Racing & Wagering

Barn Notes: Saturday, Sept. 24

| Churchill Downs Communications | 09/24/2011 #

In Today's Notes: Junior Wins 4 Friday to Launch Last Days Bid for Jockey Title; Leading Trainer Honors Still Up for Grabs; Doubledown Stable, Dan Peitz, Florent Geroux Win September Awards; Lassie Heroine Rocket Twentyone Scheduled for Sunday Breeze

Jockey Junior Alvarado, Arlington's jockey champion two years ago and runner-up last year, rode four winners Friday at Chicago's northwest oval to dramatically enter serious contention for leading rider honors at the current session which comes to a close Sunday.

The 25-year-old native of Barquisimeto, Venezuela, was comfortably in front of his nearest rival this summer until he broke his collarbone in a late May spill and was forced to the sidelines for five weeks. Since returning to action on July 3 when 13 wins off the pace, Alvarado has been grinding away at the leaders – including a previous four-win day Sept. 4 – and enters Saturday's races two wins behind current leader James Graham and is tied with J. Z. Santana for the runner-up spot.

On Saturday's penultimate day of racing, Alvarado is listed to ride 10 mounts on the 11-race card while Graham is named in all 11 races and Santana is slated for nine.

On Sunday's closing day program of Arlington's 2011 season, Alvarado is named in eight races on the nine-race card, Graham is listed for seven races and Santana is scheduled to ride in six.

Alvarado's four-win day Friday began in the fourth race with a win on Ken and Sarah Ramsey's Coalport for trainer Wayne Catalano and continued in the seventh with a victory on William Stiritz's January Bee for conditioner Scott Becker. Alvarado came right back to the winner's circle after the eighth on Russell L. Reineman Stable's Batito for trainer Brian Williamson before concluding his win quartet aboard the Ramseys' Kitten Love to give Catalano a training double.

Leading trainer honors at Arlington Park's 2011 meeting were still too close to call on
Saturday morning with two racing days left before the track closes its current season Sunday.

Conditioner Larry Rivelli, who has led the trainer standings most of the summer, is being closely pursued by trainer Scott Becker, who conditions the stable of William Stiritz, Arlington's leading owner this season.

Not entirely out of the race is defending trainer champion Wayne Catalano, who posted two wins Friday and cannot yet be mathematically eliminated from the competition.

Rivelli had no horses entered Friday, but has two on Saturday and returns with five more entered for Sunday's closing day.

Becker, who won Friday's seventh race with the Stiritz-owned January Bee, is only two wins behind Rivelli entering Saturday's races, with four horses slated on that program and three more entered for Sunday.

Catalano, Arlington's trainer champion of the last six seasons and second on Arlington's all-time leading trainer list, is six wins off the pace of Rivelli entering Saturday's races but has five horses entered on that day and five more Sunday.

The Doubledown Stables Inc. of Chicagoan Richard Templer, trainer Dan Peitz and jockey Florent Geroux were presented respectively with owner, trainer and jockey of the month awards for an abbreviated September schedule in winner's circle ceremonies held Friday.

Doubledown Stables won with three of their five starters, including a win with their promising 2-year-old filly Blue Forty, who is two-for-two in her career under the guidance of trainer Jimmy DiVito.

Peitz, 54, a native of Conway, Arkansas, who is stabling at Arlington for the second straight summer, saddled five winners among his 10 starters, including an allowance win during September with Shadwell Stable's Tajaaweed, who earlier in the summer won the Grade III Arlington Handicap on Million Preview Day July 9.

Florent Geroux, 25, born in Argentan, France, and riding at Arlington for his fourth straight season, visited the winner's circle nine times in September, with five seconds and five third-place finishes from 62 mounts.

Frank Fletcher's Rocket Twentyone, heroine of the Grade III Arlington-Washington Lassie Sept. 10, is scheduled for a five-furlong breeze Sunday morning in advance of her proposed next engagement in Keeneland's Grade I Alcibiades Oct. 7.

Jerry Namy's Shared Property, winner of the Grade III Arlington-Washington Futurity Sept. 10, worked a half in 50.60 at Churchill Downs last Monday in preparation for the Grade I Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland Oct. 8.