Veteran jockey E. T. Baird,
born in Chicago 44 years ago and raised in the Windy
City, has rocketed to a significant
early lead in the 2011 Arlington
Park jockey standings
based on his back-to-back riding triples Friday and Saturday at the Northwest
Baird’s Friday hat trick moved
him into a tie with Junior Alvarado, who had enjoyed a good lead in this
season’s standings before being sidelined one week earlier by a broken
collarbone suffered in a May 27 spill, and it took Baird that much time to make
up the gap.
However, Alvarado, who won the
jockey championship in 2009 and was the runner-up last year, is expected to be
out of action at least another five weeks based on an assessment by his
orthopedic specialist this week. That has left this summer’s competition
wide open and Baird has been the quickest to take advantage of it.
Alvarado still has a three-win
advantage over jockey James Graham, who had a riding double Saturday to move
into sole possession of third-place entering Sunday’s races. However,
Baird’s back-to-back triples gave him 22 wins for the season with Graham his
nearest active rival with 16 trips to the winner’s circle through Saturday’s
Baird won Saturday’s fifth
race on Scarlet Stable’s Foxie’s Boy for trainer Roger Brueggemann, the seventh
on Richard Ravin’s Top Surprize for leading trainer Larry Rivelli and came
right back to the winner’s circle after the eighth on Good Karma Stable’s
Enty’s Girl for conditioner Dale Bennett.
Although Baird has never won
championship, he finished third in 2007, again in 2009 and led at the halfway
mark of last summer’s session.
Graham, meanwhile, combined
his talents with trainer Mike Stidham to win Saturday’s late daily double, taking
the ninth with Stone Farm et al.’s Summer Savory and then felling the finale
with Joel Meredith’s Lumberyard Jack.
Veteran jockey Corey Nakatani,
who brought his tack to Arlington
last Wednesday, enjoyed a double Saturday as did Brueggemann as a trainer.
WILLIAM STIRITZ WINS OWNER OF THE MONTH HONORS
Thoroughbred owner William
Stiritz, also owner of Fairmount Park
downstate, was presented with Arlington’s
Owner of the Month Award for May in winner’s circle ceremonies last Friday.
Stiritz has had his silks
posed in the winner’s circle 11 times this year, five more than his nearest
pursuer Richard Ravin entering Sunday’s racing program. Almost half of
his runners have finished in the money, and almost a third of his starters have
won their races. His purse earnings are just shy of $200,000 so far, while none
of his rivals have approached the $100,000 mark in earnings.
Earning Trainer of the Month
honors for May was leading trainer Larry Rivelli, who enjoyed a three-win
advantage over fellow conditioner Scott Becker, who serves as leading owner
Stiritz’s private trainer.
CARLOS SILVA SADDLES FIRST HORSE AS TRAINER SATURDAY
Former jockey Carlos Silva, who
retired from the tack less than two years ago as Arlington’s
third all-time leading reinsman, officially embarked on a second career as a
trainer by saddling Asiel Stable’s Dazzlin Day to finish sixth in the eighth
Dazzlin Day bumped with a
rival leading the gate and had to be steadied but recovered to steadily improve
position despite a wide trip.
“(Dazzlin Day) got bounced
around coming out of the gate but he ran all right after that,” said Silva
Was the Chilean-born horseman
nervous during his debut as a trainer?
“Oh, yeah, I got a little
nervous,” admitted Silva. “I had butterflies going around in my
stomach. It’s a lot different saddling a horse in the paddock as a
trainer than it is getting a leg up as a jockey.”
Silva’s second scheduled
starter was Asiel Stable’s Wedgewood in Sunday’s third race of the day.