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Arlington Park

Arlington Park Barn Notes (9/13/09)

Contact: Graham Ross
graham.ross@arlingtonpark.com

In today's notes:

REBEL HERO WIN WILLY RETURNS THURSDAY AT ARLINGTON

Jer-Mar Stables’ Win Willy, who has not started since finishing fourth in the Grade II Arkansas Derby April 11, returns to competition in Thursday’s Arlington feature, a $46,920 optional claiming sprint at six and a half furlongs over the local Polytrack.

Prior to being beaten 3 1/2 lengths in the Arkansas Derby, Win Willy was a surprise winner of Oaklawn’s Grade II Rebel Stakes, capturing that test by 2 1/4 lengths and returning a $115.60 straight mutuel. The odds-on favorite that afternoon was Fox Hill Farms’s Old Fashioned, the previously undefeated Larry Jones-trained colt who had won Oaklawn’s Grade III Southwest Stakes after cruising to an easy score in Aqueduct’s Grade II Remsen last fall.

Shortly after the Arkansas Derby, trainer McLean Robertson discovered that Win Willy suffered a hairline fracture in subsequent training and was sidelined for several months. However, the gray son of 2001 Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos has been increasingly on the worktab at Arlington this summer and completed his most recent breeze Saturday by going a half-mile in 49 flat.

Jockey Jesus Castanon, with five wins in the last two racing days at Arlington, has been named to handle the reins on Win Willy, who is the 5-2 morning line favorite Thursday.

Capable of providing strong competition for Win Willy is Dyedra Kademoglou’s My Best Pal Red, winner of his last three in a row. The 5-year-old Tiger Ridge gelding won his most recent start in front-running fashion when racing five-eighths in $35,000 claiming company on Aug. 27 after being clearly best in optional claiming company July 1 and June 5 here.

Jockey E. T. Baird is slated for the saddle aboard the Dale Bennett trainee.

Not to be discounted is Coffeepot Stables’ Truelyonbroadway, another 5-year-old gelding who missed by a head in optional claiming company here Aug. 16. Before that, however, the son of Yes It’s True won by an 8 1/4-length margin July 29 for a $35,000 tag and was previously best by 3 1/4 lengths July 12 when in $25,000 company.

Leading trainer Wayne Catalano will saddle Truelyonbroadway with leading jockey Junior Alvarado in the irons.

Completing the field for Thursday’s feature is Hunter Run Stable’s Tempo Five, Eddie Razo up; Christopher West and John Mentz’s King A. J., James Graham; John Castro’s Trying Brian, Florent Geroux; Hugh Robertson and Homewrecker Racing’s Celluloid Hero, Inez Karlsson; and Savoy Stable’s Conchacer, Eddie Perez.

BLACKHAWKS LEGENDS DAY SCORES AT ARLINGTON PARK

Hall of Fame hockey players Bobby Hull and Denis Savard, both revered members of the Chicago Blackhawks during their playing days, scored big at Arlington Park Saturday when on hand to sign autographs during Arlington’s designated “Blackhawks Legends Day.”

Impressively large groups of hockey fans and horseracing fans – many of them colorfully adorned in Blackhawks apparel – waited patiently after lining up at Arlington’s gates well before they were officially opened at 11:15 am to receive wristbands guaranteeing them autographs from the two legendary local heroes.

The Blackhawks have enjoyed a huge resurgence in popularity over the recent past, when multiple upgrades to the organization allowed the team to become Western Conference Semi-Finalists last season.

Arlington morning line maker Joe Kristufek, who was conducting “Learn to Win” seminars in the clubhouse and grandstand throughout the afternoon, was afforded a first-hand view of the fans’ enthusiasm while interacting with the crowd.

“It was very rewarding to watch many of the guests who came to Arlington as hockey fans show their interest in horseracing,” said Kristufek. “They were wearing Blackhawks gear but would ask me questions about handicapping horses, and after about five minutes you could see the light go on in their eyes as they gradually began to understand the basics of handicapping.

“Arlington is the perfect place to do stuff like that because it’s such a beautiful facility,” said Kristufek, “and as we all know, Thoroughbred racing needs to create a whole new fan base among younger people.”

JOCKEY EDDIE RAZO ESCAPES SERIOUS INJURY IN SATURDAY SPILL

Veteran Arlington jockey Eddie Razo, Oaklawn’s 2008 jockey champion and currently seventh in this summer’s Arlington standings, escaped serious injury when thrown from his mount Da Mama, owned by Steve Mongerson, in Saturday’s sixth race.

Razo was released from the hospital Saturday night, is off his mounts Sunday, but expected to ride when the racing week resumes following three dark days.

However, his mount Da Mama, a 3-year-old filly, had to be euthanized.

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