Racing & Wagering

Barn Notes: Wednesday, September 05, 2012

| Churchill Downs Communications | 09/05/2012 #

In Today's Notes: Tanner Riggs Returning to Arlington After Winning Canterbury Title; Sweet Redemption Set for Saturday's Arlington-Washington Lassie

Long tall jockey Tanner Riggs was in the midst of his drive down from Minnesota to Chicago when reached on his cell phone shortly after Labor Day.

The 23-year-old South Dakota native had just completed a successful summer season at Canterbury Park, winning leading rider honors at the Minnesota oval, but was bringing his tack back to Arlington for the remainder of the local meeting which comes to a close September 30.

"I wanted to go back up to Canterbury this summer because I wanted the opportunity to ride more horses," Riggs said. "I didn't go up there expecting to be leading rider. Things just worked out for me that way. I had a real good agent – hooking up with Richard Grunder when I got there and he got me a lot of mounts. We worked very well together, so I'm glad I decided to make that move.

"Three different times I won five races in a day up there so that was a big thrill," Riggs said. "I think I ended up with 74 winners and also had a couple of Quarter Horse wins. However, now I'm really looking forward to coming back Arlington to get back in the barns of some of the Chicago horsemen who rode me in the past. You get to ride better horses at Arlington."

Riding the whole meeting at Arlington last summer, Riggs finished ninth in the standings with 37 wins. He also picked up his first Arlington stakes win aboard the Frank Kirby-trained Wild Hope in the 2011 Isaac Murphy Handicap.

"I've also won three riding titles at Hawthorne over the last couple of years," said Riggs, "so I'll be going on down there after the Arlington season ends."

Although Riggs had ridden at Arlington full time since 2008 before this summer, he was no stranger to Canterbury. As a South Dakotan, he had begun his career at the bush tracks of his native state, but quickly graduated to the Minnesota circuit.

"When I first rode at Canterbury I still had the bug," Riggs said.

After the 2006 Canterbury season, he tried coming down to Hawthorne for the first time without success, but finished third in the standings at the Southside oval in the fall of 2007, won his first title there in the fall of 2009, repeated that feat in the spring of 2010 and again the following spring.

"I'm looking forward to getting back to Arlington, seeing my old friends and also get the opportunity to ride better horses," Riggs concluded. "I think I have three mounts on the first day I get back."

Canadian-born horseman Greg de Gannes will ship Southern Chase Farm's Sweet Redemption south across the world's friendliest border to contest the Grade III Arlington-Washington Lassie on Saturday.

The $150,000 Lassie, Chicago's showcase event for 2-year-old fillies is contested at one mile out of Arlington's main track chute and will be observing its 77th renewal this weekend.

Sweet Redemption, a precocious daughter of D'wildcat out of a Silver Deputy mare, has made only one start in her career but that was a winning one in Woodbine's $150,000 Ontario Debutante Stakes Aug. 11.

"I've always thought very highly of this filly but thought I had another filly to run in the Debutante," said trainer Greg de Gannes, speaking over the phone from Woodbine mid-week. "However, the other filly got hurt so I went ahead and put this one in there. I had a feeling the race would come up short and it did.

"I've done that once before with success," said de Gannes in reference to the unusual tactic of allowing a horse to make its first start in a stakes race. "Fortunately, things worked out for us once again this time. The filly who finished second (in the Debutante) is a very nice filly. We had to run hard to beat her but we were able to run her down at the wire.

"(Sweet Redemption) is an Indiana-bred," de Gannes said. "The people who own her are Greg and Karen Dodd who have their farm in Ocala, Florida, but a few years ago they shipped a few of their mares to Indiana to foal. That's how that came about.

"The filly will leave for Arlington this evening," de Gannes concluded, "and I'll come down Friday night. Alex Solis will come down to Arlington to ride her."