Racing & Wagering

Barn Notes: Saturday, June 18

| Churchill Downs Communications | 06/18/2011 #

Arlington’s Top Three Jockeys All Score Doubles Friday;Fathers’ Day Features Families and Field Museum’s Horse History; Arlington Announcer Dooley Noted Loss of B-17 Earlier This Week

Arlington jockeys E. T. Baird, Eddie Perez and J. Z. Santana, first, second and third respectively entering Friday’s races, all scored riding doubles during the late afternoon program to remain ranked in that order while separated by a single victory in one of the closest leading rider contests seen recently at Chicago’s northwest suburban Thoroughbred oval.

Baird won the seventh race on Flying Dutchman Thoroughbreds’ Old Hickory for trainer Tim Ice and the eighth on Feel The Thunder Stable’s Lookn Even Finer for Mike Stidham to earn his 25th win of the season.  Perez won the opener on Larry Owens’ Royal Posh for Mark Cristel and the sixth on Team Block’s Hoodlum for Chris Block for his 24th local score, and Santana won the fourth on Cherrywood Racing Stable II’s Happy Henrietta for Michele Boyce and the fifth on M E S Stable’s Silky Sami for Jim DiVito to get his 23rd victory this summer.

Interestingly, none of those three jockeys has ever captured a riding title at Arlington in previous seasons. Nor has James Graham, currently fourth in the standings, although he has finished second several times.

However, especially on the eve of Sunday’s Fathers’ Day and Family Day festivities at Arlington, it was the Irish-born Graham who put the jockeys’ race in the proper perspective when writing a letter to his own father back on the Emerald Isle earlier this season.

“I don’t think much about riding crowns,” he wrote to Paul Graham back in Finglas, Dublin.  “As long as I stay healthy, I am satisfied.  I hope you are doing well over there and staying healthy yourself, and I hope you come visit us soon.”

Chicago’s world famous Field Museum will make a field trip of its own to the Park Area at Arlington on Sunday for Family Day on Fathers’ Day.

Arlington’s guests will be able to explore the profound relationship between horses and humans, and discover how almost every facet of human existence has been influenced by this bond between men, women and these legendary, irreplaceable and alluring creatures.

Also, Arlington’s younger guests will get to enjoy a special horse-themed story time with Nili Yelin, the Storybook Mom.

Arlington announcer John G. Dooley, an admitted World War II history buff, was able to offer some personal perspective following the loss of the ill-fated Liberty Belle B-17 that was destroyed by fire following an emergency landing Monday shortly after takeoff from nearby Aurora Municipal Airport.

Fortunately, in Monday’s mishap, the pilot, Capt. John Hess, was able to set the plane down in farm field near Oswego, and all seven people on board escaped before the historic plane was lost to fire.

The B-17 was an essential piece of equipment during World War II, and although about 50 of them remain in one piece, less than 10 are currently deemed flight-worthy.

Late last fall, while fulfilling his announcer duties at Fair Grounds Race Course, Dooley was able to enjoy a 20-minute flight on another B-17, the Aluminum Overcast, based in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, which took off and landed from Lakeshore Airport in New Orleans.

“I was able to be in the cockpit for both takeoff and landing,” said Dooley, who has made a lifelong hobby of researching World War II history.  “Now I can always say I completed one mission.”