Arlington Park Barn Notes (6/26/10)
Contact: Graham Ross
In today's notes:
PATIENCE REWARDED WITH $140.40 WIN PAYOFF AT ARLINGTON
Indiana-based trainer David R. Reid saddled three winners at Arlington Park last summer, while longtime locally based jockey Nick Meza rode two during the same time frame, but in the second half of Friday’s Daily Double the Reid-Meza tandem combined their talents to produce a $141.40 win payoff – largest through the first 35 racing days of Arlington’s 2010 meeting.
That straight price, based on a $2 wager, was posted after Reid and Roxanne Hyden’s Europa Royale circled the leaders in the stretch and was up to gain a three quarter-length victory at the wire in the 5 1/2-furlong turf sprint. The 4-year-old Illinois-bred filly also recorded a season-high place price of $53.80 in the grass dash.
“If you keep at it along enough, something good is bound to happen in this game,” said owner-trainer Reid, speaking over the phone from his Logansport, Indiana, base of operations Saturday morning during training hours.
Operating out of Logansport, Reid now leaves the day-to-day operations of his barn in the hands of assistant trainer Teresa Martinez, who for many years was the assistant to Arlington’s all-time leading trainer Richard Hazelton before his retirement earlier this year.
In fact, although Reid usually is on hand when one of his horses runs in Chicago – or once and awhile in Ohio or Kentucky – he was not in attendance Friday, and did not have a wager on his winner.
“The only reason I didn’t show up Friday was because of the traffic,” said Reid. “Normally, when one of my horses runs, I make the trip from Indiana and back, but on Fridays with the traffic that becomes an eight-hour round trip, and I have a small farm with a training track to look after right here at home. Right now, I have six horses stabled at Arlington and another four turned out here at the farm. Occasionally, I like to give them all a break and rotate them every once and awhile.”
Reid originally got into racing as a teenager when he and a hometown buddy named David Vance used to get on horses to get them ready for the track and then deliver them.
“During the course of one summer, we ended up hauling about 30 horses to the racetrack in our two-horse trailer,” Reid said.
Vance, of course, went on set records as the leading trainer in the nation for most of the early '70s, and Reid served as one of his assistants during that time.
“Actually, I started out as a jockey at River Downs in the early '60s,” Reid said, “but that didn’t last very long. I was far too big to ride and I quickly got into owning and training. In fact, Richard Hazelton trained my horses here for a lot of years.
“I’m 68 years old now and I still love the game,” concluded Reid Saturday morning. “You really have to if you’re going to stay in it this many years.”
MAJOR RHYTHM MARCHES INTO RACING RETIREMENT
The initial retirement announcement for 2006 Stars and Stripes winner Major Rhythm came in the waning days of Arlington’s 2009 season, but then the veteran of many racing wars ran fourth in an optional claiming race at Hawthorne in April, fifth for a $35,000 claiming tag at Arlington in May and was most recently on the work tab earlier this month.
What’s going on here?
“What happened was that we had a lot of choices concerning what to do with him when we decided to retire him last year,” said owner James Messineo, “one of which was to make a stable pony out of him. But when we put a saddle on him and took him to the track in January, he showed us some signs that he might still want to run, but when we put him in that grass sprint here in May, that told us he didn’t really want to run any more.
“He’s been so good to us, we want to do whatever he wants to do,” said Messineo, “so we’ll continue to pony him right now. He seems to like going up to the track and back.
“The best part about all this is I get to see him all the time,” said Messineo, who lives close by. “When he was younger, he’d try to bite your arm off if you got too close to him, but he’s turned into a nice old guy. It’s great to get to see him all the time because he’s special.
“I would say that the Stars and Stripes win was the best victory of his career,” said Messineo, “and when he set the track record at Remington, that was probably the most impressive race of his career.
“But when he ran in the Million, for me that was the highlight,” said Messineo. “Just having a horse worthy of running in that race, and watching him in that post parade – that gave me a feeling I’ll never forget.”
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