Friday, September 28, 2012

Arlington Park Barn Notes: Friday, Sept. 28


Arlington guests and fans of Arlington’s simulcast signal were tipped off to a $40.40 win payoff Thursday when Arlington television personality Alyssa Ali selected Invisible Star in a televised segment from the paddock prior to the eighth race of the afternoon.

Not so coincidentally, Invisible Star is owned and trained by Alnaz Ali, Alyssa’s father.

“He’s my favorite of all my Dad’s horses,” said Miss Ali Friday morning when speaking of Invisible Star. “I love to go to visit him in my Dad’s barn every morning. When his racing days are over, I hope he becomes a riding horse for me.

“Obviously, I didn’t want to go against my Dad when making my pick yesterday, but I didn’t pick the horse for entirely for sentimental reasons, either,” said Ali, who goes up against Arlington’s senior director of marketing and communications Howard Sudberry on television for one race each day with dueling pre-race selections. “I knew the horse had been training well lately, and when I was doing my handicapping I couldn’t find another horse that really stood out.

“One thing I have always known about this horse is that he likes to make his run on the outside,” said Ali, “and I knew that Robby (winning rider Albarado) would follow my father’s instructions to a tee. Also, Robby had already won three races earlier on the program.

“I never go into the stall to pet any of my father’s horses when they are being saddled for a race because when I do they never seem to win,” said Ali. “But earlier in the morning that day I had taken our new marketing manager Caren Johnson to my father’s barn for a visit. She’s new to racing and has never been around horses before. She came to us at Arlington from NASCAR. Dad invited her to come to the paddock for Star’s race and I asked her to pet Invisible Star for me to bring him luck. She did and Star won. It just seems like everything came together for all of us during Star’s race yesterday.”

What about for Sudberry, who picked against Invisible Star?

“I told her Dad I didn’t pick Star because I didn’t want to stick another five pounds on him,” Sudberry said. “My handicapping has been a little off the last few days.”


Veteran jockey Robby Albarado, who brought his tack to Arlington well after its 2012 session had gotten underway, rode four winners Thursday to move clearly into the sixth spot in the local jockey standings despite his late arrival on the Chicago scene this summer.

The native of Lafayette, Louisiana, who won Arlington’s jockey championship in 1996, began his Thursday win quartet in the second race of the day aboard William Stiritz’s Todi Bee for trainer Scott Becker and came right back to the winner’s circle after the third astride Honey Chile, owned by James Miller and trained by Wayne Catalano.

Albarado took Thursday’s fifth race aboard William Stiritz’s Lemondropspritzer to give Becker a training double, and concluded his four-win afternoon on Al Ali’s Invisible Star for that owner-trainer.

After Arlington brings down the curtain on its 2012 season on Sunday, Albarado will hang his tack at Keeneland for its autumn meet and then move it over to Churchill Downs for the late fall run at the Twin Spires oval.

Jockey Seth Martinez, currently in fifth place in the Arlington standings, posted a riding double Thursday, winning the sixth race aboard Midwest Thoroughbreds’ Blarney d’Or for conditioner Roger Brueggemann and the seventh on Casa de Caballos and Absolute Eventing’s Eager Em for trainer Tony Mitchell.


Team Block’s Ioya Bigtime, hero of Arlington’s Grade III Stars and Stripes this summer and subsequently the runner-up in Arlington’s $400,000 American St. Leger, worked five furlongs in 59.40 Friday morning in advance of Keeneland’s Grade III Sycamore Stakes Oct. 18.

Trained by Chris Block, Ioya Bigtime, who had regular rider Jeffrey Sanchez aboard for the move, accomplished the six-furlong distance in 1:13 and galloped out seven-eighths in 1:29.

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