Racing & Wagering

Barn Notes: Saturday, Aug. 20

| Churchill Downs Communications | 08/20/2011 #

In Today's Notes: A Saratoga Stop Sunday for Pucker Up Possibility Trac N Jam; Tony Tomillo Plays 'Wheel of Fortune'; Arlington Pick-6 Pays $59,391 Friday

Arlington-based trainer Andy Hansen usually stays pretty close to Chicago, with occasional successful stakes forays to other Midwestern ovals like Indiana Downs or Canterbury Park.

But now he's hit the big time, making his first trip to Saratoga, having arrived Thursday night to saddle Jean and Ted Barlas and Mike Porcaro's Trac N Jam in Sunday's Grade II Woodford Reserve Lake Placid Stakes.

"This is big," said Hansen, speaking over the phone from the Spa Friday when asked his initial impressions of the nation's oldest racecourse. "This is really a great place to come to. There's been a lot of history made here over the years. I'm kind of in awe of the place."

The Lake Placid is for sophomore fillies and will be contested at nine furlongs over the upstate New York lawn, and should Trac N Jam perform up to Hansen's expectations Sunday, he plans to bring her back to Chicago for a run in Arlington's Grade III Pucker Up Stakes over Arlington's world famous turf course on Sept. 17

"My filly got up here Thursday morning," said Hansen. "She shipped well and I trained her over the track this morning (Friday). She seemed to take to it real well.

"I've liked this filly since the day she came to me," said Hansen. "I've always had high hopes for her and so far she's done everything I've asked. Now it's time to see if she belongs with the big girls and we're going to find that out Sunday. Jermaine Bridgmohan will ride her."

In her last start, Trac N Jam won the $125,000 Indiana Distaff over a firm turf course at Indiana Downs July 13. Previously, she was clearly best in first level allowance company on June 24 over yielding ground at Arlington. Before that the daughter of El Corredor out of the Hennessy mare Swan River broke her maiden by 6 3/4-lengths on June 3.

Last season, Hansen saddled Law Dog Stable, Brinker Hill Farm and Mike Porcaro's Silent Candy to finish third in the Pucker Up.

Friends and fans of Arlington's late beloved longtime trainer Tommy Tomillo may want to tune in to watch the game show "Wheel of Fortune" during the month of October.

Tony Tomillo, the youngest son of the Chicago-born local horseman who died last summer, was selected as a contestant for one edition of a "Wheel of Fortune" show that was taped about three weeks ago, and rumor has it he did fairly well.

The younger Tomillo's daughter Anna had entered her father in an on-line application for possible contestants for the long-running game show earlier this summer and his name was selected.

Along with wife Gina and daughters Ashley, Anna and Abby (The "A" Team), Tony Tomillo and his family flew out to Southern California prior to his appearance on the show and got to enjoy about a weeklong vacation on the west coast.

Tommy Tomillo, who began training at Arlington in 1971, had saddled 376 winners prior to his death last season and ranked 17th among Arlington's all-time leading trainers entering Arlington's 2011 season.

A single winning Arlington Park season-high Pick-6 ticket worthy $59,391 was paid out following Friday's twilight racing program. Arlington's Pick-6 is based on a $1 wager.

The ticket was sold at the Borgata Casino through Arlington's Atlantic City hub, and the winning ticket was manufactured following a total investment of $1,700.

Arlington's highest Pick-6 payout since the track reopened in the year 2000 was $120,226, recorded on Aug. 16, 2008.

Arlington's all-time high Pick-6 payout of $269,253 was recorded on Sept. 25, 1984, closing day of that season and was part of a mandatory payout that day.

Arlington's 2011 racing season will also close on Sept. 25.