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Arlington Park

Arlington Park Barn Notes (9/11/09)

Contact: Graham Ross
graham.ross@arlingtonpark.com

In today's notes:

JOCKEY CHRIS EMIGH TO TRY KENTUCKY CIRCUIT AFTER ARLINGTON

Jockey Chris Emigh, Arlington’s 2006 jockey champion who also holds multiple titles at Hawthorne, will switch his tack to Keeneland and then Churchill Downs this fall after Arlington Park closes out its season Sept. 27.

“Trying the Kentucky circuit is something I’ve always wanted to do,” said Emigh, speaking in the paddock following his Thursday riding double at Arlington. “It’s been a dream of mine for some time, and I want to try it before I can’t do it anymore.

“I want to try Keeneland and Churchill because they are both at historic racing sites,” said Emigh, “and they both would give me a better chance to pick up that good Derby mount one day while I’m still in my prime.

“It’s going to be a little bit of a gamble for me to give up my comfort zone at Hawthorne,” said Emigh, “because I know I would have an opportunity to make quite a bit of money there.

“Terry (Jaws) Miller will be my new agent,” Emigh concluded. “I have done better in my career than I ever thought possible, but I would still like to try to ride regularly at some of the more elite tracks before my career is over.”

In 2008, Emigh made a quick roundtrip to Baltimore to capture the Grade III Miss Preakness Stakes on Preakness Day aboard William Stiritz’s Palanka City, and the Stiritz-Emigh duo came back to Chicago that Sunday to win two races.

Stiritz and Emigh teamed up again Thursday to win the sixth race with McClees Creek, and the 38-year-old reinsman returned to the winner’s circle after the ninth race aboard Glen Hill Farm’s Taking Stock.

ARLINGTON’S 2009 JOCKEY TITLE STILL UP FOR GRABS

Following a riding double Thursday, jockey James Graham narrowed current leading rider Junior Alvarado’s lead to four wins as the local season winds down to its final 2009 racing day on Sept. 27.

Graham, runner-up in the 2008 standings, captured Thursday’s fifth race aboard Heiligbrodt Racing Stable’s Tora to give Eclipse Award winning trainer Steve Asmussen the 4,999th victory of his career, and the Irish-born reinsman returned to the winner’s circle after Thursday’s eighth aboard Windy Spa Racing Stable’s Crater Maker for conditioner Leigh Bentley.

The Venezuelan-born Alvarado, 24, eighth in the 2008 standings, has captured 93 wins through Thursday and is named to ride seven mounts Friday, while Graham, 30, with 89 wins through Thursday, is slated astride nine mounts on the twilight racing program.

TWO-TIME ARLINGTON HANDICAP WINNER COSMONAUT RETIRED

Flying Zee Stable’s Cosmonaut, who captured back-to-back renewals of the Grade III Arlington Handicap in 2006 and 2007, has been retired according to an announcement made earlier this week.

The 7-year-old entire son of 1999 Belmont Stakes winner Lemon Drop Kid, fifth in the Grade I Arlington Million in 2006, also finished second in the 2008 Arlington Handicap and third in this year’s renewal July 11 on Arlington Million Preview Day.

Cosmonaut won eight races from 36 career starts with eight seconds and three third-place finishes and retires with career earnings of $1,397,723.

PATRICK AND SHANNON MACKEY WELCOME BABY GIRL

Patrick Mackey, a racing official at Arlington for three years, and his wife Shannon, who ran Arlington’s Horseman’s Service Center during its inaugural season, celebrated the birth of their baby daughter Tallulah on Aug. 26.

Tallulah, who weighed 8 pounds, 11 ounces at birth, is doing fine. However, her mother developed a lung infection shortly after the delivery but appears to be recovering nicely in recent days.

Mackey will be agent for jockey Ariel Smith at Hawthorne and then serve as assistant racing secretary at Gulfstream Park this winter.

JOE KRISTUFEK HOSTS ‘LEARN TO WIN’ SEMINAR SATURDAY

Arlington linemaker Joe Kristufek will host a “Learn to Win” seminar at Arlington Saturday from 1 pm to 2 pm at the West Kiosk and from 2:30 pm to 4 pm at the East Kiosk.

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