Arlington Park Barn Notes (7/29/10)
Contact: Graham Ross
In today's notes:
BAZE BOUNCING BACK INTO LEADING RIDER RACE AT ARLINGTON
Following a successful week of riding that culminated with a Sunday hat trick, jockey Michael Baze has jumped back into the race for leading rider honors at Arlington as the local season enters the 55th day of a 91-day meeting Thursday.
Sunday’s triple was the sixth three-win day for Baze at the current session and left the 23-year-old native of Renton, Washington, five wins shy of current leading rider and defending jockey champion Junior Alvarado.
Baze, hanging his tack at Arlington for the first time this summer, had been based in Southern California for several years before coming to Chicago last spring. He kicked off Sunday’s race day with a win in the opener astride the Ida Spagnola-trained Step Sister, owned by Adrian Roman and Roberto Dominguez. He returned to the winner’s circle after the seventh aboard Carson Springs Farm and J. J. Walsh’s Callaloo for conditioner Christine Janks and bounced right back to pose for pictures again after the eighth on Carson Spring Farm and Mark Goldstick’s Jitterbug Blues to give Janks a training double.
Although winless at Arlington Saturday, Baze finished second in four races. Then he journeyed to Iowa to capture the $100,000 Prairie Meadows Handicap aboard William Stiritz’s Proceed Bee for trainer Scott Becker.
Last Thursday at Arlington, Baze won the third race aboard Hilton Gordon and Howard Rose’s Peach Bottom for leading trainer Wayne Catalano and made it a two-win day in the fourth on Cristel Racing Stable’s Light Sleeper for conditioner Mark Cristel.
Last Friday, Baze earned his second consecutive double by winning the fourth on Russell L. Reineman Stable’s Connor’s Shadow for trainer Brian Williamson and coming back to the winner’s circle after the sixth on Carson Springs Farm’s Silent Candy, once again for Christine Janks.
JANKS JOINS WINICK AS ARLINGTON’S SEVENTH ALL-TIME TRAINER
Conditioner Christine Janks’ training double Sunday moved her into a tie with the late Arnold Winick for seventh position on Arlington’s all-time leading trainer list with 542 wins and although she has no horses entered Thursday at Arlington, she has four horses entered Friday.
However, while Winick still holds the seventh spot, it seems appropriate to review the career of the man who throughout the 1960s dominated Arlington’s leading trainer ranks.
After starting off as a dog handler at age 10 due to the encouragement of an uncle who was a judge from the American Kennel Club, Winick began his transfer to Thoroughbreds when a dog owner paid off a board bill by giving him a sore-legged Thoroughbred to train. Three years later, Winick saddled his first Thoroughbred winner.
After coming to Chicago, Winick won back-to-back Arlington titles in 1960-61, again in 1963-64, a third time in 1967-68 and then one last title in 1970.
On the occasion of Winick’s death on March 30, 1995, Hall of Fame jockey Walter Blum, who was Arlington’s jockey champion in 1963-64 when Winick was leading trainer, described Winick as “the Wayne Lukas of his day” to younger racing fans not old enough to witness the Winick years of the ‘60s when the native of Glenview, Illinois, also dominated the South Florida circuit at Tropical Park, Hialeah and Gulfstream during the winter months.
Ironically, like Lukas, Winick was not always revered by his peers, largely because he didn’t consider training horses the equivalent of splitting the atom.
“I do not believe,” Winick said, “that training horses requires more intelligence than any profession in the world or that the smartest men in the world are involved in it. I think that any young man of normal intelligence can be a tremendous success training horses today.”
Because he was a natty dresser and exuded self-confidence, some old school hardboots rebuffed Winick with names like “Pretty Boy” and “Beau Brummel,” and their pettiness once drew a perfect squelch rebuke from Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons, who could, of course, train circles around all of them.
“Some of you fellows knock anything that looks like it might be good,” Fitzsimmons said when addressing the naysayers. “If some of you had your way they’d have never got Coca-Cola off the ground.
“I don’t know where that kid’s from,” concluded Fitzsimmons, with a nod toward Winick’s barn, “but he has a sense with animals and he’s going to be one of the biggest trainers around someday.”
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