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Barn Notes: Saturday, June 02, 2012

| Churchill Downs Communications | 06/07/2012 #
  • Roger Brueggemann is training horses for the powerful and vast Midwest Thoroughbreds

In Today's Notes: Roger Brueggemann Uncomfortable Under Glow of Limelight; Stidham, DiVito Downplay Chances for Leading Trainer Honors

ROGER BRUEGGEMANN UNCOMFORTABLE UNDER GLOW OF LIMELIGHT

Arlington trainer Roger Brueggemann is a nice guy with a ready smile – not truculent in the least – but he doesn't like the limelight.

"I just don't like to talk about myself," Brueggemann explained during training hours on a recent morning at Arlington, one day after he saddled two winners to place himself firmly in the hunt for leading trainer honors at the local session. "For some reason, things never seem to work out for me whenever I do that."

That distaste of interviews could become a bit problematic for the 66-year-old conditioner born in Leesville, Louisiana, in the future – because the longtime Chicago-based horseman is currently carrying a lot of ammo in his barn. However, due in some measure to his easy affability, his wishes are to be respected.

Brueggemann was willing to confirm some of the details of his background, and that will have to suffice for now for those Chicagoland racing fans have asked for more information about him.

Perhaps the most interesting fact about Brueggemann is that he worked for 30 years as a mechanic before he became a trainer, and oddly that career ended when a horse rolled over on him and broke his hip.

"It was just a riding horse," Brueggemann admitted with some reticence – "just an old quarter horse. It was all just an accident."

After becoming a trainer in the late '80s, Brueggemann spent some time on the southern Illinois circuit before coming to Chicago in 1992. He won his first training title at Hawthorne in the spring of 2007 and successfully defended that honor in the spring of 2008.

That same spring he took three horses to Prairie Meadows for a single racing program and won with all three – two of them in stakes events.

This season, after finishing eighth in the Arlington standings last year, Brueggemann has painted himself squarely in the race for leading trainer honors due to a successful association with Arlington's current leading owner stable. That outfit, like its trainer, has discouraged any public attention in its past.

"Is That All There Is?" the noted lyricists Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller asked in a song recorded by late inimitable Peggy Lee more than four decades ago.

That's all, folks.

STIDHAM, DIVITO DOWNPLAY CHANCES FOR LEADING TRAINER HONORS
Trainer Mike Stidham, one win off the pace established by defending trainer champion and current leading conditioner Larry Rivelli entering Saturday's racing program, was asked if he had a chance to be leading trainer at the end of the meeting.

"I doubt it," Stidham said during training hours Saturday morning. "I don't have that kind of outfit. I just hope things keep going the way they've been going for me, and if they do I'll have a great meet."

Conditioner Jimmy DiVito, who held down the fourth spot in the trainer standings Saturday morning with one less win than Roger Brueggemann, was asked the same question on Friday morning.

"I don't have enough horses," DiVito said. "I don't do too much claiming. My stable mostly develops a lot of young horses."

DiVito, incidentally, is defending champion Rivelli's uncle, and predicted his nephew might win the local title once again this season.