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|Arlington Park Barn Notes (9/12/09)
Contact: Graham Ross
In today's notes:
Two years ago just days after Labor Day weekend, Panamanian-born jockey Jesus Castanon arrived for a brief stay at Arlington and rode a triple just days after his local debut.
On Friday, the 36-year-old Kentucky resident did it again after shipping his tack to Arlington following the close of the Saratoga season.
“Yes, today was a good day,” said the understated Castanon after Friday’s last race. “I had a good summer at Saratoga, too. Linda Rice (Saratoga’s leading trainer) put me on a lot of her horses and that helped a lot.
“After Arlington closes, I’ll go on to Keeneland and Churchill,” Castanon said. “I have Dennis Cooper as my agent now, and will help a lot over the next couple of months. After that, I’m not sure what my plans are going to be. That’s still up in the air.”
Castanon captured Friday’s fourth race on My Meadowview Farm’s Quick Breeze for trainer David Carroll, came back to the winner’s circle after the seventh with Jim Cristel’s Denos Keys for conditioner Mark Cristel and got his third winner in the ninth race aboard Darley Stable’s Waccamaw for trainer Patrick Byrne, who dead-heated for that win with G-Biscuit Stable’s Ash, trained by Jim McMullen with Inez Karlsson astride.
Trainer Jim McMullen, in the midst of a banner Arlington season, celebrated a training double Friday, saddling G-Biscuit Stable’s Ash to dead-heat for the win with Darley Stable’s Denos Keys in the ninth race after saddling Pink Flamingo Racing Stables Zagomor to win the third event with Jesse Campbell up and also saddling runner-up G. Biscuit Stable’s Rahoo with Inez Karlsson up.
“It was a very exciting day,” said McMullen. “In the third race I thought the other horse would win it for me, then we dead-heated for the win in the ninth and almost got put up for a third win in the finale after an objection against the winner.”
Ironically, jockey Campbell, who rode a “hat trick” on his own, was aboard McMullen’s horse in the finale, and would have ended up with a four-win day if that winner had been taken down.
Campbell won Friday’s fifth race on Michael Motley et al.’s Squandor and swept that midday daily double by capturing the sixth with Wayne Sanders and Larry Hirsch’s Mission Vow.
Jockey Tim Thornton rode two winners on the twilight racing program, taking the second race with Paul Darjean and Elias Lubbat’s Just Kick ‘Em for trainer Darjean and returning to the winner’s circle after the nightcap with Majestic Farms’ Lead On for trainer Richie Scherer.
Former jockey and former trainer Ingrid Mason, who began the Arlington season as an exercise rider for the barn of Steve Asmussen, returned to training Friday, saddling Joseph Novelli’s Blithe Lad to run fifth in the second race at 14-1, and coming back to the paddock in the finale to saddle Novelli’s Big Bold Place to finish fourth at 12-1.
The Northern California native, 38, was a jockey for 13 years, riding all over the United States as well as about half a year in Dubai, and also trained horses in California in previous years.
“No one in my family was ever in horse racing before I came along,” Mason said, “but when I was a little girl I had a dream of becoming a jockey, so I started working around the racetrack as a hotwalker for free so I could learn all about it.
“Eventually, I learned how to gallop horses,” Mason said, “and I had a natural talent for it so I kept trying learn as much as I could so I could begin riding and learning how to train horses as well.
“I’ve worked for a lot of different trainers,” Mason said, “and I know everyone does that job differently so I’ve tried to learn a little bit from all of them. I’ve studied how they all run their operations, and while I worked for Steve Asmussen’s barn I learned from one of the best. He really has had a lot of success (saddling his 5,000th winner Friday) and it’s easy to see why.
“I’m very grateful to Mr. Novelli and Mr. (George) Ditola for giving me this opportunity to train their horses for them to show what I can do,” Mason said. “I really love what I’m doing. Right now we have four horses in the barn. We’re looking to claim another one but we keep getting outshook. However, we’ll have five pretty soon.”
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