‘SHORTY’ PEREZ PILOTS LONGEST PRICE ON ARLINGTON’S OPENING DAY

Friday’s opening day program of Arlington Park’s 2009 Thoroughbred racing season began with a bang when jockey Eduardo “Shorty” Perez guided Charles Sigrist and Del Sol Farm’s Sam Owen to a front-running neck tally in the first race of the afternoon.

Sam Owen, trained by part owner Moises Yanez, lit up the tote board with a win payoff of $68.60 – easily the longest-priced winner of the 10-race program. Combined with the $22.60 win payoff registered by William Logue’ Littlebutlively in the second race of the day, Friday’s opening day Daily Double returned $693.20.

Trained by Emmagene Schwan, Littlebutlively was ridden by Jesse Campbell, who came right back to the winner’s circle astride the Christine Janks-trained Bosco Rules in the third.

Campbell, raised in Lake Zurich, was only Arlington jockey to post a riding double on the day and consequently enjoys a brief lead in the local standings.

Janks, who also saddled Carson Springs Farm’s Sun for Fun to win the seventh, shares leading trainer honors after one day with Larry Rivelli, who saddled back-to-back winners with Richard Ravin’s Gran Estreno in the fourth and Mario Donato’s Nana D in the fifth.

Defending Arlington jockey champion Rene Douglas rode Hugh Robertson’s He’s Bonafide to victory in Friday’s sixth race but will be in Kentucky Saturday to ride WinStar Farm’s Advice in the 135th Kentucky Derby.

Wayne Catalano, Arlington’s defending trainer champion, reached the winner’s circle for the first time this season after saddling Trigger Fish Lane to win Friday’s finale.

A second opening day longshot payoff was recorded after the ninth race when William Stiritz’s Napoleon’s Retreat returned a win price of $33.40.


CORAGIL CAT SCRATCHES OUT ANOTHER ‘TIMELESS’ VICTORY

Longtime Barrington-based owner Jim Tafel won the 2007 Kentucky Derby with Street Sense and Arlington’s 2008 Timeless Native Stakes with Coragil Cat on last year’s Kentucky Derby Day, so it was poetically appropriate that Coragil Cat won this year’s $53,400 Timeless Native on Friday’s Kentucky Oaks Day.

Trained by Greg Geier, Coragil Cat, who also captured last spring’s Grade III Hanshin Cup over Arlington’s Polytrack course, came from far back to record his first win since last year’s Hanshin.

“(Coragil Cat) just loves it here,” said Geier immediately following Friday’s opening day feature at Arlington. “We didn’t have the best of luck this winter in New Orleans at Fair Grounds with this horse, but he’s back on his favorite track now.

“I knew the other morning (April 25) when he worked a half in :47 and change that he’d run well today,” said Geier. “Diego (winning jockey Diego Sanchez) told me that day that the horse just took off when he set him down for the drive in that work, and the horse just did the same thing today.

“Speed had been holding all day (Friday),” said Geier. “This horse was 10 lengths out of it early, so I was worried for awhile, but once he started running he took off just like he did in that work.”


JOCKEY EMIGH RECORDS WIN 2,984

Jockey Chris Emigh, winner of Arlington’s 2006 leading rider title, came from last place to win Arlington’s seventh race Friday by nose in the last jump aboard Sun for Fun.

Friday’s opening day win by Emigh left the veteran Illinois-based reinsman 16 wins shy of the coveted 3,000 career-win milestone.