|Arlington Park Barn Notes
Contact: Graham Ross
(847) 385-7500 ext. 7319
In today's notes:
From China to Chicago, jockey Carlos H. Marquez Jr. has covered a lot of ground over racetracks worldwide in the last few months.
But now the Puerto Rican-born Marquez has brought his tack to Arlington Park for the summer, where coincidentally his father was a premier riding star during his own career that began locally more than three decades earlier.
Carlos H. Marquez Jr., 34, whose career began 17 years ago, has just returned from Hong Kong, where he rode at Happy Valley and Sha Tin for six months.
Carlos H. Marquez Sr., 55, who came to the United States to ride in 1967, won some of Arlington Park's biggest races, including a division of the 1968 Stars and Stripes Handicap aboard Rokeby Stable's Fort Marcy, before retiring from the saddle in 1985.
"I began my career in 1985, but it was two months after my father retired," said the junior Marquez. "Unfortunately, we were never able to ride in the same race. My father wanted to keep his career going but it was just getting too hard for him to hold his weight down.
"Dad lives in Cicero now," Marquez said. "He likes to come out here to the races but he also likes to spend a lot of time with his grandchildren."
Before his retirement, somewhat premature considering his talent, the senior Marquez won the Michigan Mile twice with Estreno II in 1967 and again in 1969 with Calandrito. Other major stakes wins for the elder Marquez came aboard Hitchcock in the 1972 Suburban Handicap, Lord Rebeau in the 1975 New Orleans Handicap, and King of the Castle in the 1969 Louisiana Derby. He was also astride Office Queen for her winning efforts in the 1970 Mother Goose and 1970 Black-Eyed Susan.
"I won the Black-Eyed Susan in 1997 with Salt It," said the junior Marquez, speaking of Pimlico's race for 3-year-old fillies that follows the Kentucky Oaks as naturally as the Preakness follows the Kentucky Derby. "It's the only major stakes race to date that each of us has won."
Some of the junior Marquez's biggest stakes wins until the present came aboard Kinsman Stable's Concerto, who won the 1997 Jim Beam as a 3-year-old the season after he captured the Brown and Williamson Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes.
Other Marquez-piloted stakes wins by Concerto came in the Count Fleet and Whirlaway stakes during that colt's sophomore season. The pair finished ninth in the 1997 Kentucky Derby.
"But I've ridden some other really good horses in my career," said Marquez. "I rode Skip Away (1998 Horse of the Year) during the first four starts of his career, and Da Hoss (winner of the Breeders' Cup Mile in 1996 and 1998) during some of his starts when I was riding for trainer Michael Dickinson in Maryland.
"I also won the Laurel Futurity with Fight for Lady M," said Marquez. "Victory Gallop, who went on to win the 1998 Belmont Stakes, finished second behind us in that race."
How did Marquez end up riding in the Orient for the last six months?
"Last summer I was riding at Monmouth, and a fellow rider who had just returned from there told me a little about it," Marquez said. "I applied to the Jockey Club there and I was accepted for a three-month period, and then got an extension for another three months.
"It was a good experience," Marquez said. "Horses run in the opposite direction (clockwise) from the way they do over here, and they only race two nights a week - Tuesday nights on the main track and Sundays during the day on the grass. I gained a lot of experience in turf racing while I was there. I'm glad I went, but I'm also happy to be back and riding at Arlington this summer."
John D. Murphy & Old Coach Farm's Behind the Bluff may vie for favoritism with John Franks & Peter Abruzzo's Lost At Sea in Sunday's feature attraction, the $45,000 added Flawlessly Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at a mile and a sixteenth on the grass.
Behind the Bluff, an invader from Delaware, came from just off the pace to draw off for a two and three-quarter-length score in her last start on May 22 at Delaware Park when racing a middle distance on the main track. Before that the daughter of Pine Bluff had finished fourth in a six-furlong sprint at that Mid-Atlantic oval.
While racing at Gulfstream this winter, Behind the Bluff broke in stride to make the pace in her initial outing on the grass, but tired in the final furlong of a mile and a sixteenth race there to finish sixth.
Out of the Vanlandingham mare Crystal n Pennies, Behind the Bluff is trained by Michael Gorham and will be ridden in the Flawlessly by Chris Emigh.
Sure to provide strong competition for Behind the Bluff is Lost At Sea, who finished third in her last start in the Bay Meadows Oaks at that Northern California oval on May 26. Always well placed in that mile and a sixteenth test over the lawn, Lost At Sea lacked the needed response in the lane and was beaten a length and three-quarters at the wire.
Previously, Lost At Sea had won two in a row, capturing the $55,000 San Jose Stakes at one mile on the main track April 20 at Bay Meadows by two lengths. She had tallied by five and a half in an allowance race while racing over the dirt course at Golden Gate Fields February 3.
Lost At Sea, by the increasingly popular Lost Soldier, is trained by last year's Arlington Park trainer champion Jerry Hollendorfer and will be ridden by Rene Douglas, who captured the riding championship at Chicago's premier Thoroughbred oval.
Completing the field for the Flawlessly are: Austin K. Smith's Going Great Guns, Ray Sibille; Thomas F. Van Meter, et al.'s Guana, Shane Laviolette; Mt. Brilliant Stable LLC's Haylie's Dawn, Frank Lovato Jr.; Northwest Farms' Strikes No Spares, Larry Sterling Jr; and Gigginston House Stud's Zaffrani, Randy Meier.
Veteran jockey Randy Meier, who won two races on Thursday's program, was scoring his 500th and 501st career wins at Arlington Park. Meier won the third race aboard Wexler Stables Inc.'s Barkenlor Cat, who Earlie Fires rode in 1998 to win the 6,000th race of his career. Meier returned to the winner's circle in Thursday's finale aboard Louie J. Roussel III & Ronnie Lamarque's Master Stuart.
Jockey Shane Laviolette, fresh off his jockey championship during Hawthorne's spring meeting, won two races on Thursday's program, capturing the second race on Marco Bommarito's Rupert's Fire and the seventh aboard Golden Racing Stable's Squirrelnut Zipper.
Jockey E. T. Baird also had a riding double Thursday at Arlington, winning the fifth on Rocket 7 Racing Inc. & M375 Tbreds Inc.'s Too Many Choices, and returning to the winner's circle aboard Savoy Stable's Smoke Chaser in the eighth event.
Veteran reinsman Carlos Silva, on the cusp of the 3,000 career-win milestone, captured the first race Thursday astride Greg Besinger's Boone's Creek for career win number 2,989.
During the 18 races contested at Arlington Park during the first two days of racing, 18 different trainers have posted their first victories of the 2002 local season.
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