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Arlington Park

Arlington Park Barn Notes (9/5/10)

Contact: Graham Ross

In today's notes:


Yes, jockey Jesus Castanon has ridden more than 2,000 winners in his career, but unfortunately, 20 of them came aboard Arabians last winter at Tampa Bay Downs.

Equibase Company LLC, the official record keeper of Thoroughbred statistics in North America, only counts Thoroughbred races in its statistics, so even after Castanon scored a riding triple Saturday at Arlington, the Panamanian-born reinsman remained 16 wins shy of the 2,000-win milestone entering Sunday’s race day at Arlington, where the 36-year-old Kentucky resident was named to ride five mounts.

Some confusion had arisen earlier in the week when The Jockeys’ Guild Inc. had informed Castanon that he had reached 2,000 winners – which he had – but his agent Dennis Cooper explained the discrepancy to him. Even more important, in terms of any possible misunderstanding, was why no official ceremony marking the milestone had been performed in the winner’s circle.

“I explained it all to him yesterday (Saturday morning),” said Cooper, an agent known as much for his sense of humor as well as his ability procuring mounts for his riders.

“I told all those winners you rode on camels and goats don’t count, and neither do those 4,000 winners you rode in Mexico City when you were six years old,” said Cooper. “He took it very well. He just laughed and gave me a great big grin.”

Castanon began his Saturday hat trick in the second half of the Daily Double by guiding Wildcat Thoroughbreds and Paul Schaffer’s Doublefour to a 3 1/2-length win for trainer Tammy Domenosky. The rider returned to the winner’s circle after the fifth race aboard Dennis McWilliams’ Our Girl Magic for conditioner Moises Yanez, and completed his three-win afternoon in Saturday’s finale astride Marianne Smith’s Cool Heart for trainer Dale Bennett.

Could Castanon still reach the 2,000-win milestone before the final day of Arlington’s 2010 meeting on Sept. 26?

“If the right races go from here on out, we’ve got a chance to do it here,” said Cooper. “If we don’t, it won’t be for lack of trying.”


Hans Poetsch’s Cave Creeker is 8-1 in the morning line for Monday’s 46th renewal of the Grade III Pucker Up Stakes at Arlington Park, and trainer Louie Roussel III was asked to evaluate her chances in the nine-furlong event restricted to sophomore fillies.

“This race came up a lot tougher than I thought it would,” said Roussel Sunday morning. “We definitely are going to have our work cut out for us.

“I would say the best thing we have going for us is that we have been running mostly against 3-year-olds and up recently, but we are back in against straight 3-year-olds this time,” said Roussel. “Also, she showed us a really sparkling work last Monday and Junior (Arlington defending jockey champion Alvarado) was kind enough to gallop her for us.

“In the Pucker Up, the key thing for us will be for E.T. (jockey Baird) to break her and then let her settle,” Roussel added. “She drew the #7 hole and that’s my favorite post position, and I won’t be too concerned if we lose a little ground going into the first turn. The important thing for him to remember is that she cannot be rushed.

“Her owner (also breeder) is from Chicago, but lives in Phoenix now,” concluded Roussel, “but he’ll be flying in for the race.”


Jockey Michael Baze rode two winners Saturday to increase his lead to five wins over runner-up rider Junior Alvarado entering Sunday’s program.

After switching his tack to Chicago for the first time this summer, Baze scored with Frank Calabrese’s Bullstar in Saturday’s third for conditioner Nick Canani and returned to the winner’s circle after the Grade III Washington Park Handicap aboard the victorious Argentine-bred Gran Estreno, owned by the Feel The Thunder Stable and trained by Mike Stidham.


Jockey Oriel Chavez, born in Panama City, Panama and a veteran of the Fairmount Park riding colony, finished third aboard Del Sol Farm’s Heza Flamer in Saturday’s third race – the first mount of his career at Arlington Park.

Chavez, 37, with 15 years in the saddle, came back to win Saturday’s fourth astride Hugh Robertson and John Hillebrand’s Stone Free for trainer Robertson. The Panamanian reinsman is the uncle of Gabriel Saez, who rode 2009 Grade II Louisiana Derby winner Friesan Fire, owned by Vinery Stables and Fox Hill Farm.

- END -

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