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Arlington Memories & Musings

Arlington Park Communications | 05/16/2014 #

By: John G. Dooley, Track Announcer

After another Winter season spent in New Orleans calling races at the Fair Grounds, it was great to also put my binoculars back into the Announcer Booth here at Arlington International for my 15th season. 15 years? Yes, time does go fast!

As I flip the 2014 Media Guide here, I’m always reminded of the names of the great Champions of the past who’ve won the coveted Arlington Million trophy. The likes of the legendary John Henry, a two-time winner (1981-1984), Manila (1987), Steinlen (1989), Awad (1995) and Mecke (1996). It brought back memories of my first Arlington Million in 2000. That year, Juddmonte Farms Chester House came to Chicago for Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel. I had enjoyed the entire week of Million festivities and events. At Post Time, it was amazing to think I was about to call one of the most prestigious turf races in the World. And as Chester House, under Jerry Bailey, went on to victory, I look back now and think of all the past winners I’ve seen since him. From brave front runners like The Tin Man and Little Mike to the French Raider Spirit One to popular Gio Ponti to Champions declared after the race was won like Sulamani and Real Solution, only one year ago. It’s the biggest day of the racing year in Chicago and hope everyone will join us this year on Saturday, August 16, 2014.

With our racing season already a couple of weeks old, already we are seeing some riders here come to the top of the leader board. It will pay to keep an eye on newcomer Sheldon Russell and Santo Sanjur. Sheldon, who’s already posted a blog on the website, had ridden here at Arlington before, but not for the entire meet. We expect him to find the winners circle more and more as the season progresses, but he is already off to a flying start. Santo Sanjur is making his first appearance here while claiming an apprentice allowance. He’s already impressed with his sense of timing and finishing skills. There are months to go in the meet, but the 18-year-old has started off very well in hopes of possibly emulating last year’s Champion Emmanuel Esquivel. 

We also have the return of veteran riders like past Champions Manny Esquivel, who I mentioned, James Graham and Chris Emigh. And Florent Geroux, riding for the likes of Wayne Catalano, Doug Matthews and Larry Rivelli, has posted his name right among the leaders. Look forward to watching them all ride hard to the finish this season.

I hope the meet here at Arlington International has started off well for all of our fans. It’s always great to hear from you so write us here or follow me on Twitter @JohnGDooley.

As always, make it a GREAT day! And hopefully, a winning one!