rail approaching the stretch and then came outside the leader to wear down that rival and give Silva the 3,500th win of his North American career as a jockey.
“She came from off the pace, moved up along the fence and then ran a very good race in the stretch,” said Silva, “and I’m looking forward to riding her back when she goes two turns.”
In the meantime, Silva is listed for his next mount aboard Miller Racing Stable’s Ashtonofun for trainer Danny Miller in Sunday’s fifth race.
“I’ve now won on the last three horses I’ve ridden at Arlington,” noted Silva Saturday morning, “and I’m looking forward to keeping that streak going.”
Silva, third on Arlington’s all-time leading rider list, reached the 3,500 milestone aboard a horse conditioned by Arlington’s all-time leading trainer Richard Hazelton.
“Yesterday was a good day,” Silva said Saturday. “My family was there along with the jockeys to get in the picture with me, but what made it extra special was that Richard got in the picture as well. I’ve never known him to get in a win picture before, even when I’ve won a stakes race for him. I didn’t ask him to do it for me. He did it on his own, and I really appreciated that.”
Irish-born jockey James Graham rode both halves of Friday’s Daily Double to briefly share leading rider honors at Arlington with Junior Alvarado, but the Venezuelan-born Alvarado responded with a double of his own with back-to-back wins in the eighth and ninth races to regain his two-win lead at the end of the twilight racing program.
Conditioner Jimmy DiVito used exactly the opposite strategy to record his training double, “book-ending” the program by saddling Mike Pietrangelo’s Collidin in the opener and returning to the winner’s circle after saddling Sandy Culbertson, Nikolaus Bock, Jon Sion and Adrian Illes’ Belle of the Cubs to win Friday’s finale.
Trainer Hugh Robertson saddled two winners Thursday and is currently tied with fellow conditioner Moises Yanez for the runner-up spot in the trainer standings entering Saturday’s program – six wins behind defending trainer champion Wayne Catalano.
Junior Jockey Club members have a special treat in store Sunday when they get to interact with mascots representing the Chicago Fire, Chicago Wolves, Kane County Cougars, Legoland, Buffalo Wild Wings and Chicago Bears.
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