|Arlington Park Barn Notes
Contact: Graham Ross
(847) 385-7500 ext. 7319
In today's notes:
Stewart M. Madison's Jeremiah Jack, who relished the lawn in Louisville in his turf debut at Churchill Downs May 31, has arrived at Arlington Park in anticipation of the Grade II Arlington Classic, to be contested over the world famous grass course at Chicago's premier Thoroughbred oval June 29.
The Arlington Classic, the first Grade II event of the 2002 Arlington Park season, is also the first leg of the Mid-America Triple. That series continues with the Grade II American Derby July 21 and culminates with the Grade I Secretariat as part of the International Festival of Racing on August 17, Arlington Million Day.
"Jeremiah Jack is a very talented horse," said trainer Tom Amoss over the phone from Louisville Saturday morning. "He works really good on the grass and he'll work over your turf course either Monday or Wednesday, but he comes with one caveat in that he has had some throat problems. We hope that those are behind him -- he's been operated on twice -- but in every spot you put him in you have to keep an eye on that. You never know; you can only hope."
Prior to his five and a half-length score at the Twin Spires oval last time, Jeremiah Jack had finished sixth over the main track in the Lone Star Derby on May 11 and fifth in the Grade III Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn before on March 23.
The bay son of Patton broke his maiden here at Arlington last summer in his third trip to the post August 2. Last October 21, he won again at Keeneland and concluded his 2-year-old campaign with a five-length tally in the $150,000 Houston Texan Juvenile at Sam Houston December 1.
Veteran Illinois trainer Roy Houghton was credited with his first winner of the Arlington Park season Friday, but that win was dwarfed by his performance two days earlier when he underwent successful heart surgery at Chicago's Hines Veterans Hospital.
Houghton, 56, born in Colorado, has had previous experience trying to win on more than one front at the same time. Before beginning his career on the backstretch more than three decades ago, he served two tours of duty in Vietnam while still in the Army.
In his training career, which began under Don Ladd at Centennial Race Track but quickly gravitated to the Illinois circuit, Houghton's favorite horses have always been those claiming horses of modest talent that have done their best for him.
Fittingly, Friday's win by Sarvady Stables LLC's Faultless Appeal was somewhat bittersweet. Houghton won the race, with jockey E. T. Baird aboard, but lost the horse via the claim box.
However, in the larger scheme of things, Houghton's daughter Jamie, a clocker at Arlington during training hours, updated his successful progress Saturday morning following his mid-week surgery for an aneurysm.
"He gets out of intensive care today," Jamie Houghton said. "They'll want to keep him at the hospital for a few days for observation, but the way he goes, he'll be out here at Arlington right after they release him."
Early last April, a successful fundraiser was held for Houghton to help offset his medical bills and the Houghton family acknowledged the support of Illinois horsemen.
"The benefits all turned out great," said Jamie Houghton, "and we appreciate all the support we have received."
The always-popular "Breakfast at Arlington" makes its seasonal bow June 29 beginning at 7 a.m. on the Arlington Park apron and concluding two hours later.
The program will feature Arlington Park television personality Christine Gabriel and her co-host will be track announcer John G. Dooley during the structured portion of Saturday's program. Among the activities will be contest giveaways and interviews with racing personalities.
Admission to the track is free for the program, with a breakfast buffet available for $6.
On Sunday morning, June 30, a less structured "Breakfast at Arlington" program will be offered, with the opportunity to watch regular morning workouts in a leisurely, unstructured format. Once again, admission to the track will be free with breakfast available for purchase from 7 to 9 a.m.
Apprentice jockey Elvis Trujillo posted a total of five wins during the last two racing days, moving into an uncontested second position in the local standings with 14 wins; two off the pace of leading rider Rene Douglas. Trujillo scored a "hat trick" Thursday, recording his second riding triple of the current season. The only other rider with three wins on a single program this year is Douglas, the defending jockey champion at Arlington, who has also done it twice. With his riding double on Friday's program, Trujillo was the only jockey with multiple wins during the late afternoon session.
On June 24, 1952, Hall of Fame jockey Eddie Arcaro became the first American-born rider to win 3,000 races following a victory at Arlington Park on that afternoon.
A season high daily double payoff of $404.20 was recorded Friday at Arlington when Mast, Bieke & Gorham's The Jeckle won the first race returning $41.60 and the Roy Houghton-trained Faultless Appeal took the second race returning a $14 straight payoff.
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