The souvenir American flags distributed to Arlington’s guests on Memorial Day conjured up thoughts of the upcoming Grade III American Derby, Arlington’s oldest stakes race which will observe its 98th running less than seven weeks from now on July 14.

In its more recent history, the American Derby has served as the middle leg of Chicago’s Mid-America Triple – a three-race series for sophomores that has only been swept three times since its inception and was last completed 15 years ago by Richard Schaedle III’s Honor Glide.

Obviously, Mark Bacon and Dana Wells’ Silver Max, a Dale Romans trainee who won last Saturday’s 77th renewal of the 1 1/16-mile Arlington Classic as the first leg of the Triple, is the only horse that could end that draught this summer.

However, Silver Max has won his last four races on the grass in front-running fashion. In the American Derby, the Badge of Silver colt would be asked to carry his speed another eighth of a mile, farther than he has ever run before, and then be asked to negotiate 10 furlongs in Arlington’s Grade I Secretariat Stakes as the final leg of the Triple on Aug. 18.

Romans has won the Secretariat twice, first with Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Kitten’s Joy in 2004 and then again two years ago with Donegal Racing’s Paddy O’Prado, both of whom came from off the pace, but neither of them were asked to get the shorter distances of the American Derby or the Classic.

Would Silver Max’s breeding suggest he could get the 1 3/16-miles of the American Derby and then the 1 1/4-miles of the Secretariat?

It could. Silver Max’s broodmare sire was Kissen Kris, a Brushwood Stable color bearer who won the Secretariat in 2003 and came back the following summer to be declared the winner of the Grade I Arlington Million.


Three separate riding doubles posted by veteran jockeys E. T. Baird, Julio Felix and Seth Martinez on Sunday at Arlington helped them all stay close in the race for local leading rider honors during the same racing program that served to complete the first sixth of Arlington’s 2012 summer session.

With their two-win afternoons Sunday, Baird and Felix advanced into a two-way tie for third in the current leading rider standings with nine wins apiece while Martinez moved into a tie for fifth, one win behind Baird and Felix.

Chicago-raised Francisco Torres, who led the Arlington jockey standings with 16 wins through Sunday, is on a quest for his first championship at his hometown oval, while Irish-born defending champion James Graham held down the runner-up position with 12 wins.

Baird, born and raised in Chicago, has also never won leading rider honors here, but captured Sunday’s third race on Richard Raven’s J S P Pals Forever for trainer Larry Rivelli and came right back to the winner’s circle after the fourth aboard Gabe Grossberg’s Barb’s Buckles for conditioner Bobby Springer.

Felix, born in New York City but raised in St. Croix, Virgin Islands, won Sunday’s second race aboard Sugar Daddy Stable’s Charbourg for trainer Leo Rodriguez and came back to take Sunday’s sixth event on Stone Farm’s Sound Effect for conditioner Mike Stidham.

Martinez, born in Raton, New Mexico, swept both ends of Sunday’s late daily double, winning the eighth on Midwest Thoroughbreds’ Cat Bells for trainer Roger Brueggemann and the finale astride Diamond Racing’s Francois for conditioner Leo Gabriel, Jr.


Racing fans wanting to learn more about the art of handicapping races are reminded that “Night School” will be held Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. central time and may be accessed through

This week’s session will concentrate on Pick-6 wagering strategies.