Racing & Wagering

Barn Notes: Saturday, May 4, 2013

| Churchill Downs Communications | 05/05/2013 #

In Today’s Notes:  Rivelli Wins Three on Opening Day; Desormeaux Wins with First Mount; Willcox Inn Works Toward Summer Stakes; Block Trainees Impress

Trainer Larry Rivelli got Arlington International Racecourse’s meet off to a wire-to-wire start in the meet opener with debuting Richieslildarling, a 3-year-old filly homebred owned in partnership with co-breeder Richard Ravin.

“Nice to be back on this side of town,” said winning  jockey Quincy Hamilton.  As to the slightly damp 48-degree weather, “I don’t care if it’s rain or shine in the winner’s circle, as long as I’m winning.”

By the end of the day, Rivelli had three wins and a third from eight starts, including two wins with Hamilton.  Currently batting over 20% for the year, Rivelli contends in five more races today.  “We got here early and a lot of horses like the track.  For the most part, knock on wood, we are hitting on all strides,” he said.

As to whether or not he can once again win the meet title, as he did in 2011, “if we keep it up like this, we can.  We just have a lot of horses that fit; cheap horses, good horses – there seems to a space for all of them.”

In his first race as an Arlington-based jockey, Hall of Famer Kent Desormeaux got his meet off to a storybook start in his first ride, aboard RedBob Farm’s appropriately named Between Dreams. 

“It felt easy – it’s easy to do when mounted with good horses.  I’m thankful for the opportunity.  I got the monkey off my back,” Desormeaux said with a joyful sigh of relief.  The win was the first of the meet for Dale Bennett, who also won in his only other race of the day, substantiating why he clicked with 27% of his runners at last year’s meet.

Desormeaux went on to win the nightcap aboard Doubledown Stable’s O T B Bob to go two for five on the day, plus a second on Hugh Robertson’s Awesomo in the fourth.  With a tone that was both humble and elated, Desormeaux summed it up with “that was a lot of fun.  I’m having fun out there.”

Multiple stakes-winning Arlington favorite Willcox Inn turned in a solid breeze of 1:02.00 for five furlongs, this morning.  “He worked very well,” trainer Mike Stidham reported of Lael Stable and All In Stable’s 5-year-old horse.  “He seems to really like training on the Polytrack here at Arlington.” 

According to Stidham, “he will probably work again next week.  We are on target for the Dixie (Stakes) at Pimlico.”  After that Preakness undercard stakes, it would not be surprising to see the winner of 2011’s Arlington Classic and American Derby show up later this season in the Arlington Million.  Last season, he began his year with a victory in an optional claimer at Arlington, followed by a respectable eighth in the Million behind Little Mike, beaten only five lengths.

Trainer Chris Block unleashed three solid stakes performers this morning: 2011 American Derby and Arlington Classic runner-up Suntracer worked a solid six panels in 1:13.80 – the best of four at the distance. 

“He went really well.  He is being aimed toward similar races to last year.  There’s an Illinois stakes on June 15 ($100,000 Black Tie Affair Handicap) we are looking at, with maybe a prep beforehand,” said Block. 

Promising sophomore filly I O Ireland blazed five furlongs in 1:00.00, earning the co-bullet of 31 works at the distance, this morning.  The daughter of leading sire Giant’s Causeway is a half-sister to Arlington favorite Ioya Bigtime, also from the Block barn. 

“She looked great.  We didn’t have the best winter with her, so we’re trying to get her back on track and go from there,” Block said of Team Block’s homebred.  The Illinois-bred filly ran in three open stakes at Gulfstream Park this winter, including a solid fourth in the $100,000 Listed Sweetest Chant Stakes, but disappointed in two others.

Another promising charge from the Block barn, the regally-bred stakes-placed Bambazonki also impressed with a  work at the same distance in 1:00.60.  Lothenbach Stable’s Florida-bred son of Hard Spun, out of an Unbridled’s Song mare, placed behind Kentucky Derby contender Charming Kitten earlier this year, and is being aimed toward the Grade III $150,000 Arlington Classic on May 25.