|Arlington Park Barn Notes 06/14/03
In today's notes:
His father gallops Thoroughbreds, his mother and sister ride barrel races and a brother rides bulls, so 16-year-old apprentice jockey Tim Thornton was well on his way to a riding career before winning the first race of his career Friday at Arlington Park.
Thornton, a native of Lake Charles, Louisiana, won Friday's fourth race aboard David Campbell's Saturday Sin for trainer Christine Janks, and the 3-year-old colt broke his own maiden as well as Thornton's when dismissed at 30-1 in the wagering.
"That other horse ran up me in the stretch, and I thought I was going to be second again," said Thornton, who finished second in his first race as a jockey in May at Arlington and again in an earlier race Friday, "but then my horse kept going all the way to the wire."
Thornton, who had a mount in the next race as well, participated in a brief winner's circle ceremony before running back to the jockeys' room to be greeted with a traditional shower of numerous substances.
"They got me real good," said Thornton Saturday morning. "They put everything and anything on me, but I had so much soap in my eyes I couldn't see all of it."
Contributing heavily to the initiation ceremonies was veteran Arlington reinsman Chris Emigh, who has served as a guiding force for the youngster during his introduction to race riding through the first 11 mounts of his career. Interestingly, it was Mark Thornton, Tim's father, who guided the young Chris Emigh as well as Emigh's twin brother Aaron in the initial phases of their own careers.
Mark Thornton still gallops horses occasionally, but his main occupation lately is as a blacksmith, and in the latter role he was unable to personally witness his son's first victory. Nevertheless, the elder Thornton was in contact with his son via cell phone immediately after the race as his son traveled between the winner's circle and the jockeys' quarters.
Although Mark Thornton, 38, trained as well as galloped horses during his multi-faceted career, he was never a jockey.
"I was too big," the elder Thornton said. "I just rode bulls and rodeoed. I just came to Chicago this summer to help Tim get his career started, but I still gallop horses sometimes."
The eldest of Mark Thornton's sons is John, who recently earned a full college scholarship. Second son Matthew is the bull rider, and Tim is the third son. Daughter Maria rides barrel races.
"But I have the greatest wife in the world and her name is Darlene," said Thornton. "She's the one who keeps us together and keeps everything going, but she's a barrel racer, too."
Veteran Arlington Park conditioner Christine Janks has already posted two training doubles this month -- the latest on Thursday -- but she also saddled Saturday Sin to give apprentice Tim Thornton the first win of his own career Friday, and Saturday Sin paid a healthy $62.40 win mutuel.
"I was surprised the horse paid that big a price," said Janks Saturday morning. "He's a slight horse, and he won't overcome a lot, so I told Tim to keep him clear. Tim did a very good job with him. The boy doesn't lose his composure, and he didn't yesterday when the horse got the lead and began to drift out. He didn't suddenly go to riding like crazy like a bug rider normally might do. He left him alone. That's just what the horse needed."
On Thursday, Janks saddled a first time starter to break his maiden in the opening race of the afternoon, and then came back to keep the perfect record of Ken Meeker & Emerald Ridge Farm's Fifteen Rounds intact with his third straight victory from three trips to the post. The trainer considers Fifteen Rounds the best horse she has had since Cycylya Zee, who won the Arlington Matron in 1976.
Janks is also the trainer of Double Audit, an undefeated 3-year-old filly owned by Sy Sommer & Jack Korngold, but Janks is quick to differentiate between the two sophomores.
"She (Double Audit) was a bit more of a surprise, because she never trained as well as he (Fifteen Rounds) did." Janks said. "Sy (co-owner Sommer) bought her and sent her to me last winter, but she'd already been broken and trained some. Fifteen Rounds has been with me since Day One. I feel very fortunate to have her, but I don't feel I contributed as much to her development.
"Fifteen Rounds still is not quite as seasoned as I'd like to see him," said Janks, "so I'll wait and see how everything goes before we look for a next start for him."
William Pacella, Ronald T. Schwed & Joe Rizza et al.'s Wiggins breezed a half mile in :47 2/5 Saturday in preparation for his upcoming engagement in the $75,000 Springfield Stakes for 3-year-olds at one mile on June 21. The Springfield is one of six stakes restricted to foals of the Illinois program that will make up Arlington Park's Prairie State Festival on that day.
"He went good," said trainer Tony Granitz on the Arlington apron shortly after the work. "He's on his game. That last race ($40,000 Hi Oak Silver Handicap May 18, where Wiggins finished third) was his first time at seven furlongs, but he's doing super since then and I think he has a great chance in this upcoming race."
Wiggins, who finished second by three-quarters of a length in the $75,000 Spectacular Bid Stakes here last September, won the restricted Marluel's Troy at Fairmount Park in October and an allowance race at Hawthorne in April by eight and a quarter lengths.
James P. DiVito & Lee Battaglia's Coach Jimi Lee, third in Churchill's $100,000 Matt Winn May 10 but facile winner of Hawthorne's $100,000 Lost Code Breeders' Cup April 10, heads a field of six named to Sunday's $46,800 Shecky Greene Stakes.
Opposing the DiVito-trained Coach Jimi Lee, who will be ridden by Marlon St. Julien, are Keith Plaisance's Cypress Cove, Chris Emigh; Padua Stables' All American Blue, Rene Douglas; Millard L. Seldin Revocable Trust & the Estate of Hoss Inman's Iceplosion, Eddie Razo Jr.; Iron Horse Racing LLC's Blackjack Boy, Curt Bourque; and T. Starr Porter's Battle Tank, Earlie Fires.
On Sunday's Father's Day program at Arlington Park, the Don MacBeth Memorial Jockey Fund will raffle off a Freedom Scooter for $2 a ticket. Proceeds go to the Don MacBeth Fund to assist injured and disabled riders.
On Saturday morning, Arlington Park Chaplain Luis Peralta and the Race Track Chaplaincy of America held a Car Wash outside Trackside Arlington Park. The local car wash earned $650 with proceeds benefiting the Chaplaincy.
Defending jockey champion Rene Douglas had a riding double Friday, winning the fifth race with Steven W. Fish & Chris Bukowiecki's Vicechairman for trainer Buckowiecki and the eighth with Starlex Farm's Private Son for trainer Sally Schu.
Frank Gesualdo & James Quarto's Forever Amber, trained by Tommy Tomillo and ridden by Ray Sibille, won Friday's finale, accomplishing the six furlongs in 1:09.98, fastest time for the three-quarters distance recorded at the current meeting.
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