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Arlington Park

Arlington Park Barn Notes (9/24/10)

Contact: Graham Ross

In today's notes:


Arlington Park’s current leading rider Michael Baze is eight wins in front of last season’s leading jockey Junior Alvarado with three days to go in the 2010 meeting, which comes to a close Sunday.

However, there are no celebrations or concessions as of yet from the agents of either jockey.

Asked if he was ready to light up a victory cigar Friday morning, Baze’s agent Jay Fedor quickly answered, “Not yet. I’ve seen weirder stuff happen during my years on the racetrack. I remember a few years ago at another track in the Midwest where one rider was in front by five going into the last day of the season and another jock rode six winners on that last day to beat him by one win.

“Nevertheless, I will admit that I’d rather be eight wins in front with three days to go in the meeting than eight behind with three days to go,” Fedor said. “So I do like my chances.”

It was Chicago native Fedor who encouraged Baze to leave his familiar environs in Southern California and make the transition to Arlington this summer.

Jockey agent Oscar Sanchez, who guided Alvarado to Arlington’s jockey championship last summer, also indicated that the race for leading rider in 2010 was not over.

“I haven’t given up yet,” said Sanchez Friday morning, speaking with the more familiar personal pronouns agents use in race track vernacular. “I’m going to take it down to the last day. I ride a lot of horses in the last three days. If I do it (win the title), it’s great, and if I don’t do it, it’s still great.

“I won the Beverly D. for Mr. D. and Ron McAnally (aboard Richard Duchossois’ Éclair de Lune), and I won the (Arlington-Washington) Futurity for Wayne Catalano (aboard Gary and Mary West’s Major Gain),” Sanchez said. “If anybody had told me before the season that I could either be leading rider or win the Beverly D., I would have said that I’d much rather win the Beverly D.”

Before scratches Friday morning, Alvarado, 24, born in Barquisimeto, Venezuela, was listed aboard seven mounts Friday, six on Saturday and eight on Sunday’s closing day.

Baze, 23, born in Renton, Washington, reached the 100-win mark at Arlington this summer on Thursday when he guided Russell L. Reineman Stable’s Color Me Blue to victory in the eighth race for trainer Brian Williamson. Color Me Blue returned a generous $21.80 win mutuel. The talented rider is slated to ride five mounts Friday, is listed for eight mounts Saturday and is expected to ride the entire nine-race program on closing day Sunday.


Jockey agent Oscar Sanchez, a Chicago native who was Arlington’s leading apprentice jockey in 1971 before pursuing his present occupation, also recently served as a technical adviser for his daughter Kiele, the co-star of A&E’s new hit television series “The Glades.”

Kiele Sanchez was filming a scene based in Ocala, Florida, about six weeks ago for her show in which she had to explain her horse background, and the scene required her to know the initial stages of pursuing a career as a jockey.

“She called me from the set about 10 minutes before the scene was shot and asked me what steps anyone would take to try and become a jockey,” Sanchez said. “I told her, first you become a hotwalker, then you become a groom and then you become a jockey. When she filmed the scene she forgot the part about becoming a groom, but nobody noticed.”


When Arlington’s perennial leading trainer Wayne Catalano saddled Gary and Mary West’s Vice Lord to capture Thursday’s third race with jockey Michael Baze aboard, it gave Catalano 73 wins at Arlington’s 2010 meeting.

Catalano is now one win shy of the Arlington’s trainer record 74 wins in a single session that he established during Arlington’s 2007 season.

The 54-year-old native of New Orleans, Louisiana, is scheduled to saddle four horses on Friday’s Arlington program.

- END -

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