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Sportsman's Park Daily Notebook

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

Saturday, April 27, 2002


Jockey Jerry LaSala's comeback bid has gone full circle now that the veteran reinsman has scored his first victory since returning from injury last weekend. The 42-year-old native of Chicago won Friday's second race aboard Ms. Goda for trainer Pat Devereux Jr.

LaSala returned to action last Sunday after being sidelined since late February when he cracked his right ankle in a training mishap in the days leading up to the Sportsman's Park March 1 opener.

"I was working a horse out of the gate for (trainer) Gene Cilio when the saddle slipped," LaSala recalled.

Not that there's ever a good time for an injury, but it's particularly hard to get going when you miss the first part of a meet.

"I had a lot of business lined up," he continued. "I probably lost 13 or 14 winners. I just hope to get a chance from all the people that I was working horses for before the meet. It definitely feels good to be back winning races."


When you've been training as long as Charlie Vinci, you know the ups and downs of horse racing.

"There are so many highs and lows in this game," said the 72-year-old conditioner this morning as he accepted congratulations for picking up his 13th and 14th wins of the season Friday. "You just hope to ride out the highs as long as possible and hope that the lows don't last too long. It's all in cycles. The horses run good for awhile and then they tail off for a bit."

Vinci took the opener with Black Jack Jaws and returned later to capture the seventh race with Besttobeabachelor to go a perfect two-for-two on the day.


With one week to go in the Sportsman's Park meet, the race for leading owner is still up in the air. Entering Saturday's card, the Russell L. Reineman Stable remains atop the standings with 12 victories, two more than Wexler Stables and 2001 Eclipse Award winner Rick Englander.

Thanks to wins in the Grade II $500,000 Illinois Derby with War Emblem and the $100,000 Lady Hallie Handicap with Pretty Gale, Reineman has a virtual lock on the title in money earned with $547,500 in purses. He can add another $180,000 to the ledger should Pretty Gale take Sunday's Grade III $300,000 Sixty Sails Handicap.


With a 20-win advantage entering Saturday's action, Larry Sterling Jr. is all-but-assured of picking up his first Sportsman's Park riding title and his first ever crown on the Chicago circuit. However, the race for second is tight behind the runaway leader.

With 30 scores through Friday, Alfredo Juarez Jr. holds a slim two-race lead for second in the jockey standings over Chris Emigh and Jesse Campbell, who had a double of his own Friday.

Mike Reavis has a stranglehold on the top spot in the trainer standings with 32 victories through Friday but things have tightened up considerably in the battle for second.

Through Friday, Kirby remains in second with 15 wins, just one in front of the surging Charlie Vinci. Tom Dorris, who has been a steady performer all season, has 13 scores.




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