Racing & Wagering

Barn Notes: Fri. June 24

| Churchill Downs Communications | 06/24/2011 #

Ron Magers Running Third Chance in Prairie State Festival; Christine Janks Will Be at Arlington Saturday With Nine Entered

Ron Magers, longtime dean of Chicago newscasters and anchorman at ABC affiliate WLS in recent years, will be on hand for Saturday’s Prairie State Festival at Arlington, where he will watch his filly Third Chance, owned in partnership with Roe Conn and Bob Marcocchio, run in the Purple Violet Stakes for 3-year-old fillies.

Arlington’s one-day Prairie State Festival, inaugurated in 2000, is a series of six $100,000 stakes races that are restricted to horses registered, conceived and/or foaled in Illinois.

Third Chance is the third foal out of Magers’ mare Temporada.  The first one, named Stormy Afternoon, broke down early in his 3-year-old season.  The second was a filly named Azevedo (Magers’ mother’s maiden name) and she was killed in a barn fire.  Third Chance’s dam Temporada is out of Magers’ mare Lemhi Go, winner of the 1992 Arlington Matron.

Magers’ filly, a daughter of Kafwain, broke her maiden impressively at first asking on August 6 last summer at Arlington, but it was on a day that Magers’ had to anchor WLS’s 4, 5 and 6 o’clock news and he was unable to be on hand for her career debut.  The filly made her second start in the Grade III Arlington-Washington Lassie Sept. 11 and finished third, beaten less than three lengths at the wire.  She then went on to win Hawthorne’s $100,000 Showtime Deb Stakes by almost seven lengths on Oct. 30 for the second win of her career.

“I would think if she runs back to her race in the Lassie last year she could win the Purple Violet,” Magers said Friday.  “I think we should be in good shape coming into this race.  I don’t think we did her any favors this winter.  We put her in a very tough spot at Gulfstream (where she finished fifth in the Grade II Forward Gal Stakes Jan. 30) and then we took her to Tampa (where she finished fourth in the $75,000 Suncoast Stakes) and that’s a very tough track to get over the first time you run on it because it’s so deep.

“Then we shipped her to Woodbine (for the $150,000 Star Shoot Stakes April 9) and she finished sixth,” Magers said, “but I think she was just a little knocked out after all that shipping around.  Then she finished second in her last start (in Hawthorne’s $100,000 Pretty Jenny Stakes April 23) and she probably ran on class alone to do that well.  She had developed a little bit of a hoof issue, so we’ve given her some time off and are bringing her back for this race.”

Incidentally, Temporada’s fourth foal in Magers-majority-owned partnership, is a 2-year-old gelding named Banner Bill who won last Saturday’s $150,000 Victoria Stakes at Woodbine by almost six lengths.

“There’s another $150,000 stakes for him coming up at Woodbine this summer (the Colin Stakes July 16),” Magers said, “and if all goes well in there, hopefully we’ll bring him down to Arlington later in the fall (for the Grade III Arlington-Washington Futurity Sept. 10).”

Conditioner Christine Janks, seventh on Arlington’s all-time leading trainer list but easily in second place among the leading Prairie State Festival trainers, was still at her Gainesville, Florida, home base when reached at her farm Friday morning but will fly to Chicago early Saturday to be hand for Prairie State Festival Day.

“We have nine horses entered tomorrow (including six in the Festival races),” said Janks, “so it could turn out to be a really good day for us.

“In the Isaac Murphy Handicap, we have (Carson Springs Farm’s) Cruise entered, and she ran well over the Polytrack last year,” Janks said, “and (S. D. Brilie Partnership’s) Pathway is coming up to her race pretty well (in the Lincoln Heritage Handicap for fillies and mares over the Arlington turf course.)  Plus, with her we’re getting an inside post for a change.

“We have (Rob and Kelly Dobbs and Carson Springs Farm’s) Tazz in the Black Tie Affair Handicap (on the grass),” Janks said.  “We’ve been trying to get him on the Polytrack for two years now, and he really ran well over it in his last start, but he’s got pretty decent turf form, too.  However, I wouldn’t be too disappointed if the race came off the turf and the same thing goes for Pathway in her race.

“In the Purple Violet we have (S. D. Brilie Partnership’s) Goldway,” Janks said.  “She jumped up and ran a real good race on the grass last time, and she’s always worked really well over the Poly, but she’s had some shin problems in her past so she’s a little bit of an unknown for us in this race. 

“As for (S. D. Brilie Partnership’s) Big Looie in the White Oak Handicap, he’s probably not the best horse in there but things happen and you can’t win it if you’re not in it, and he did win the Springfield last year so we’re going to try him again in this spot.”