|Arlington Park Barn Notes
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In today's notes:
Overnight rains throughout Chicagoland had Jimmy and Dennis Richard's Bonapaw believing he was back in the more familiar environs of Louisiana Thursday morning rather than at Arlington Park.
"We just got his stall dug out and dried out," said trainer Norman Miller III after training hours Thursday. "It took in a little water during the night. I think he thought he was back home there for awhile."
Miller has spent the last few weeks preparing Bonapaw for Saturday's $100,000 Arlington Sprint; a goal that was established immediately after the gelding's front running two and a quarter-length victory in the Grade III Hanshin Cup here July 20.
"We worked him 12 days out from Saturday," said Miller. "It's the same thing we always do. He went five-eighths in :57 and change in a breeze, and he was well off the rail.
"He's deceiving," said Miller, "because he does things so easy. Ray Sibille was aboard for the work, and he came back thinking they'd done it in about a minute.
"Anyway, he's doing super right now," said Miller. "If anything, he's doing a little better than he was before that last race."
In the Hanshin, contested at one mile, Bonapaw broke in stride to make the pace under clever handling by regular rider Gerard Melancon and then drew off in the final furlong. Before that, however, in the $150,000 Iowa Sprint Handicap July 4, the 6-year-old finished fourth when challenged throughout the early going. One year earlier, Bonapaw had won that Prairie Meadows race.
"Nobody hooked us last year," said Miller of the back-to-back Iowa Sprint Handicaps. "This year, a Grade I sprint winner went out with us and we knocked each other out.
"But I'm pleased with where we're at with him right now," said Miller. "Gerard is scheduled to come in and ride him again. He thinks Bonapaw has helped his career and he's willing to ship anywhere for the chance to ride him, and it's good for us, too. He knows the horse, and his experience with this horse helps us. I feel good about how we're coming into this race Saturday."
A lady visitor from Kansas City had her purse stolen from a downtown Chicago hotel last month, but returned to America's heartland in good spirits due to the extraordinary efforts of an Arlington Park employee.
Jack Silverman, assistant general manager at Trackside Chicago, was one of four Arlington Park employees being recognized for going beyond the scope of their jobs to provide exceptional customer service during the month of July.
"I just did what I thought was the right thing to do," said Silverman, when explaining the background of his ASPIRE award. "Hopefully, if I was in that situation, somebody would have done the same thing for me."
While fulfilling his normal duties at Trackside Chicago, Silverman was somewhat surprised July 20 when a customer brought in a purse he had found in a garbage can immediately outside the downtown facility.
"I looked inside the purse, and found credit cards, a driver's license, a social security card and everything else you'd expect to find," said Silverman. "However, I also found an itinerary from an airline that indicated the purse owner had a flight out of Midway at 9 o'clock.
"Well, I live near Midway, so I drove the purse out there and left it with the people at the airline," said Silverman. "I never did meet the lady, but at least she got her purse back. Hopefully, she learned a lesson about keeping her purse close by in downtown Chicago."
The grateful purse owner sent an e-mail to Trackside after arriving safely back home in Kansas City following her flight.
"I could not believe you actually drove it to Midway Airport," she said in her e-mail. "You and your staff went above and beyond."
In addition to Silverman, who has been employed at Trackside Chicago for nine and a half years, others receiving July ASPIRE awards at Arlington are Katie Blum, Josh Kitts and Lana LaCapra. All are Levy Restaurants employees.
Arlington Park chairman Richard L. Duchossois is one of two recipients of the National Turf Writers Association's Joe Palmer Award for meritorious service to racing this year.
In a rare tie after receiving the same number of votes from organization members, owner/breeder Eugene Melnyk will also receive this year's Joe Palmer Award, which is named for the late racing editor of the New York Herald Tribune.
Duchossois has been the chairman of Arlington Park since 1983 and is the owner of Hill 'N Dale Farm in Barrington, Illinois.
Melnyk was nominated for the award after donating $1 million for the construction of a child care facility located on the Belmont Park backstretch and recently purchased Mockingbird Farm near Ocala, Florida.
The awards will be presented at the NTWA's annual awards dinner to be held October 23 in Chicago, Illinois, three days before the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships at Arlington Park.
Three Twin Spires Club members will equally split a $10,000 prize for correctly selecting the complete order of finish for the Grade I Arlington Million last Saturday at Arlington Park.
The prize money was awarded as part of a special Twin Spires Club members-only promotion connected to the 20th running of the Arlington Million.
Twin Spires Club members Ronald Dilley and Phyllis Hess of Louisville, Ky. and William Busch of Elmhurst, Ill., each correctly picked the order of finish of the nine horses that contested the $1 million race, which was won by post-time favorite Beat Hollow, owned by Juddmonte Farms Inc. All three winners will split the $10,000 prize, with each receiving a check for $3,334.
Kudos to conditioners Sally Schu and Jere Smith Jr. for training doubles on Sunday's program. Schu, who saddled Starlex Farm's Private Son to win the $64,500 The Bart Stakes, has advised that the 4-year-old will be pointed for the Sycamore Breeders' Cup at Keeneland on October 6.
The Miller Lite Party In The Park band for Friday is "Tumbleweed," a classic rock band.
The Trackside Arlington Park band for Friday is "The Good Word," a reggae band.
A season-high show price of $21.80 was established Wednesday by Hans Poetsch's Willowgate in the ninth race of the afternoon.
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