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Arlington Park

Arlington Park Barn Notes (5/22/10)

Contact: Graham Ross

In today's notes:


Thirty-two years ago – on May 22, 1978 – veteran reinsman Carlos Silva won his first race in the United States at Arlington Park aboard Solemnly Swear for trainer Jack Weipert.

Following his retirement from the saddle this past winter, and after concluding his athletic career as Arlington’s third leading jockey of all time behind only Hall of Fame jockeys Earlie Fires and Pat Day, Silva took some time to wax elegant in Arlington’s racing office Saturday morning. That first win came quickly to mind for the 54-year-old native of Santiago, Chile.

“It was in the last race of the day, and it was on the turf, and it was my first mount at Arlington,” recalled Silva. “It made me one-for-one at Arlington, so it made me feel pretty good.

“I had ridden over 50 winners in Chile, another 200 or so while I rode for two years in Panama, and I had ridden a few horses in Florida, but when I came to Chicago I was still shopping around for place to ride,” Silva said. “I had no idea I would end up making my home here. I had no family at the time, and the agent Steve Adika was begging me to go to New York with him, but that place never really appealed to me. I ended up on the Chicago circuit and I was very happy here. I loved what I did for a living, and I enjoyed every single minute of my career.

“I started riding for Gene Cilio here in the early ‘80s, and I rode for him for a long, long time,” said Silva of the late locally revered trainer, “and after Gene, I rode for Richard Hazleton (Arlington’s all-time leading trainer) for a long time, too.

“The last two years or so, I had it in my head that it was getting near time to retire, but it was a hard decision to make,” said Silva. “I spent a lot of sleepless nights thinking about it, because I really didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I had hustled my own book the last couple of years, so that idea was always in the back of my head.

“One day last winter, Brandon Meier (Arlington’s Rising Star as an apprentice in 2008) asked me what I was going to do after I retired. I said I wasn’t sure yet. He said, ‘How about taking my book?’ I thought he was kidding, but he said, ‘No, I’m serious.’”

“I told Brandon to go home and ask his Dad (Randy, one of Arlington’s top 10 all-time winning jockeys) what he thought about the idea, and I told him to give me a week to think about it,” Silva said.

“Then I thought about it for a week,” said Silva. “I thought to myself: Why not? He’s a good young rider, and a very responsible kind of guy. He’s a very smart rider, and a hard worker, and hard work pays off. This might be just the opportunity I’m looking for.

“I talked to my family about it, and they were all for it,” said Silva. “I think they had wanted me to retire for some time, but they didn’t want to say anything to influence me so they had kept quiet. Once I made my decision, they were very, very happy for me.

“My daughter Charlene has been married for two years now, and she’s going to make me a grandfather in December,” Silva said. “My son Carlos, Jr. (a former defensive end at Rolling Meadows High School), works in immigration now. And my wife Aydee has been right by my side for over 30 years now. I’ve been blessed with a very good family. I had a great riding career, and I’d like to thank all the trainers that helped me in the past and rode me on their horses.

“Now I’m looking forward to my new career with Brandon,” Silva concluded. “We started off really good this season, winning three races in one day right at the beginning, and we’ve also had a lot of seconds. All we have to do now is keep the momentum going and keep working hard. Like I said, hard work pays off.”


Once again this year Memorial Day weekend is a particularly festive time at Arlington Park beginning Friday with the first Miller Lite Party in the Park of 2010 featuring the Bruce Springsteen cover band “Thunder Road,” and WXRT’s live remote from the Park Area featuring that station’s morning personality Lin Brehmer. Also, handicappers Joe Kristufek and Brian Spencer will host a “Learn to Win” seminar in the Park Area from 3 pm to 5:30 pm.

On Saturday, Memorial Day weekend continues with the return of the Miller Lite Taste of Summer with live music by “Girl Next Door.” First race and first song are at 1 pm, and The Loop 97.9 FM kicks off its season-long Baggo tournament in the Park Area.

On Sunday, Family Day returns to Arlington Park featuring pony rides and a petting zoo courtesy of Brookfield Zoo.

Finally on Memorial Day, the first of three Monday racing programs of the 2010 season will be held featuring family day activities in the Park and a special 101.9 FM The Mix pre-race concert by the band “Ralph’s World.”

- END -

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