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Arlington Park

Arlington Park Barn Notes (9/22/10)

Contact: Graham Ross

In today's notes:


Jockeys Inez Karlsson and Brandon Meier – and Zoe Cadman and Steve Cauthen before them – are all exceptions to the rule of thumb that says that apprentice jockeys are not usually very successful at Arlington Park.

Nevertheless, apprentice jockey Francisco Giles has hung his tack at Arlington throughout the 2010 season, persevering mid-pack in the standings most of the way to enjoy a modicum of success despite the task of swimming upstream against the current of local history.

Last Sunday, jockey Giles came from off the pace in the first race of the day to win the opener aboard Joel Berndt’s Chelsea’s Kitty, who is also trained by the owner.

Then, in the last race of the day, Giles used the same off-the-pace tactics to take down winning honors in the finale astride Savoy Stable’s Nan’s Lillie for conditioner Rey Aguirre.

Chelsea’s Kitty paid $13.80 to win, and Nan’s Lillie returned a $12.40 straight price on a $2 ticket, suggesting that it may be time to start giving more consideration to Giles when making a speculative investment at Arlington during the last four racing days of the local session which ends this Sunday.

“When he first starting riding here this summer, Francisco wanted to send all his horses to lead right out of the gate,” said Giles’ agent Joe Suwanski shortly after Giles’ “bookend” riding double last weekend. “It was either that or he would want to come from dead last with a late charge. Lately, he’s been learning to ride more in the middle of the pack.”

Although born in Los Angeles, California, Giles alternated his early years traveling back and forth from California to Mexico and remembers getting on the back of his first horse at 7-years-old while in Mexico. His uncle Druben Romero, who works for trainer Scott Becker, brought him around the racetrack at Fairmount Park to gallop horses and Giles accepted his first mount at Ellis Park in June of 2009.

“Some of the jockeys here have helped me a lot this summer,” said Giles. “I’d like to thank Junior Alvarado, Francisco Torres and James Graham most of all for teaching me some of the things I’ve learned here.”

Now 20 years of age, Giles broke his maiden on a Thoroughbred at Hawthorne last fall and entering Thursday’s program had made 16 visits to the Arlington winner’s circle in 2010.

“We’ll be going on to Hawthorne after the end of the Arlington meeting,” said Suwanski, on behalf of Giles, who has limited English-speaking abilities at the present time. “As the trainers around Chicago are watching him ride more, our business is beginning to pick up. Frank Kirby has been very helpful in teaching him. Mr. Kirby lets Francisco know when he does something wrong, but he is also quick to praise him when he does something right. I don’t like to tell Francisco when I see him do something wrong, because I don’t like to get anyone’s confidence down. I want him to keep his positive attitude.”

Suwanski also mentioned local trainers such as Joel Berndt and Doug Matthews for their support of Giles by riding him on their horses.

“He still does like to chase girls all the time, which most of us did when we were that age,” said Suwanski. “Frank (Kirby) told me a funny story about the other day in the barn when he noticed everything had gotten unusually quiet, so he looked down the shedrow and Francisco was talking to a group of pretty hotwalkers Kirby has working in his barn. All the girls had stopped walking their horses to listen to whatever Francisco was telling them. But like I said, I remember what I was like when I was 20 years old, too, so all I can do is remind him to concentrate on his business. He’s still learning about riding, and he’s still learning about life.”


Arlington’s current leading rider Michael Baze, riding at Chicago’s northwest oval for the first time this season, enters Thursday’s nine-race program six wins in front of Arlington’s defending jockey champion Junior Alvarado with four racing days remaining at the local session.

Baze guided Arapaho LLC’s Royal Alluvial to victory in Sunday’s seventh race for trainer Mike Stidham, but Alvarado won Sunday’s second race aboard Frank Calabrese’s Fly Angel Fly for conditioner Nick Canani and returned to the winner’s circle after the eighth astride Adelina Rose, owned by Damara Farm and trained by Eddie Kenneally, to narrow Baze’s lead Saturday night by a single winner.


Veteran reinsman Jesus Castanon enters Thursday’s racing program four wins shy of the 2,000-career win milestone with four racing days to go in Arlington’s 2010 meeting which ends this Sunday.

The Panamanian-born reinsman rode one winner at Kentucky Downs on Monday after annexing Sunday’s fifth race at Arlington on Alan and Beverly Kasdan’s Jake’s Soldier for trainer Tammy Domenosky.

- END -

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