Arlington Park Barn Notes (5/2/10)
Contact: Graham Ross
In today's notes:
RIGGS RULES IN ARLINGTON STANDINGS THROUGH SATURDAY
Don’t look now, but young jockey Tanner Riggs, now in his third season at Arlington Park at the smashing veteran age of 21, had a one-race lead in the local jockey standings through Saturday.
After recording the lone riding double on opening day, Riggs visited the winner’s circle on both the Friday and Saturday racing programs to maintain his consistent presence in that enclosure, and for the benefit of those racing fans that exit Chicago during the winter Thoroughbred racing season, be advised that Riggs won the riding title at Hawthorne last fall and repeated as the Southside jockey champion during Hawthorne’s spring meeting.
“I was fortunate enough to have two great meets,” said Riggs while speaking in the jockeys’ room at Arlington during training hours Sunday morning. “The trainers I’ve been riding for have a lot of horses who are doing very well right now. I think I rode 35 winners for Frank Kirby at Hawthorne, another 14 or so for Joel Berndt, and got another six or seven wins with mounts outside what those two guys gave me.”
Kirby, it should be noted, was Hawthorne’s leading trainer for both of those meetings but also holds the fascinating unique distinction of winning two Arlington training titles 30 years apart – first in 1974 and again in 2004.
Riggs, a native of Mitchell, South Dakota, rode his first recognized winner at Nebraska’s Columbus Race Track on July 31, 2005, coincidentally on the 20th anniversary of the day that the old Arlington Park burned down.
“I just keep trying to improve a little bit each time I ride,” said Riggs, “and I really wish that I will be able to keep the momentum going that I have going for me right now. This is a very tough group of riders I’m going to be in against at Arlington this season.”
TRAINER RON FAUCHEUX HITS THE GROUND RUNNING
After years as an assistant for notable conditioners such as Todd Pletcher, Billy Badgett, Steve Klesaris and John Parisella, New Orleans-born Ron Faucheux got a kick-start to his own training career when Arlington’s perennial leading owner Frank Calabrese decided to send a few horses from his own massive string to Fair Grounds last winter and appointed Faucheux to oversee their campaigns.
As the stepson of noted Louisiana horseman Louie Roussel III, former owner of Fair Grounds, Faucheux came well recommended to Calabrese once the decision had been made to send a string at the Crescent City oval.
“Things went well down there at Fair Grounds,” said Faucheux, who saddled the first winner of his career with his second lifetime starter – the Calabrese-owned Built to Precision. After winning another race at Hawthorne this spring, Faucheux brought his string to Arlington and has gotten off on the right foot once again.
The 27-year-old conditioner, a graduate of Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida, saddled the first Arlington starter of his fledgling career Saturday, and Chantilly Lady, a 5-year-old gray mare claimed for Calabrese at Fair Grounds last winter, responded with a front-running victory by a head under jockey Quincy Hamilton.
Coincidentally, Faucheux’s mentor Pletcher won the first Kentucky Derby of his career on Saturday with WinStar Farm’s Super Saver – Calvin Borel aboard – who was riding the third Kentucky Derby winner of his career – all coming over the last four years.
Faucheux, who is living in Palatine for the season, was asked his impressions of Arlington Park.
“It’s a beautiful race track – the nicest I’ve ever been to,” said Faucheux, who has been to most East Coast tracks during his years as an assistant to New York-based horsemen.
REMINDER: RACING RESUMES AT ARLINGTON PARK THURSDAY
Arlington racing fans perhaps unfamiliar with the Chicago oval’s new four-days-a-week schedule in 2010, are reminded that following Sunday’s program, live racing will return to Arlington on Thursday with a 1 pm first post.
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