Chicago-born conditioner Larry
Rivelli led Arlington’s
trainer standings from opening day until a week ago when upstaged by Scott
Becker, but after saddling two winners Thursday, he regained a one-win lead in
the standings going into Friday’s twilight racing program.
“King for a Day,” said Rivelli
Friday morning in reference to regaining the top spot. “We’re running out
of bullets, but at least we’re making a lot of ‘em count.”
Nowhere is that more evident
than in the record of Richard Ravin’s Top Surprize, the Rivelli-trained
3-year-old who is the only horse on the grounds who is four-for-four at the
meeting. Without that son of Pure Prize in his barn, who he claimed from
Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott last spring at Gulfstream, Rivelli would be
three wins in arrears of Becker, who trains exclusively for Arlington’s leading
owner William Stiritz.
After bringing Top Surprize to
Chicago from South Florida, the colt out of an Irish-bred Sadler’s Wells mare
named Well At the Top has been perfect, breaking his maiden at first asking
over Arlington’s world famous turf course May 13, returning to the winner’s
circle twice more with clear cut victories in starter allowance company on the
grass June 4 and July 3, and winning once more over the local lawn July 21 by 1
1/4-lengths in conditioned allowance company.
What’s next for the rapidly
improving grass runner who has top-level turf breeding on both the top and
bottom sides of his pedigree?
“We’re going to give him a
shot in the (Grade I) Secretariat (Stakes on Aug. 13),” said Rivelli shortly
after training hours Friday morning. “He’s been nothing but good for us
so we’re like to see exactly how far he can take us.”
The $400,000 Secretariat
Stakes, which annually attracts 3-year-olds of international turf caliber, is
one of three Grade I Stakes, along with the Arlington Million and the $750,000
Beverly D. Stakes for fillies and mare, that will make up Arlington’s one-day
International Festival of Racing on that second Saturday in August.
“The ‘sheet’ numbers
give (Top Surprize) a big shot in the Secretariat,” said Rivelli. “I’m
not strictly a ‘sheets guy’, but I do like to take everything into
“I would say that this horse
is probably one of the better claims I’ve made in my career,” said Rivelli,
“but I’ve had some go the other way, too. There’s a lot of luck involved
in the claiming game. This horse has turned out real nice for me, but I’m
certainly not going to take anything away from Bill Mott. He’s in the
Hall of Fame. I think what happened with this horse is that he just
started maturing rapidly on his own right after I was fortunate enough to get
Rivelli’s two wins Thursday
came with Richard Ravin’s Richie’s Hot Girl in the opener and Richard Ravin and
Larry Rivelli’s appropriately-named Rivrav in the fourth race of the day.
DOROCHENKO DOUBLES THURSDAY ALONG WITH RIDERS BAIRD,
Gennadi Dorochenko, enjoying a successful debut season at Arlington Park, moved
into a tie for fifth in the trainer standings entering Friday’s program after
posting two wins Thursday, capturing the seventh race with Raut LLC’s L’Aiglon
and coming right back to the winner’s circle in the eighth with Raut’s
Jockey E. T. Baird rode a
bookend double Thursday, winning the opener on Richard Ravin’s Richie’s Hot
Girl for Larry Rivelli and the finale astride Anthony Granitz and Jerry
Gryczewski’s Pirates Vow, who was saddled by trainer Granitz.
French-born reinsman Florent
Geroux also rode two winners Thursday, taking the third race with Dennis
Becker’s Minnie Sunshine for trainer Danny Miller and then winning the seventh
with Raut LLC’s L’Aiglon for trainer Gennadi Dorochenko.
TWO THURSDAY LONGSHOTS MAKE FOR EARLY PICK-4 CARRYOVER
An Early Pick-4 carryover pool
of almost $12,000 was available in Friday’s Early Pick-4, beginning in the
second race, after two 25-1 longshots tallied in Thursday’s second and fifth
races. That pool was expected to grow to an estimated $30,000 before
Friday’s second race.
Doneshaw Farm’s Carl’s C Note,
trained by Joe Griffitt and ridden by Brandon Meier, won the second half of
Thursday’s Daily Double and paid $58.20 to win; while Nancy Vanier’s Heavenly
Soul, trained by Brian Williamson and ridden by apprentice jockey Constantino
Roman, took the fifth Thursday and returned $52.20 straight.
Pick-4 is a 50-cent wager in which guests try to pick the winners of the second
through fifth races on the same ticket.