Chicago Barn to Wire


Sportsman's Park Daily Notebook

Contact: David Zenner (773) 242-1121 ext. 310

Monday, March 11, 2002


One horse that left a lasting impression during Saturday's windy race card at Sportsman's Park was a 3-year-old filly named Scarlet O'Hara, who won the seventh race by six lengths. Randall Meier was aboard the Tom Swearingen-trained daughter of Just a Cat who led every step of the 5-furlong dash.

"She's doing pretty good," said Swearingen Monday morning. The conditioner has been battling the flu and was absent for the horse's score in the first-level state-bred allowance race but was back at the track the following day. "She seems to be maturing now. She lacked maturity last year and was always so anxious. She's starting to develop and maybe she'll be able to run farther than she has so far.

"I thought somebody else might have gone out there with her," Swearingen said when asked if he was surprised that she had gotten such an easy lead Saturday. "She's a rapid filly when she's comfortable."

Saturday's victory should set up the chestnut filly nicely for the $100,000 Violet Stakes, one of six state-bred restricted races on Illinois Champions Day, March 30, though as an Illinois-foal, Scarlet O'Hara will be running for a share of the $75,000 base purse only.

"We'll probably take a shot at (the Violet)," Swearingen said. "We'll at least take a look at it to see how it shapes up."

Swearingen is no stranger to the Illinois Champions Day winner's circle with no fewer than five such victories including two in the Violet, Galaxy Girl in 1998 and Key's To Astra in 1999.

"Scarlet O'Hara might be my sole candidate for this year's Illinois (Champions) Day," he said. "Some horses prosper with age. I hope she is one that does."


As of Monday morning, 291 players remain from the original field of 1,736 contestants for the $5,000 Chi Town Challenge. Nearly 700 players were eliminated each of the first two days with another 84 falling by the wayside on Sunday.


Nelson Bunker Hunt's Hattiesburg will be the likely starting highweight in Saturday's $100,000 Cicero Handicap. The daughter of Mutakddim is slated to tote 118 pounds, three less than assigned to highweight Spanish Glitter who is not expected to start in Saturday's six-furlong headliner.

Trained by Tom Amoss, Hattiesburg rattled off five straight victories last year culminating with a half-length score in the Grade III Azalea Breeders' Cup at Calder Race Course. She later added a win in a Churchill Downs allowance race to her ledger. In her last start she finished third behind My Brent's Diamond and Hallowed Dreams in the $75,000 Pan Zareta Handicap at the Fair Grounds on Feb. 9.

Among those she'll face Saturday are: John Conforti's Capitol View (117 pounds); My Jo Lee Stable II's Soul Onarazorsedge (116): Wexler Racing Stable Inc.'s Adam's Time (115); Rick Englander's French Teacher (114); Edwin H. Wachtel's Wired To Fly (113); and Wexler Racing Stable Inc.'s Feminine Fury (110).


Thirty years and one week ago today, on Saturday, March 4, 1972, jockey Randall Meier scored his first career victory aboard Gridner at Fonner Park in Nebraska. As a harbinger of things to come for the now 47-year-old reinsman, the daughter of Silver King II won in front-running style.

"I remember that I rode a horse on the Friday card named Sacky Sue and then got my first winner the next day on Gridner," Meier recalled in the jockey's room earlier this week. "I remember that weekend like it was yesterday."

"Who did you ride yesterday?" fellow jockey Larry Sterling Jr. chimed in.

"Hell if I know," responded Meier.


Jockey/trainer combination of Ray Sibille and Gene Cilio combined for a double on Sunday's card scoring in the opener with Vibes and again in the third race with Coping. Both horses were sired by Ide.




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