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Barn Notes: Friday, July 15
In Today’s Notes: Yankee Injunuity Tries for Another Hit in Arlington Sprint;Country Day In Saturday’s Arlington Sprint After Long Layoff;Coach Jimi Lee Retired – Again; Arlington Park Paddock Patter
YANKEE INJUNUITY TRIES FOR ANOTHER HIT IN ARLINGTON SPRINT
Two years ago, Encore Racing and Jim McMullen’s Yankee Injunuity launched a belated bid in the $100,000 Arlington Sprint in time to catch Carl Moore’s Chamberlain Bridge in the last strides, and that rival went on to win last year’s Arlington Sprint and later the Grade II Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs.
On Saturday, the Jim McMullen trainee, now owned by Encore Racing and McMullen’s girlfriend Ginger Haas, will try for an, uh, encore in Arlington’s 5 1/2-furlong turf sprint after winning one start at Indiana Downs at 7 1/2-furlongs early last month but failing in a later one when asked to go a mile.
Interestingly, McMullen’s close friend and major league pitcher Ted Lilly could not be in attendance at Arlington on the day of the 2009 Arlington Sprint because he had a commitment a few miles away – earning the 100th victory of his career at Wrigley Field while employed by the Chicago Cubs.
As it happened, Yankee Injunuity’s new co-owner and Cory Miller, the Cubs bullpen catcher, grew up together, and Lilly’s wife Tasha, an equine veterinarian, had spurred Lilly’s interest in horseracing.
However, Lilly has gone west to the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Yankee Injunuity headed somewhat south in his form for his next dozen starts after the 2009 Sprint before reaching the winner’s circle once again on June 7. If he’s as good as he was when he beat Chamberlain Bridge, he’s all the way back.
COUNTRY DAY IN SATURDAY’S ARLINGTON SPRINT AFTER LONG LAYOFF
Richard, Bertram and Elaine Klein’s Country Day has not raced for almost nine months, but trainer Steve Margolis, who knows how to bring horses back after long layoffs and also something about sprinters, has been working the 5-year-old son of Speightstown steadily at Churchill Downs.
Margolis, who saddled Padua Stable, John Iracane and Joseph Iracane’s Cajun Beat to win the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Sprint in 2003, has been working Country Day steadily of late, most recently July 8 when the horse got five furlongs over sloppy going under the Twin Spires in 1:02.60.
Previously, Country Day breezed three-eighths in 36.80 June 27, a half-mile June 20 in 47.60 and a bullet five furlongs over the Louisville lawn in 1:02.20 on June 14.
Country Day won the $60,000 Hot Springs Stakes over a wet-fast track at Oaklawn in March of 2010 and finished second in Fair Grounds’ $60,000 Colonel Power Stakes one month before that over the Stall-Wilson turf course in New Orleans.
In his most recent trip to the post last October at Keeneland, he won an allowance race by 1 1/4-lengths before undergoing surgery shortly thereafter.
COACH JIMI LEE RETIRED – AGAIN
Lee Battaglia and James DiVito’s Coach Jimi Lee, who finished second in the Arlington Sprint in 2006 before the main track was converted to Polytrack, has been retired, according to trainer DiVito.
The 11-year-old gelding goes out to pasture for the second time in his career after returning to racing from an earlier retirement three years ago. Following a second place finish last September at Hoosier Park, Coach Jimi Lee was a well-beaten sixth last November at Hawthorne and made one start this year last Monday at Prairie Meadows where he finished ninth after winning three renewals of the Iowa Sprint Handicap in previous seasons.
DiVito won Thursday’s opener at Arlington with a 2-year-old first time starter named Twelve Hundred, owned by B Jock LLC. The Chicago native and son of the late longtime Arlington-based trainer Pete DiVito is four-for-four with 2-year-old first time starters at Arlington this season.
ARLINGTON PADDOCK PATTER
Jockey Chris Emigh, Arlington’s leading rider in 2006, won the 800th race of his Arlington career on Sunday when he rode William Stiritz’s Honour First to a neck victory for trainer Scott Becker.
Jockey Jerry La Sala won his 300th race of his Arlington career on Thursday when he guided ANJ Farms Marengo and Georgianna Justice’s Hurracane Katie to a five-length score for conditioner Gary Delong.
Jockey E. T. Baird, moved from 10th to ninth among Arlington’s all-time leading riders – passing former jockey Juvenal Diaz – when he rode Wendell Yates, Tim Leary and Matt and Scott Maberry’s Well Excuuuze Me to a length and a half win Thursday for trainer Wayne Catalano, who had a training double for the day.