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Calabrese, Catalano, Douglas Take Meet Titles
The 96-day meeting at Arlington Park ended Sunday, Sept. 21 with owner Frank C. Calabrese, trainer Wayne Catalano and jockey Rene Douglas taking season crowns in their respective divisions.
The white and black diamond silks of Calabrese were displayed in the winner’s circle on 69 occasions, five shy of his own mark of 74 victories set last year. Calabrese has been leading owner in races won at Arlington Park every year since sharing the title with Lothenbach Stables in the year 2000. Calabrese has also been leading owner in purses earned in 2001, 2002 (excluding Breeders’ Cup Day), 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008, and was leading owner in purses won among non-Arlington Million winners in 2000 and 2004.
Catalano, who saddled most of Calabrese’s winners this year as well as a handful for other owners, sent out 62 winners in 2008. Catalano picked up his fourth straight training crown and his seventh in the last nine seasons. He has also been leading trainer in purses earned in 2002 (excluding Breeders’ Cup Day), 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2008.
Jockey Rene Douglas picked up his second straight riding title and sixth Arlington crown overall with 107 victories, 36 more than runner-up James Graham, who enjoyed his best Arlington season to date. Douglas became the first jockey to garner four consecutive Arlington crowns (2001-04). He was leading money earning jockey in each of the years he won the riding title. His 2008 season included seven stakes victories topped by Mr. & Mrs. Bertram R. Firestone’s Winchester’s score in the Grade I Secretariat Stakes.
Kamel Chehboub’s Spirit One, trained by Philippe Demercastel and ridden by Ioritz Mendizibal, took the Grade I Arlington Million on Saturday, Aug. 9. The Million win was the first in the race for all of Spirit One’s connections.
Trainer Christophe Clement picked up his third Beverly D. victory when Robert Scarborough’s French-bred mare Mauralakana took the mile and three-sixteenths grass test. Clement previously scored in the sister race to the Arlington Million with Baron Edouard de Rothschild’s England’s Legend in 2001 and again last year with Monceaux Stable’s Royal Highness.
On-track highlights centering on the human element of the sport included the emergence of the meet’s “Rising Star” apprentice jockey Brandon Meier, son of local riding legend Randy Meier, who won the first race of his career in his very first mount on May 11; the continued improvement of apprentice rider Inez Karlsson who surpassed young Meier for the apprentice jockey title in the meet’s waning days; and “career years” for both James Graham and Jesse Campbell.
However, the most notable human moment of the meet was the conclusion of the Hall-of-Fame career of Arlington Park’s all-time leading jockey Earlie Fires, who hung up his tack on closing day following a fifth-place finish in the fifth race aboard Frank Calabrese’s Manchu Prince. He retired with 2,886 local scores and 6,470 wins overall, placing him ninth on the all-time national list.