|Arlington Park Barn Notes
Contact: Graham Ross
(847) 385-7500 ext. 7319
In today's notes:
Two summers ago, Irish trainer Dermot Weld shipped Highland Farms et al.'s Pine Dance to Chicago to surprise in the Grade II American Derby with a $17.20 win mutuel. The bay colt was allowed to settle early, slipped through along the inside turning for home and drew clear late for a length and a half score.
Now Weld is weighing his options once again. Ireland's all-time leading trainer made a late nomination payment last week to make Moyglare Stud's Jazz Beat eligible for the 88th running of the $225,000 American Derby July 21.
Will there be another invasion from the Emerald Isle? It's possible. Word comes from the office of the International Racing Bureau that there is an overseas race for Jazz Beat this weekend, but if the colt doesn't join that field, Weld will be coming to Arlington Park with his latest bay sophomore.
The American Derby, at a mile and three-sixteenths on the grass, is the middle leg of Arlington's Mid-America Triple, which concludes with the Grade I Secretariat as part of the International Festival of Racing on Arlington Million Day August 17.
In 2000, Pine Dance stayed for the Secretariat and made the pace for the first mile before tiring. However, that bay went on to capture the Grade III Pennsylvania Derby later that fall at Philadelphia Park.
Weld is most famous in this country for bringing Go and Go from Europe to win the 1990 Belmont Stakes.
In spite of that New York success, he was overlooked locally two years ago with Pine Dance, who had disappointed in the www.curragh.ie Handicap earlier in the month. The Pine Bluff colt had won the Maginn TV Handicap before that at The Curragh.
With two winners Wednesday, his second training double in three days, veteran conditioner Tom Tomillo slipped into a tie for third place in the Arlington Park trainer standings.
After having won numerous training titles at the Southside ovals, is there a chance he could challenge for the lead at Arlington Park, where he has never been the champion?
"It would be kind of tough here," Tomillo said Thursday morning in his Barn 26 office. "Here at Arlington there are so many different factions coming in. Wayne Catalano always gears up for this meeting, and Jerry Hollendorfer is tough anywhere he goes. I'd certainly like to win a title here, but it would be tough.
"But everything has been pretty good," Tomillo said. "We had a good meeting here last year and it continued all the way around. We did well at Hawthorne last fall, at the Fair Grounds during the winter and at Sportsman's this spring. Talknow kind of turned the tables around a little for us."
Tom Tomillo Jr. & Emilio Geloso's Talknow certainly would be on a Tomillo highlight reel. Claimed last fall at Arlington for $5,000 by Tomillo on behalf of his son and his partner, the entire son of Pick Up the Phone won next time in the allowance ranks at Hawthorne and had a win and a place at the Fair Grounds in December.
In eight starts this year, however, he has six wins and two seconds, including an impressive head tally in the $42,000 Dr. Fager Handicap June 30 against some of the best sprinters on the grounds.
"He's good right now," Tomillo said, "but you don't know how long he's going on. You don't know if he's going to go backwards.
"I nominated him (Talknow) to the Hanshin (GIII, July 20)," Tomillo said. "We nominated to take a look at it - sometimes they come up easy, sometimes they come up double tough. More than likely, we won't go in the Hanshin, but we'd really like to try and make that Claiming Crown at Philadephia Park around Labor Day.
"My son and his partner have really enjoyed this," said Tomillo of Talknow. "It's been their ride. They're the ones that wanted to claim this horse. They did it on their own. Most of my son's horse experience has been in the front office. He started as a claims clerk under Frank Gabriel (Arlington's vice president of racing and operations), but he's pretty good at keeping up on things.
"Now, my other son Tony is going to buy a horse," Tomillo said. "His brother's success is starting to rub off on him. He wants to put a package together and catch a ride on their coat tails. I hope our success keeps going, but we're always happy with what we've got.
"Of course, we wouldn't have been able to enjoy the success we've enjoyed without good help," Tomillo said. "Eduardo Rodriguez has been with me for more than 25 years, and Bobby Felks has been with me for quite a while now as well. Without those two guys, none of this would be happening."
Elvis Trujillo, the sensational hot "bug" rider whose apprentice weight allowance as a jockey ended Sunday, kept his momentum going as a journeyman with a riding triple on Wednesday's program.
The 18-year-old Panamanian began his career as a full-fledged jockey with a win in the first race of the day with Crown's Way Farm's Oggi. Trujillo returned to the winner's circle in the fourth astride Etta's Current, owned by Safari Stables, and completed his "hat trick" with Frank Gesualdo & James Quarto's Forever Amber for trainer Tommy Tomillo.
Leading rider and defending jockey Rene Douglas also scored a riding triple Wednesday, to remain four wins in front of Trujillo. Douglas' wins came in the second aboard Jere R. Smith Sr.'s Blue Jean Racer, continued with Frank C. Calabrese's Meadowminer in the fifth, and concluded with George Todaro & Jerry Hollendorfer's Old Mizzou in the eighth.
Jockey Shane Laviolette, bruised and battered but not seriously injured during a horrific spill Sunday aboard Let's Dance Nance, who also escaped serious injury, returned to ride Wednesday, accepting three mounts on the program.
Laviolette also sat with Arlington Park television personality Christine Gabriel for a brief between-race interview, describing the incident as a tape of the race and his fall was played for the television audience.
"The horse broke out and I went to correct him," said Laviolette as the head-on tape played. "I went to correct him but the outside horse had broken in and knocked me off. I found myself running between the two horses on foot.
"Then when I fell the horse behind me just happened to run me over," Laviolette said. "I was lucky I didn't really get stepped on. Thank the Lord, I'm ready to ride again."
Jockey Carlos Silva edged within four of the coveted 3,000-win milestone Wednesday when he won the sixth race astride Golden Tail Stables' Hotnightindixie for his 2,996th career victory.
Twenty years ago tomorrow, on July 12, 1982, jockey Randy Romero won five races on the Arlington Park program.
- END -