Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Trainer Jerry Calvin, a consistent summer presence in Chicago and a horseman who ranks among the top 40 of Arlington Park’s all-time leading trainers, turned back his local stalls a couple of weeks ago and will remain at his home in Hot Springs, Arkansas, for the upcoming Arlington season which opens Friday.

“I’m not calling it a retirement just yet,” said Calvin, speaking over the phone from Arkansas Tuesday morning, “I may get back in the game at some future point, but I doubt it.”

Calvin, 70, who took out his first trainer’s license in 1965, has saddled more than 600 winners during his career. Among them was the nationally-prominent filly Star Valentine as well as Monmouth’s 1980 Sorority winner Fancy Naskra.

“A lot of my longtime owners have died in recent years,” said Calvin. “People like Bill Davenport, Janelle Hembree and Bill Walsh were my dear friends as well as my owners, and the game has just become a lot less fun without people like them around. Horsemanship has become a thing of the past. A lot of owners these days want the veterinarians to run the horses for them.

“Although I was born in Ulysses, Kansas, my wife (Vera) and I have lived in Hot Springs most of our lives,” said Calvin, “But we’ve never been able to stay home for the summer. We have two daughters and three grandchildren. One of my grandsons graduates from high school in about 10 days and will be going to Ole Miss in the fall. Right now, we’re looking forward to staying home and enjoying ourselves this summer, but who knows how that will go. Maybe after a summer of all the hot weather around here we’ll change our minds.”


A year ago, Louie Roussel III and Ronnie Lamarque’s Recapturetheglory won the Illinois Derby and then ran a creditable fifth behind Big Brown in the Kentucky Derby. However, when Arlington Park opens Friday on the day before the 2009 Kentucky Derby, Chicago racing fans are expected to be able to see the local favorite back in the Windy City.

That’s because Recapturetheglory is the 7-2 second choice in the morning line for the $50,000 Timeless Native – Friday’s opening day featured event at Arlington.

“Recapturetheglory is doing very well these days,” said Lara Van Deren, assistant to owner-trainer Roussel and a respected horsewoman in her own rite. “He’s been carrying the weight he put on this winter in New Orleans very well.”

As a 4-year-old, Recapturetheglory finished third in his first start Feb. 15 at Fair Grounds and then crossed under the wire first by 2¾-lengths in his second start before subsequently being disqualified. At last asking April 9 at Hawthorne, the bay son of Cherokee Run was brushed at the start but rallied to race five-wide in the lane was up to be best by 2¼-lengths at the wire.

“He got hurt in the (Grade III) West Virginia Derby last summer, and we had to have a small chip taken out of his knee,” Van Deren said. “I think the time off was just what he needed. It seemed to do him a lot of good.

“However, he has never really run well on Polytrack,” Van Deren said. “He doesn’t seem to even go over it too well even when I gallop him. Nevertheless, as of right now, the plan is to run him in the Timeless Native.”

One thing that won’t bother Recapturetheglory if he runs Friday is the noise of the opening day crowd at Arlington.

“He got very unsettled on Kentucky Derby Day last year at Churchill because of all the Derby Day crowd noise in Louisville,” said Van Deren, “so after that we started putting cotton in his ears after he gets to the gate.”

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