Saturday’s fourth running of the $100,000 Illinois Owners Stakes, partially renamed each year in recognition of a specified Illinois-based Thoroughbred owner, will honor Dr. Richard Radke, 81, who remains focused on improving his own Illinois-bred band although he has retired from the medical profession.
“I’m really proud of the Illinois program and have been an avid supporter of it for more than 40 years,” said Radke, speaking over the phone Friday. Radke’s horses have been trained by Arlington’s all-time leading conditioner Richard Hazelton throughout those four decades.
Significantly, Awesome Again won the 1998 Breeders’ Cup Classic and Tiznow won back-to-back renewals of the Grade I Classic in 2000 and 2001.
“I’d really like to thank (Arlington Park chairman) Dick Duchossois for honoring me with this year’s renewal,” said Radke. “He’s been a dear friend for many years and I’d like him to know how much I appreciate it.
“I can’t be there at Arlington (Saturday),” said Radke, “but my granddaughter Claire Hannah will represent me for the trophy presentation. She’s a sophomore at Northwestern right now, and she’ll be a lot better at that sort of thing than I would be. She’s a very impressive young lady and I’m very proud of her.”
The previous three runnings of the Illinois Owners Stakes honored Avers Wexler, the late Russell L. Reineman and James B. Tafel.
GRADE I WINNER HOOH WHY HEADS SATURDAY’S DOUBLE DELTA STAKES
Derby Day Farms and Mark Hoffman’s Hooh Why, who defeated 2008 Eclipse Award-winning Juvenile Filly champion Stardom Bound in Keeneland’s Grade I Ashland Stakes four weeks ago, serves as the star attraction herself when she heads a field of 12 sophomore fillies named to Saturday’s $50,000 Double Delta Stakes on the grass at Arlington Park.
In the Ashland, contested over Keeneland’s Polytrack course, Hooh Why made the pace and then gamely held on late to win by a neck, with Stardom Bound finishing third three lengths farther back. Previously, in the Grade I Santa Anita Oaks March 7, Stardom Bound had defeated Hooh Why by two noses in their California meeting.
Hooh Why has finished first, second or third in nine of 10 career starts, including a maiden win at first asking at Arlington last July 26.
Capable of providing strong competition for Hooh Why in the eight-furlong Double Delta is William Stiritz’s Afleet Deceit, who finished second behind prohibitive Kentucky Oaks favorite Rachel Alexandra in Oaklawn’s Grade II Fantasy Stakes April 5, and also in Oaklawn’s $50,000 Martha Washington Feb. 15.
Hooh Why, trained by Donna Dupuy, has Jerry La Sala named in the irons and is 2-1 in the morning line. Afleet Deceit, conditioned by Scott Becker, has 2006 Arlington jockey champion Chris Emigh slated for the saddle and has been installed as the Double Delta second choice at 7-2.
Completing the Double Delta field is Barr Three’s Ava Mae, E. T. Baird; Ashby Thoroughbreds’ Nala’s Pride, Fernando Jara; Butterfly Stable’s Romin Robin, Diego Sanchez; G. Watts Humphrey Jr.’s Guarda, Jesse Campbell; Penny Lauer’s Rivie, Inez Karlsson; Donamire Farm’s Walloon, James Graham; Silverton Hill’s Excelente, Lyndie Wade; Jerry Jamgotchian’s Satans Quick Chick, Junior Alvarado; Robert Zoeliner’s Peach Brew, Quincy Hamilton; and Pin Oak Stable’s Sweet Relish, Eddie Razo.
2006 ARLINGTON JOCKEY CHAMPION EMIGH NEARS 3,000-WIN MILESTONE
Veteran Illinois-based jockey Chris Emigh, Arlington’s 2006 jockey champion and a rider who also boasts numerous championships at other area ovals, enters Arlington’s opening day program with 2,983 career wins.