Racing & Wagering

Barn Notes: Sunday, June 03, 2012

| Churchill Downs Communications | 06/07/2012 #
  • Ingrid Mason

In Today's Notes: Trainer Ingrid Mason Building Career With 100th Winner Saturday; Ron Magers at Arlington for Third Chance's Saturday Breeze; Beverly D. Nominees Bizzy Caroline, Marketing Mix Win Saturday


Three years ago, Arlington trainer Ingrid Mason was exercising horses in the morning while earning a little extra money by booking appointments for horses at a local equine oxygen center during the rest of the day.

"I'm going to have to start training horses," she said during the initial days of Arlington's 2009 season. "I've got bills to pay and I need to make more than I'm making now."

With that goal firmly etched in her mind, she saddled her first horse in mid-September and then posed in the winner's circle for the first time with George Ditola's Sorry Baby on the final day of that Arlington summer session.

In the spring of 2010 at Arlington, Mason got off to a fast start with two wins during the first two days of that meet. However, this season during Saturday's second race at Arlington, she reached the first boldface milestone in her rapidly rising career by saddling Little Bear Racing Stables' Gentle Moment for a three-length tally under the underrated rider Inosencio Diego.

"This is awesome," said Mason as she exchanged fist-bumps with all the principles of Little Bear Racing. "I usually don't keep track of things like how many winners I've had, but a couple of days ago someone told me I was getting close to 100 wins. Then I got my 99th yesterday (in Friday's second race with At the Finish, a horse she partially owns in a partnership), but I wasn't at all sure I'd get to 100 with this horse today. Honestly, I thought we were in pretty tough, but this guy came through for me.

"I love these people at Little Bear," she said, speaking of Tim and Beth Easley and Don and Trish Gross. "In fact I'm very fortunate to have a lot of good owners and some very good people helping me at my barn. They all deserve the credit for this. As for Inosencio, he's awesome, too. I've really been very blessed with a great team. We do all this together."

Born in San Jose, California, in the spring of 1971, Mason had a brief career as a jockey and became an assistant trainer for Arlington trainer Jim DiVito in 2007.

"I've always been confident in my abilities as a trainer because I know where to run my horses," she said shortly after going out on her own. "I have the advantage of getting to know exactly where they belong and what they are capable of doing because I'm the one who gets on them in the mornings. I get a feel for them that way, and if there's a problem I like to nip it in the bud. That way I know when to make decisions about how they are doing.

"I really enjoy training my own horses," Mason said just two days before reaching the 100-win mark. "To me it's not work."

Longtime Chicago news anchor and avid Thoroughbred horse owner Ron Magers was on hand in the Arlington press box Saturday morning to watch the five-eighths morning breeze of his 4-year-old filly Third Chance, an Illinois-bred daughter of Kafwain that he owns in partnership with Bob Marcocchio.

Third Chance, out of Magers' Summer Squall mare Temporada, is currently being prepared for a start in Arlington's $125,000 Isaac Murphy Handicap on Prairie State Festival Day June 16 by her trainer Jim DiVito. She breezed five furlongs in 59.40 Saturday under Arlington's leading rider Francisco Torres and galloped out three-quarters in 1:13.

As a 2-year-old, Third Chance finished third in the Grade III Arlington-Washington Lassie and is currently coming off a win in Hawthorne's $125,000 Governor's Lady Handicap on April 28.

Magers plans to leave for a brief vacation in Italy's Tuscany region next week where he will join Marcocchio at his partner's rented villa before returning for the Prairie State Festival.

Catesby Clay's Bizzy Caroline, an original nominee to Arlington's upcoming Grade I Beverly D. Stakes on August 18, captured Churchill's Grade III Early Times Mint Julep Handicap by a neck on Saturday night.

Earlier in the day, Glen Hill Farm's Marketing Mix, another 2012 Beverly D. nominee, won Woodbine's Grade II Nassau Stakes by a length and a quarter. Marketing Mix also won last fall's Grade III Pucker Up at Arlington.