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Barn Notes: Friday, Sept. 2
In Today's Notes: Retiring Trainer Ron Goodridge Reminisces About Brother Brown; Arlington's Jockey, Trainer Races Still Too Close to Call; Reminder: Racing on Labor Day Monday at Arlington
RETIRING TRAINER RON GOODRIDGE REMINISCES ABOUT BROTHER BROWN
Longtime Arlington Park trainer Ron Goodridge is easing into retirement these days, but on the eve of the 77th renewal of Arlington's Grade III Washington Park Handicap the conditioner took some time off to remember the career of Brother Brown, who Goodridge saddled to win the 1994 edition of Chicago's tradition-rich classic under the listed ownership of Bowline and Kohrs.
"You could make a movie about that horse," said Goodridge. "He had problems all his life with his foot, but I guess you could still say he was the best horse we ever had, and one of the best things about him was that we ended up with a half ownership of the horse. My longtime owner Mike Bowline wanted me to buy a half interest in the horse and I was all right with that. The horse had already run two schooling races in 45 (seconds) flat.
"Brother Brown was undefeated as a 2-year-old – including a win in the Remington Park Futurity," Goodridge said. "Then during his 3-year-old year I was training him up to race when he grabbed a quarter. After that, I had to work on that thing for the rest of his career.
"But he was real special," Goodridge said. "He had incredible speed. I always thought he could have been a world class sprinter, but he had the pedigree to go long so that's what we did with him. He didn't just win the Washington Park Handicap. He won the New Orleans Handicap and equaled a track record, and then he was third in the Oaklawn Handicap behind The Wicked North and Devil His Due.
"I think he ran a total of 20 races in his career and won 15 of them," Goodridge said. "He also had two seconds and three thirds before he displaced a lower joint in his pastern and we had to retire him."
Asked about his own career and the rumors of his pending retirement, the trainer who entered Arlington's 2011 season in the top 40 of Arlington's all-time leaders demurred slightly.
"We're not coming back up here to Chicago," Goodridge said. "I may train a horse or two down at Oaklawn this winter, so if I'm not totally retired I'll be semi-retired. My wife (Beverly, who works alongside her husband at the barn every day) and I recently bought a house in Hot Springs, and if we don't get our house up here sold we'll rent it or something like that.
"I'll be coming up on 84 years old in December," Goodridge said, "and I'm starting to have a little bit of a problem with vertigo. Because of that my son-in-law Scott (trainer Mullins) saddles most of the horses now. I think that maybe it's just time to find something else to keep me busy, and I'm happy with that.
"I have two daughters, three grandkids and one great grandson," Goodridge said. "Hopefully, now we'll get to spend a lot more time with them."
ARLINGTON'S JOCKEY, TRAINER RACES STILL TOO CLOSE TO CALL
Jockey James Graham, who had a riding double Thursday at Arlington, is leading jockey J. Z. Santana, who won one race during the afternoon, by two wins going into Friday's twilight racing program, which is also the last 3 o'clock post time of the 2011 Arlington season that comes to a close on Sept. 25.
Graham was also named Arlington's jockey of the month for August, while Santana achieved those same honors in July.
In August, Graham won on 15 of his 93 mounts with over $375,000 in purse earnings, while in July Santana had 16 wins from 113 mounts and amassed $365,000 in purse earnings.
The race for leading trainer honors at Arlington this season is also a long way from a foregone conclusion.
Entering Friday's final twilight program, trainer Larry Rivelli leads his closest pursuer Scott Becker by four wins.
REMINDER: RACING ON LABOR DAY MONDAY AT ARLINGTON
Arlington guests and fans of Arlington's simulcast signal are reminded that there will be racing this Labor Day Monday at the local oval for only the third Monday program of the season.
Arlington's regular post time of 1 p.m. will be observed for the 10-race Labor Day program.