Racing & Wagering

Barn Notes: Friday, May 31, 2013

| Churchill Downs Communications | 05/31/2013 #

In Today’s Notes: Hill, Catalano, Ravin Leading as May Draws to Close; Nine-Year-Old Girl’s Birthday Gifts Directed to Galloping Out

What a difference a year makes when it comes to the fortunes of jockey Channing Hill.  As May 2012 drew to a close, the jockey who was riding at Arlington for the first time suddenly found himself without an agent and his business slowed considerably after a decent start.

Jump forward 12 months and Hill sits atop the jockey standings with 20 victories - two more than he rode here in the entire 2012 meet. It is also five more than current runner-up apprentice Emmanuel Esquivel with Hall of Famer Kent Desormeaux one more back with 14 trips to the winner’s circle.

Of course, a great deal of Hill’s success can be attributed to the fact that he is riding most of the stock for Wayne Catalano, the track’s perennial leading trainer.  Catalano has 22 wins entering the May 31 card, 18 of which were ridden by Hill.  Rivelli, the trainer who in 2011 interrupted Catalano’s multi-year streak as the meet’s top conditioner, is just three wins behind with 19.  The rest of the pack is well behind with Roger Brueggemann and Mike Stidham tied for third with seven tallies apiece.

The owners’ race is a bit tighter with Richard Ravin leading with six wins, one more than national leader Midwest Thoroughbreds of Richard & Karen Papiese.

In many ways, Brin Tabor is your typical 9-year-old girl.  Like many children, Brin would have loved to have gotten a horse for her recent birthday, but when asked by her mother, Beth, what she wanted for her birthday, Brin’s response was anything but typical.

“Out of the blue she said to us that for her birthday that she didn’t want any presents – she just wanted her friends to make a donation to an organization that helps horses,” Beth Tabor explained.  “We have an off-the-track Thoroughbred of our own. He’s 11 and he’s fantastic.  He’s out at Beau Cheval in Batavia.  The riding instructor there – Nora Fink – has been aware of (the) Galloping Out (program) and adopted a horse named Lantic from them about six months ago.”

Galloping Out is a cooperative effort between the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, Arlington International Racecourse and Hawthorne Race Course whose mission statement is “Providing funding for the rescue, care, rehabilitation, and retraining of off the track thoroughbreds.”

Brin has always had an interest in horses saying, “I’ve loved horses all my life.  They are very interesting animals and we can learn a lot from them.”

“My daughter has been riding for a little while now and through Nora, I became aware of Galloping Out and they were great to work with,” added her mother.  “They were so pleased (about what Brin was doing) that they sent us T-shirt to give the girls at the birthday party.”

Of course, Beth Tabor was worried that Brin’s friends or their parents might not abide by the request and instead give Brin more typical birthday gifts.  Her worrying proved to be unfounded.

“I was delighted that her friends and their parents went along with her idea and they all came through with checks and we raised a pretty good amount of money,” Beth Tabor said of the approximately $800 raised for Galloping Out.

“I must be doing something right,” she added.  “Both my kids are good kids (Brin’s older brother Drew is 12). This gesture came right from her heart.”

What Brin didn’t know at the time was that she was going to be getting a horse for her birthday after all.

“She didn’t even know we were getting her a horse for her birthday when she asked to do this,” Beth confirmed.  “We found a 7-year-old Thoroughbred for her. He’s not on off-the-track horse since I don’t think she is ready for that.”

Brin, of course was thrilled, with her gift. “It was a good present,” she said.  “I hope to ride in shows when I get older.”

“This whole thing has been a really good experience,” her mother added.