|Sportsman's Park Daily Notebook
Contact: David Zenner (773) 242-1121 ext. 310
Sunday, March 17, 2002
ELY OFF TO FAST START
Cutshall Racing's My Dallas' victory in Saturday's sixth race gave trainer Janice Ely her second win of the season, both coming with horses claimed last autumn. The other score came with Idarado who won a third-level allowance race on March 10.
"I can't take too much of the credit," said the modest conditioner who was the only trainer to score a hat trick at last year's Sportsman's Park meeting. "The owners have been picking them out. That's the agreement I have with them. They want to have input on the horses they buy. I told them that was fine with me as long as I have veto power once I look at their legs, and we've rejected some (horses) along the way."
My Dallas, a now 6-year-old daughter of Houston, was claimed from "Spanky" Broussard for $25,000 in October and has raced four times for her current connections, winning for a $35,000 tag at Hawthorne in December in addition to Saturday's beaten allowance race.
Idarado, claimed for $14,000 from Chris Block at Hawthorne on Dec. 19, scored in his debut under Ely's tutelage one week ago. Ely said that the long winter break between the close of the Hawthorne meet on Jan. 1 and the opening of the Sportsman's season on March 1 benefited the 6-year-old son of Mining.
"That's the luxury of having such a good winter," Ely said reflecting on the unseasonably warm and dry January and February in Chicago. "I could dink around with them with no pressure of a condition book. I could just do what they needed at the time. Idarado just ponied the whole month of January. His stifles were killing him so I kept the weight off his back and got him really comfortable with himself. Two works and he was ready to rock."
The Ely-Cutshall connection came up a half a length short of being three for three at the meet when Missyshy finished second to Lazy Sahana by that margin in a second-level allowance race on March 10.
"Missyshy got beat the last step that day," Ely said of the 4-year-old daughter of Nooo Problema who had the lead inside the eighth pole before getting caught. "They'd be a perfect three-for-three if the finish line was just a little closer."
Ely has horses for other owners, and one of those horses, Annie's Shadow, gave Ely yet another in-the-money finish Friday, but not without a little heartache.
"She got crushed (coming) out of the gate in the last (race) the other night," Ely said of the 4-year-old daughter by Shadow Launcher that she claimed for $10,000 from Theresa Sherron in November. "Bebe (jockey Lupe Macias) was tossed out the back of the gate (by Splendid Cat). That was the six horse and (my filly) was the four. Then when they sprung the gate, the five horse was like 'get me away from this goof' and took me out, knocking 'Shorty's' (jockey Eddie Perez) feet out of the irons. She was the only horse that closed all day. She was last turning for home and she closed a ton."
HANDICAPPING CENTER EXPANDED
Last year Sportsman's Park opened a new, smoke-free Handicapping Center and this year the Center has been doubled in size and expanded in service. The Center is open every day that Sportsman's is open for live racing, making it the only full-service handicapping center on the Chicago circuit.
The Center opens each racing day at noon and at 12:30 p.m. M. Scott McMannis leads an in-depth analysis of the day's races. The Center has TV monitors set to different channels (live signal, odds, gimmick probables) and has a number of electrical outlets for computer users. This year, McMannis has added a handicapper's library to the Center with a complete set of Daily Racing Forms and track programs from the beginning of the meet.
A Business Center is located inside the Handicapping Center allowing fans to send and/or receive faxes, make a copy or even connect to the Internet when business calls.
CHI TOWN CHALLENGE UPDATE
Another 25 players in the $5,000 Chi Town Challenge fell by the wayside Saturday leaving 104 contestants from the original field of 1,736. Only one, with the online moniker of Kelso47, has picked all seven winners thus far.
STERLING THREE BAGGER PUTS RIDER AT TOP OF STANDINGS
With three victories on Saturday's card, jockey Larry Sterling Jr. has taken the lead in the jockeys' race with 10 trips to the winner's circle. Defending champion Randall Meier and Alfredo Juarez Jr., who took Saturday's featured Cicero Handicap aboard Wired to Fly, are tied for second with nine wins.
Sterling's hat trick, his second in less than a week, came with Mariahs Luck in the first race, Mr Clearwater in the third and Honor Me in the fifth.
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