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Santana Shows the Way at Arlington Park

Arlington Park.

Jockey J. Z Santana, Arlington’s leading rider by one win entering Friday’s twilight racing program, is also just three wins away from the 1,000-career victory milestone after piloting Cherrywood Racing Stables II’s Happy Henrietta to a nose victory in Thursday’s sixth race over Auglyn Stable and Terry Biondo’s Delightful Daisy, ridden by E. T. Baird and currently in a three-way tie for second in the standings.


Born in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, the 32-year-old Sanchez is listed aboard five mounts Friday, beginning with Ron Magers, Roe Conn, Robert Marcocchio and Russell Scurto’s 9-5 morning line favorite Third Chance in the first race of the day.  He returns aboard Jerry Fink, Michael Harris and Emmagene Schwan’s 20-1 shot Kitty Covenant in the third race; comes right back on Jeff Lafoy’s 2-1 morning line choice Lemon Custard in the fourth; once again in the sixth astride Robert Heckmann’s 20-1 Hot Kitten; and is scheduled to conclude his day on James DiVito, Vince Swartz and Joe Paglini’s 4-1 second choice Clocker Bob in the seventh.


Santana became the father of a baby girl subsequently named Joshinelli Santana born Monday on the Fourth of July.  Also, he tied for leading rider honors at Hawthorne during the Southside oval’s spring session.


Ironically, Santana’s nose victory Thursday was for trainer Michele Boyce, who also saddled the runner-up Delightful Daisy for an all-Boyce exacta worth $128.80.  Had the Boyce pair’s noses been reversed on the wire, Baird would have been leading rider entering Friday with Santana in a three-way tie for second with James Graham and Eddie Perez.


In the trainer standings entering Friday’s program, leading conditioner Larry Rivelli enjoys a three-win advantage over runner-up Scott Becker, who is three wins in front of Christine Janks, while defending trainer champion Wayne Catalano, who started off a little slower than usual locally this spring, has been gradually advancing of late and is currently in fourth place with one win less than Janks entering Friday.



Jockey Jesus Castanon, who guided Mike Lauffer and Bill Cubbadge’s Shackleford to a half-length tally in this spring’s Preakness Stakes, wasted little time returning to the winner’s circle at Arlington Thursday on his first day back at Chicago’s northwest suburban oval.


The 38-year-old native of Mexico City, Mexico, who finished fourth in the Arlington final jockey standings last year, piloted Midwest Thoroughbreds’ Emma’s Kiss to a three-length win in Thursday’s ninth race.


“I’m very excited to be back at Arlington,” said Castanon following his Thursday score.  “I had a fabulous spring (in Maryland on Preakness Day and in Kentucky until the Churchill spring meeting ended July 4), but for the summer this is a great place to be once again.”




French-born jockey Julien Leparoux and Jamaican-born reinsman Shaun Bridgmohan both have mounts in all three of the graded stakes on Saturday’s Million Preview Day, five weeks prior to Arlington’s International Festival of Racing Aug. 13.


Leparoux, who won the riding title at Churchill this spring, rides Bart Evans’ 5-2 morning line favorite Wasted Tears in the Grade III Modesty Handicap as a tune-up for the Grade I Beverly D., Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s 4-1 Derby Kitten in the Grade II American Derby in the local preview for the Grade I Secretariat Stakes, and the Ramseys’ Dean’s Kitten at 4-1 in the Grade III Arlington Handicap as the designed local prep for the Grade I Arlington Million.


Bridgmohan, Arlington’s jockey champion in 2005, rides Rich Ege and Team Block’s Askbut I Won’ttell at 6-1 in the early line for the Modesty ‘Cap, Team Block’s Suntracer at 6-1 in the American Derby morning line, and Lothenbach Stables’ Mister Marti Gras, pegged at 6-1 for the Arlington ‘Cap.


Should either jockey win all three of Saturday’s graded stakes, he would join jockey Cornelio Velasquez, who accomplished a sweep of the Million Preview Day stakes in 2005.




The first “Breakfast at Arlington” program of the 2011 season at Arlington will be held Saturday morning from 7:30-9:30, featuring announcer John G. Dooley, senior director of marketing and communications Howard Sudberry, and entertainment reporter Alyssa Ali.


Trainer Mike Stidham, who conditions All In Stable’s Grade II American Derby favorite Willcox Inn, and assistant trainer Benjamin Colebrook of the Christophe Clement barn, who will saddle Pozo de Luna’ 2009’s Group I Carlos Pellegrini winner Interaction in the Arlington Handicap and Moyglare Stud’s Endless Expanse in the Modesty Handicap; are expected guests.


Also, Arlington’s morning line odds-maker Joe Kristufek will host a “Big Event” chat beginning Friday evening at 7:30 in advance of Saturday’s Million Preview Day graded stakes.




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