Racing & Wagering

Jesus and James Plus 8

| Churchill Downs Communications | 09/20/2009 #

In Today's Notes:

  • Jesus and James Plus 8
  • Block Outlines Plans for Fort Prado, Giant Oak
  • Spanky Broussard Reconsiders Hawthorne Gold Cup

Recently-arrived reinsman Jesus Castanon and Arlington Park regular rider James Graham put on quite a show for Arlington's guests when both jockeys enjoyed four wins apiece on the Chicago oval's 11-race program Saturday.

Panamanian-born Castanon, 36, didn't ride at Arlington this summer until Saratoga closed on Labor Day, but has been hot as a Fourth of July firecracker since that time.

Irish-born Graham, 30, a summertime Chicago regular this decade, has been in heated duel for leading rider honors with the Venezuelan-born Junior Alvarado, 24, for most of Arlington's 2009 season.

In true sportsman-like fashion, Castanon and Graham walked out of the jockey's quarters together Saturday evening while congratulating each other in the parking lot before departing in their respective automobiles.

"I really wasn't sure how well I'd do coming here this late in the season," said Castanon. "I'm very happy and pleased I've done as well as I have."

Graham, already known locally for big multiple-win days in previous summers, was equally pleased with his performance.

"Today was a very good day," said Graham. "It's always nice to have days like this. I'm satisfied. Four wins on a single day is fine with me."

Castanon and Graham both rode in New Orleans last winter at Fair Grounds Race Course.

Castanon was first to the winner's circle Saturday, taking the second half of the Daily Double aboard Homewrecker Racing Stable's Stay Sees Mom for trainer Hugh Robertson before coming right back in the third aboard Glen Hill Farm's Doctor Carina for Tom Proctor.

Castanon then took the fifth with Dallas Stewart, Tom Andres and Jeff Reynolds' Waynetta for conditioner Stewart and the sixth aboard Jim and Fran Guertler's Singer's Legacy to give Robertson a trainer's double.

Graham's quartet began in the seventh when he rode Blue Nine Stable's Ballynoe to victory to give Proctor a trainer's double, continued in the eighth with a score aboard Winchell Thoroughbreds' Zion for Eclipse Award winning conditioner Steve Asmussen, again in the ninth astride Dundalk 5's Blue Smoke Bess for trainer Chris Block and concluded in the finale on Tommie Lewis and Philip Sims' Slick Miss for trainer Sims.

Trainer Chris Block is in the midst of busy but already successful weekend. After traveling to Kentucky Downs Saturday to saddle Team Block's Fort Prado to victory in the $50,000 Kentucky Cup Dash, the Arlington Park-based conditioner returned to Chicago to breeze $150,000 Arlington Classic hero Giant Oak, owned by Virginia Tarra Trust, five-eighths in 1:01 on Sunday morning.

Fort Prado, the only five-time winner in Arlington's Prairie State Festival history, is slated to make at least one more start - with the next one coming Oct. 10 in Kentucky in Keeneland's Grade III Woodford Stakes at five and a half furlongs over the Lexington lawn.

According to Block, Giant Oak is now being considered for the Grade II Ohio Derby at Thistledown on Oct. 3.

Richard Rudolph and Michael Vranich's Stonehouse, winner of the $75,000 Prairie Meadows Handicap Sept. 12, had his scheduled future plans changed by trainer Spanky Broussard last week.

Stonehouse was being pointed for the $100,000 Michael G. Schaefer Mile Stakes at Hoosier Park, but following an outbreak of strangles at that Indiana oval, the 5-year-old son of 2000 Arlington Million winner Chester House is now more likely to run in Chicago's Grade II Hawthorne Gold Cup Oct. 3.