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Arlington Park

Arlington Park Barn Notes (5/1/10)

Contact: Graham Ross

In today's notes:


With two wins from two starters through the first two days of the meeting, trainer Ingrid Mason deserves some mention, especially since she saddled her first career winner on Arlington’s closing day program of last year.

Throughout most of Arlington’s 2009 season, Mason, 39, exercised horses in the morning while also booking appointments for horses at a local equine oxygen chamber. However, the native of Northern California, a former jockey who rode all over the United States for 13 years, decided to venture into a training career late in the summer.

She saddled her first horse in mid-September, posed in the winner’s circle for the first time when George Ditola’s Sorry Baby won the first race on closing day later that month, and after that took her five-horse string to Oaklawn.

“I did pretty well at Oaklawn,” said Mason, speaking early Saturday morning while her perfect record this spring at Arlington was still intact. “I saddled nine winners from 21 starters for about a 43 percent win ratio. That was while my stable was still really small, but I’m up to 15 horses now and I’m hoping to attract even more new owners and continue to expand.”

That expansion may be happening relatively quickly now that she has gotten off to such a quick start, winning the fourth race on Thursday’s opening day program with Coby Tresner’s Esperamos, and coming back to saddle Ditola, Tresner and Charles Jennings’ Lissa’s Star to win Friday’s sixth event.

Dr. Ditola, a dentist, owns the local equine oxygen chamber. Longtime horseman Tresner purchased a horse named Crook’s Bodgit last year from one of Mason’s owners, kept Mason as his trainer and then she saddled that horse to win the $100,000 Star of Texas Stakes at Sam Houston last December. Jennings is best known as the owner of the Back Porch Grill in Hot Springs, Arkansas, a popular hangout for many Oaklawn horsemen.

“I’ve always been confident in my abilities as a trainer because I know where to run my horses,” said Mason. “The key is to run them in the right spot, and I have the advantage of getting to know exactly where they belong and what they are capable of doing because I’m the one who gets on them in the mornings. I get a feel for them that way, and if there’s a problem I like to nip it in the bud. That way I know when to make my decisions about how they are doing.

“It’s not easy to win any horse race, even if you have the best horse,” said Mason. “There are so many things that can go wrong. But I am good at reading exactly how my horses are getting along. It’s my passion to get on my own horses to work them and know exactly what I’ve got.

“I’ve been very fortunate because I’ve been blessed with very good owners who listen to what I have to say and respect my opinion. I like to cross all my ‘T’s’ and dot all my ‘I’s’, but this game also requires a lot of luck. If I didn’t have the kind of owners I have I would still be mucking stalls. I feel blessed to have the opportunity I’ve been given, and nothing means more to me than the fact that my owners gave this chance to me.”


Veteran horseman Dan Peitz, who has shipped his stable to Arlington this season for the first time in his career, had a training double Friday at the local oval, winning the seventh race with Lawana and Robert Low’s Born Indy U S A, Jesus Castanon up; and coming right back in the eighth with the Lows’ My Sugar Bear with Quincy Hamilton in the irons.


Defending Arlington jockey champion Junior Alvarado and fellow locally based rider Inez Karlsson, fourth in the final standings last season, each posted riding doubles Friday.

Alvarado won the second half of the Daily Double astride Frank Calabrese’s Wake Up Now for conditioner Nick Canani and came back in the finale astride Savoy Stable’s Prosico for trainer Dale Bennett. Prosico established a five and a half furlong track record of 1:03.02 over the Polytrack surface.

Karlsson’s winning pair came astride Judy Dorris’s Dream Commander for trainer Tom Dorris in the fifth race, and George Ditola, Coby Tresner and Charles Jennings’ Lissa’s Star in the sixth race on the twilight racing program.

- END -

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