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Barn Notes: Sunday, May 06, 2012

| Churchill Downs Communications | 05/06/2012 #

In Today's Notes: Chicago-Raised Francisco Torres Back Home at Arlington; Four Riding, Training Doubles Recorded at Arlington Saturday

CHICAGO'S FRANCISCO TORRES READY TO RIDE AT ARLINGTON AGAIN

Who says you can't go home again? Veteran jockey Francisco Torres, born in Mexico but raised in the Windy City from early childhood has been contradicting that old adage all winter long.

One of the most naturally talented reinsmen to ever grace Arlington's jockey quarters, Torres' ability was enough to allow him to enjoy success at tracks all over the Midwest at major circuits such as Louisville's Churchill Downs, New Orleans' Fair Grounds, Arkansas' Oaklawn, and locally across town at Chicago's Hawthorne, but his natural talent has often been encumbered by the caveat of intermittent substance abuse problems.

However, after bringing his tack back home to Chicago late last fall, Torres has been setting a torrid pace for himself. There is no reason, barring the unforeseen, that that pace can't continue. After arriving back at Hawthorne six weeks before the end of its fall meet, he was too late to make a run at that riding title, but he steadily climbed the ranks of those standings as he reacquainted himself with local horsemen.

Returning full-time for the spring session at that Southside oval, Torres went immediately to the top of the leader board there and never looked back.

"Everything has fallen into place for me since I got back here to Chicago and now I just want to continue my momentum going into this meet at Arlington," said Torres, speaking from Arlington's jockey's room during training hours in the inaugural days of its 2012 session. "I can't express how grateful I am to the local horsemen and for giving me the opportunity to resume my career here. I'm glad to be back my hometown and I want to stay here and accomplish the kinds of things I know I'm capable of doing."

One of those goals, well within reach, might be to win Arlington's jockey championship this summer. Somewhat surprisingly, Torres has never been able to accomplish that feat, although during the 2006 season he made an excellent run at the local championship.

"That summer, I made a real strong run at title here," said Torres. "Chris Emigh and I alternated for the lead all summer long that season, but in the last couple of racing days he kept winning races while I tailed off a little bit. I think he beat me out by 12 wins at the end.

"Now, I'm kind of at a crossroads in my career," Torres said. "I'm at a point in my life where I can still end it up on a high note. As for my past, I just have to tell myself that enough is enough. I am 43-years-old now, but I still feel young. I have been blessed with a lot of talent, and I'm doing something I love to do. I became a grandfather for the first time a couple of weeks ago, and my daughter Krystal and her baby Brandon Lee both are enjoying good health. I won the last race on opening day aboard (Ken and Sarah Ramsey's) Miss Kitten for trainer Mike Maker, so I'm off to a good start.

"I created my own monsters in the past, and I'm aware of that," Torres concluded. "Now, it's up to me to stay focused because I have so much to lose. If I can stay focused, I believe I could ride another 10 years or so. It's really all up to me."

FOUR RIDING, TRAINING DOUBLES RECORDED AT ARLINGTON SATURDAY

Jockeys Seth Martinez and Rosemary Homeister both enjoyed two-win days Saturday at Arlington to share the lead in the local rider standings entering Sunday's program.

Martinez won the first race of the day aboard K and F Thoroughbreds' Daddyspentda money for conditioner Scott Mullins and won the sixth on Jean and Ted Barlas and Mike Porcaro's Quite a Handful for trainer Andy Hansen.

Homeister, four wins away from the 2,500-career win milestone entering Sunday's 10-race card, won the second race astride Jerry Jamgotchian's Go Gladys Go for trainer Eric Reed and came right back to the winner's circle to give Reed a training double after the third on Kay Reed's Mai Tai Mama.

Reed shares the lead in the trainer standing entering Sunday with Ingrid Mason, who saddled the winner of the seventh with Big Dog Racing's Oliver, Julio Felix in the irons, and came back in the finale with Livinthedream Racing Stable's Bandini's Dream with Inosencio Diego aboard.