Racing & Wagering

Barn Notes: Thurs. June 9

| Churchill Downs Communications | 06/09/2011 #

Arlington Trainer Miller, ‘Sunshine’ Show Heart Wednesday;‘Shorty’ Scores a Hat Trick; Shoots to Second in Standings;Advance Wagering on Belmont Stakes at Arlington Friday

Veteran Arlington Park trainer Danny Miller, who had successfully surgery to implant new pacemaker in his chest on Tuesday, was released from the hospital Wednesday morning in time to saddle the winner of the second half of Arlington’s Daily Double early that afternoon.

“Winning a race sure helps in the recovery process,” said Miller Thursday during training hours after posing in the winner’s circle with Dennis Becker and Rick Bost’s Minnie Sunshine after Wednesday’s second race.

“The pain isn’t too bad,” said Miller, “but I’m really sore because they had to make a bigger pocket to put the new pacemaker in.  The old one I had implanted in 2007 was smaller, but it wasn’t doing the job anymore.”

Miller enjoyed his best Arlington season in 2009 when he saddled Frank Calabrese’s Romacaca to win the $50,000 Diamond Ring Stakes in July, the $50,000 Hatoof Stakes in August and finish second in that September’s Grade III Pucker Up Stakes.     

Minnie Sunshine, a 4-year-old daughter of 2002 Belmont Stakes winner Sarava, had been away from competition since last August at Arlington prior to Wednesday’s win.

“She’s a pretty nice filly, and that looked like a pretty good spot for her after a layoff,” said Miller.  “I wanted to put her in a spot where I thought she could win.”

When in the winner’s circle Wednesday following the previous day’s operation at Elmhurst Memorial Hospital, the Chicago-based trainer had his arm in a sling.   

“That’s just kind of a reminder to keep me from raising my arm,” said Miller.  “I’m not allowed to raise my elbow above my shoulder for at least 30 days, so I can’t go grabbing a horse or anything like that for a little while.”

Longtime Arlington-based jockey Eddie Perez, who finished fifth in the local rider standings last season, enjoyed a riding triple Wednesday at Arlington to move into sole possession of the second spot at the current session.

The native of Taluca, Mexico, who at 4’ 11” in height goes by the nickname of “Shorty,” enters Friday’s program three wins behind the early leader E. T. Baird as the second quarter of the local season gets underway.

Wednesday’s triple by Perez began in the opener aboard Charles Sigrist’s Appeal With Zeal for trainer Moises Yanez, continued in the fifth with Louie Roussel III and Ronnie Lamarque’s Hero’s and Crooks for conditioner Roussel and concluded in the seventh aboard Team Block’s Lake in the Sky for trainer Chris Block.

Perez has now visited the local winner’s circle 20 times this season, with one more victory than 2009 Arlington champion Junior Alvarado had registered when sidelined by a broken collarbone in a spill on May 27 here.

Also on Wednesday, jockey Corey Nakatani, who will ride Zayat Stables’ Nehro in Saturday’s Belmont Stakes but has been hanging his tack at Arlington this summer, rode two winners during the afternoon, as did French-born jockey Florent Geroux.  Respectively, Nakatani and Geroux currently rank 11th and 12th in the standings.

Advance wagering on Saturday’s Belmont Stakes, third jewel of Thoroughbred racing’s 2011 Triple Crown, will be available at Arlington Park Friday, one day prior to the 143rd running of the Test of Champions.

The Belmont features a rubber match between Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom, who races in the silks of Team Valor, and Preakness hero Shackleford, owned by Michael Lauffer and W. D. Cubbedge, but also allows the first seven horses under the wire in this spring’s Kentucky Derby to seek redemption.

Friday’s acoustic rock band for Party in the Park at Arlington will be the “Dave Tamkin Trio,” and for Saturday’s Summer Bash Country Day, when the first 250 guests will receive free foam cowboy hats, the band in the Park Area will be “Suburban Cowboys.”