Monday, September 22 2008
HALL-OF-FAME JOCKEY EARLIE FIRES RETIRES
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (Sept. 21, 2008) – Hall of Fame jockey Earlie Fires hung up his tack Sunday after guiding Frank C. Calabrese’s Manchu Prince to a fifth-place in the fifth race at Arlington Park, where he is the track’s all-time leading rider with 2,886 victories at the suburban Chicago racecourse.
According to figures from Equibase Company, Fires, 61, retires with 6,470 tallies, placing him ninth on the all-time list of the sport’s winningest riders. After more than 43 years in the saddle, Fires’ mounts have earned $86,392,977.
Fires was greeted in the winner’s circle for the final time by members of his family, fellow jockeys and members of the Arlington Park staff, including chairman emeritus Richard L. Duchossois.
Arlington Park Barn Notes: Sept. 21
SUDDEN ‘STORMY’ MAKES FOR UPSETTING WAVES OVER LAKE MICHIGAN
Tommy Ligon and Pete Nance of Cottonwood Stables were both in high cotton Sunday morning. That’s because their 3-year-old gelding named Stormy Ballad broke his maiden in the inaugural running of Arlington Park’s $100,000 Lake Michigan Stakes Saturday afternoon.
“(Stormy Ballad) was the first horse I ever bought for these owners,” said trainer Tony Granitz Sunday morning, “so I like to say we all broke our maiden together. They have horses with other trainers, like Larry Jones, but this was our first as a group. I’ve always liked Stormy Ballad, even though he hadn’t won for us until yesterday. I always knew he had a lot of talent – enough so that last month I bought his half-sister out of an OBS sale.
Sunday, September 21 2008
INDIAN BLESSING BLOSSOMS AGAIN IN GALLANT BLOOM
If the idea was to give Indian Blessing a strong race, the idea lasted for about five furlongs Saturday afternoon at Belmont Park. But suddenly, as if she had grown tired of Zada Belle’s company, Indian Blessing pulled away to an easy 6¼-length victory in the 15th running of the Grade 2, $150,000 Gallant Bloom Handicap for fillies and mares at six and a half furlongs.
The 3-year-old Indian Charlie filly has now won eight of 10 career starts, and Saturday’s winner’s share of $90,000 lifted her to more than $2 million in lifetime earnings. The champion juvenile filly of 2007, Indian Blessing is likely headed to Santa Anita for the $1 million, seven-furlong Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint on Saturday, October 24.
IT’S YOUR TURN, CURLIN!
In the days leading to next Saturday’s 90th running of the Grade 1, $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational, two words are going to be used over and over again: history and class.
Both words can be combined into one word – Curlin.
Stonestreet Stable’s reigning Horse of the Year could become the first American Thoroughbred to reach $10 million in earnings. Curlin has earned $9,796,800 and trails only Cigar, who earned $9,999,815, as racing’s top money-earner. The winner’s share of the Jockey Club Gold Cup purse is $450,000, and that would vault Curlin to the top of the money pile. Second ($150,000), third ($75,000) or fourth ($37,000) would leave Curlin short of Cigar’s mark.
Saturday, September 20 2008
Queen’s Plate champ KO’s Overskate rivals
TORONTO, September 20 * Charles Fipke's homebred Not Bourbon, who won the Queen's Plate in June, made a triumphant return to the races, turning Saturday's Overskate Stakes into a one-horse race.
The Roger Attfield trainee won the $125,000 event by 4 ½ lengths and reeled off seven furlongs in 1:21.78.
Not Bourbon hadn't raced since he finished sixth in the Prince of Wales Stakes, second jewel in the Canadian Triple Crown, at Fort Erie on July 13.
Vote Early up late in Weekend Delight
FLORENCE, KY . . . September 20, 2008 . . . Vote Early took advantage of a wicked pace to snatch the $75,000 Weekend Delight just steps before the wire at Turfway Park Saturday. The race, a filly-and-mare sprint over Polytrack, was the first stakes victory for the five-year-old mare, trained by Steve Margolis.
Rated Feisty and Conjuress were first out of the gate, but Pola’s Place flew past both along the rail, blazing quarters in :21.54 and :44.22 to open a two-length lead down the backstretch. Conjuress quickly fell back but Rated Feisty, herself rarely anywhere but first at every point of call in her career, tracked Pola’s Place and passed her in deep stretch. By then, however, jockey Otto Thorwarth had Vote Early moving on the outside, nearly lifting her stride by stride to take the neck victory. Natalicat closed to take third, another 2 1/2 lengths back. Three-quarters of a length behind, Pola’s Place stayed tough to win a photo for fourth, nosing out Valentine Fever. Final time for the six furlongs was 1:10.18.
Read more articles in the Turfway
COMMENTATOR WINS 66TH MASSCAP IN RECORD-SETTING FASHION
EAST BOSTON, MA – Commentator and jockey John Velazquez sat patiently in second position before taking the lead entering the far turn and driving home to a record-setting 14-length victory in the 66th running of the $500,000 Massachusetts Handicap at Suffolk Downs on Saturday before an exuberant crowd of 17,712.
Commentator, trained by Hall of Famer Nick Zito for owner Tracy Farmer, was sent off at odds of 1-to-10, joining Cigar (1996) as the heaviest-favorite in the history of the race. The seven-year-old gelded son of Distorted Humor covered the mile-and-an-eighth in 1:48.97 and returned $2.20 across the board. Won Awesome Dude (4.60 and 3.00) was second, a length ahead of Cuba (2.80).
Monmouth Park Recap for Saturday, Sept. 20, 2008
OCEANPORT, N.J. * At Monmouth Park on Saturday’s New Jersey Thoroughbred Festival, a program that offered 10 races exclusively for New Jersey-bred horses, Hey Chub took the Lincroft Handicap, Paradise Tonight won the Jersey Girl Handicap, and the Eleven North Handicap went to Way With Words. Eddie Castro won the latter two stakes as part of a five-win performance. In the Monmouth County Hunt Novice Stakes, Seer prevailed in a photo finish.
In the $75,000 Lincroft Handicap, 8-year-old Hey Chub made his last race a memorable one. After the victory, Hey Chub’s connections reported the Lincroft was his final race.
9-YEAR-OLD JERSEY GIANT ENDS MEMORABLE CAREER
OCEANPORT, N.J. * Jersey Giant, once New Jersey’s leading handicap horse, was retired this week * for the second time * after a long and successful career * Evening Attire, still sharp at age 10, takes aim at Sunday’s $100,000 Point Given Stakes at 12 furlongs.
One fine New Jersey-bred that will be missing from the New Jersey Thoroughbred Festival today is Jersey Giant, a former stakes winner whose excellent career came to a close this week.
WONDER MON WONDERFUL IN DEPUTED TESTAMONY STAKES
LAUREL, MD. 09-20-08---ZWP Stable’s Wonder Mon was a distant seventh racing down the backstretch but came flying down the lane to easily capture today’s feature at Laurel Park, the $50,000 Deputed Testamony Stakes for 3-year-old Maryland-breds.
Trained by Gary Capuano and ridden by Travis Dunkelberger, Wonder Mon did not pass a single horse until he was a quarter of a mile from home, but in a flash he was by all of them and he drew off to win by 6-1/4 lengths in 1:37.32 for the one mile distance on the fast main track. Casanova Jack finished second and Malibu Kid was third.
“He just galloped by them,” Dunkelberger said. “He went about his business just like we hoped. We thought a lot of this horse last year and he’s come back and is doing really good.”
Read more articles in the Laurel
Closing Argument Filly Brings $70,000 on Saturday at Keeneland
Lexington, KY (September 20, 2008) – A filly from the first crop of Closing Argument brought the day’s highest price of $70,000 at Keeneland’s September Yearling Sale.
Consigned by Claiborne Farm, agent, the filly is the first foal of the Arch mare Arch Enemy, she a half-sister to Thoroughbred Club of America (G3) winner Tenacious Tiffany.
On Saturday, Keeneland sold 248 horses for gross receipts of $3,412,900, down 35.4 percent from 2007 when 285 horses brought $5,285,300. The average of $13,762 was down 25.8 percent from last year’s figure of $18,545, while the median of $9,000 was down 25 percent from $12,000 in 2007.
Arlington Park Barn Notes: Sat. Sept. 20
WHITE SOX INSPIRED BY WINNING ‘HIT ‘N RUN’ AT ARLINGTON
Several members of the Chicago White Sox organization had reason to cheer before Friday night’s win on the road in Kansas City. The Pale Hose’ 9-4 over the Royals reduced the Sox magic number to “7,” but earlier in the day they celebrated a triumph in a different sport.
That’s because a Thoroughbred filly the group owns in a young partnership, formed earlier this year, captured the second half of Friday afternoon’s Daily Double at Arlington Park.
Hit ‘N Run Stable’s Halo and Goodbye split rivals in the late stages of Arlington’s second race to win it by head and return $17.60 for a $2 wager, allowing a pre-game celebration in the visitor’s clubhouse at Kauffman Stadium.