Racing & Wagering

Barn Notes: Wed. August 31

| Churchill Downs Communications | 08/31/2011 #

In Today's Notes: Longtime Local Owner Bruce Frazier to be Remembered Monday; James Graham On Top in Jockeys' Race After Sunday Double; Reineman Stables Seeks Washington Park 'Blue' Ribbon Saturday

Bruce J. Frazier of Park Ridge, Illinois, a longtime horse owner who raced his horses primarily at Arlington Park before dying on Aug. 24 at the age of 72 following a short illness, will be remembered with a race named in his honor on Labor Day Monday at Arlington Park.

The race will also serve as the first career start for a 2-year-old colt trained by Ken McPeek who was partially owned by Frazier. McPeek is presently undergoing the process of having the juvenile's name changed to Here Comes Frazier in time for the youngster's Monday career debut.

"He was a real special man who touched a lot of lives," said McPeek. "I only trained for him for five or six years, but mine was one of those. He was also close friends with (jockey) Pat Valenzuela, who plans to fly in to Chicago to ride the horse on Monday."

Valenzuela won Sunday's Grade I Pacific Classic at Del Mar aboard Peter and Mary Hilvers and E. W. and Judy Johnston's Acclamation. That win came 20 years after Valenzuela first won Del Mar's signature race aboard Golden Eagle Farm's Best Pal in 1991.

McPeek flew in to Chicago Tuesday to attend a Memorial Service for Mr. Frazier held in Arlington Heights, but was back at Saratoga Wednesday morning.

"Bruce was around Arlington Park all his life," said McPeek of the late Mr. Frazier. "I have horses entered in stakes up here at Saratoga on both Saturday and Sunday (in addition to Joseph Engelhart and Magdalena Racing's Dark Cove in Saturday's Grade III Washington Park Handicap at Arlington) so I won't be there at Arlington Saturday, but I plan to be there Monday to saddle this horse in the race named in Bruce's honor."

In his youth, Mr. Frazier was a pitcher in the New York Yankees' minor league system, was a lifelong Yankees fan and never missed a game when his team came to Chicago. He also attended the Kentucky Derby for 24 consecutive years.

With 17 racing days left in Arlington Park's 2011 racing season which closes on Sept. 25, jockey James Graham has assumed a one-win advantage in Arlington's leading rider standings following his riding double Sunday.

The Irish-born reinsman, 32, has never won a riding title in the United States – either at his summer base at Arlington or at his winter headquarters at Fair Grounds in New Orleans – but he has been runner-up in the standings at both tracks several times.

Graham's Sunday double began in the opener when he rode Mr. and Mrs. A. C. Asbury's Gleam of Hope to victory for trainer Mike Stidham. He then came back to the winner's circle after the sixth aboard Tom Basler, Edward Perniciaro Jr. and Elizabeth Perniciaro's first time starter Heated Debate, trained by John Cox, who was marking his own first winner at Arlington this season.

Jockey J. Z. Santana, who has led the Arlington standings most of the current season, was the first rider to reach 60 wins at the local session this summer, but Graham's Sunday double moved him to the front with 61 wins prior to Thursday's races.

Also entering Thursday's racing program, Graham is Arlington's leading money-winning rider this season with $1,409,299 in purse earnings, while Santana is clearly second best at $1,349,532. The two other jockeys with over $1 million in purse earnings are Eddie Perez with $1,024,110 and 52 wins, and Junior Alvarado with $1,016,183 and 51 wins.

Alvarado, Arlington's riding champion two years ago and runner-up last year, missed five weeks of activity this summer after suffering a broken collarbone.

The famous black, white and red silks of the Russell L. Reineman Stables were first posed following a Washington Park Handicap victory in 1993 when Powerful Punch, saddled by Arlington's living legend Harvey Vanier, took down winning honors in one of Arlington Park's most tradition-enhanced races.

On Saturday, Russell L. Reineman Stables' Color Me Blue is one of eight named to the 78th running of the Grade III test to be run for this renewal at nine furlongs over Arlington Park's Polytrack.

Color Me Blue, has won his last three starts when running over Arlington's Polytrack and will be saddled Saturday by Brian Williamson – Harvey Vanier's son-in-law.