Racing & Wagering

Barn Notes: Thurs. June 30

| Churchill Downs Communications | 06/30/2011 #

The ‘Doctor’ Is In – Sunday’s Chicago Handicap;Jockey Junior Alvarado Returns to Riding Sunday at Arlington; Jockey J. Z. Santana Soars to Lead With Wednesday Triple

Dr. Zic, the mare, will shoulder the shared top impost of 121 pounds in Sunday’s featured Grade III Chicago Handicap at Arlington Park.

Dr. Zic, the man for whom the horse is named, grew up on the south side of Chicago but is currently an associate professor of Dermatology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Dr. Zic, the horse owned by Derby Lane Farm et al., upset Augustin Stable’s Informed Decision, winner of the last two Chicago Handicaps, in last year’s Grade I Madison Stakes at Keeneland.

Dr. Zic, the dermatologist, is deemed one of the top three experts in the world concerning a rare cancer called cutaneous lymphoma in which white blood cells become cancerous and infiltrate the skin.

Beth McDaniel, who owns Derby Lane Farm along with her husband Roger, was diagnosed with cutaneous lymphoma by Dr. Zic, and she and her husband have pledged future earnings from Dr. Zic, the horse, to a research fund at Vanderbilt where Dr. Zic, the physician, also serves as the associate dean of admission at the University’s School of Medicine.

“It’s really a wonderful story, and Beth is a wonderful person who wants to help other people who have her condition,” said trainer Joan Scott, who is also a part owner of the mare.  “Last year, after (Dr. Zic) won the Madison (defeating Informed Decision) we took her to Toronto where she finished second in the (Grade III) Hendrie at Woodbine.  But then we asked her to make the tough ship to Calder for the (Grade I) Princess Rooney and that didn’t work out so well.

“This year, we started her off the same way with a third place run in the Madison and then went on to the Hendrie again,” said Scott.  “But this year we’re coming to the Chicago Handicap for several reasons:  it’s at seven-eighths of a mile, it’s on Polytrack and it’s a half-day ship from Lexington.  Also, it shouldn’t be as hot in Chicago as it was in Miami last year.”

Scott, who has her headquarters in Lexington, has shipped one horse up to Arlington so far this season, winning the final race of the afternoon on June 3 with Dan Considine and Pine Lake Bloodstock’s Sheriff Bullock.

“I guess I’ll be putting my perfect record on the line Sunday,” Scott said Thursday, speaking over the phone from Kentucky, “but you’ve got to be in it to win it.”

Jockey Junior Alvarado, Arlington’s 2009 jockey champion and runner-up in the standings last season, has been named aboard multiple mounts Sunday at Arlington for the first time since being sidelined with a broken collarbone suffered in a spill May 27.

Alvarado, 25, a native of Barquisimeto, Venezueala, enjoyed a five-win lead in the 2011 standings at the time of his injury and remains within striking distance, 13 wins off the pace of current leading jockey J. Z. Santana, with more than half of 2011 Arlington racing season remaining.

Jockey J. Z. Santana, who enters Friday’s racing day five wins away from the 1,000- career win milestone, scored a hat trick Wednesday at Arlington to move two wins in front of co-runner-up riders Eddie Perez and E. T. Baird.

None of those three riders, or current fourth-place reinsman James Graham, has ever won a riding title at Arlington Park.

Santana, 32, a native of Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, who tied for leading rider honors at Hawthorne this spring, began his triple aboard Curtis Nitzsche’s Vicky’s Bar in Wednesday’s fifth race for trainer John Rednour Jr.   He came back to the winner’s circle after the eighth astride the Christine Janks-trained Zipping Away, owned by Ken Meeker and Carson Springs Farm, and came right back to the winner’s circle after the ninth aboard Steve Holland and Crown’s Way Farm’s Dancing Demonette to give conditioner Janks a training double.

Jockeys Corey Nakatani, Eddie Perez and James Graham all tallied twice during Wednesday’s races.  For Graham it was his second consecutive two-win day, coming one racing day after the Irish-born reinsman rode both halves of the Daily Double last Sunday.