Friday, May 30, 2014

Arlington International Racecourse Barn Notes: May 30, 2014

                                Contact: Michael Adolphson
(847) 385-7558
Barn Notes:  Friday, May 30, 2014       
In Today’s Notes: 
  • Mason Enjoying Solid Start to 2014 Meet
  • Rambling Richie Primed for Redemption in Springfield
  • Saint Leon vs. Sweet Luca in Sunday Allowance

        Trainer Ingrid Mason is off to an auspicious beginning to the 2014 Arlington International Racecourse meet and currently ranks third in wins (seven) behind veterans Larry Rivelli and Mike Stidham.  Like those two, she also dabbles in owning and has enjoyed a series of roles that have assisted her in getting to her current plateau of success. 
“I was a jockey and I rode for 13 years.  My ex-husband and I, during the end of that period started dabbling in owning some horses.  The last two years, I have started owning more,” Mason explained.  “I really enjoy it.  (Stakes winner) Flower Spell was my first purchase as an owner, and I adore that filly.” 
Mason, whose outstanding record of 24-7-11-2 through Friday’s card begets a salty 29% strike rate and 83% in-the-money (including a record of 16-5-7-1 with jockey Rosemary Homeister, Jr.), has been a stronger force in 2014 than in years past.  “Sometimes, with the purse structure, you really have to win – and I’m really driven here to do that.  A huge part is making sure you pay the bills and place your horses in the right spots.  That’s the hard part.  I will own horses and often sell parts of them to share in the costs.  It also allows me to maintain the training of them and make sure they get the care they deserve.”
The 43-year-old native of San Jose, California, revels in her yearly residence at the Chicagoland oval.  “I’ve been coming to Arlington since 2010, since I started training on my own.  I love Chicago.  Even though I hate the wintertime, I love Arlington,” she explained.  “It’s an amazing racetrack.  It’s beautiful and peaceful; one of the best backsides I’ve ever been on.  Plus, the people are the best, anywhere.  You can’t get a better racing secretary or staff, for that matter.  Being here is like night-and-day compared to other tracks.  It’s also a great place to bring other owners because the grandstand is so beautiful.”
An avid prospector of juvenile stock with a great feel for young horses – including first-out juvenile winner Irish Nuggets – Mason enjoys going to sales and trying to find the next big thing for herself and her clients.  “Everybody’s goal is to get to the Triple Crown races and Breeders’ Cup-type events – that’s why we go to the sale to buy babies – that’s sometimes your only shot,” she explained.  “Some owners don’t want to risk claiming an expensive high-end claimer that might have a bunch of issues.  I love going to the sales – especially in Texas.  That’s where I got Irish Nuggets.”  The aforementioned filly was an impressive winner in the first maiden special weight of the season on May 11 – garnering an 82 Equibase Speed Figure.
While the awe-inspiring possibilities of a yearling or 2-year-old sale can let the imagination run wild for both trainer and owner, Mason is quick to keep things based in reality.  “Being an owner can be hard because you have to approach it a certain way.  Many of the horses you own will not make what they cost, so you have to keep it like a hobby as an owner and like a business as a trainer,” she explained.  “But mostly, you have to take care of the horses to be successful.”
Chuck and Maribeth Sanford’s reigning Illinois 2-Year-Old Champion Colt Rambling Richie returns to the site of his maiden victory Saturday in the restricted Springfield Stakes at Arlington International Racecourse.  The son of the Indian Charlie stallion Lifestyle, who was bred and owned by Richard Ravin and then-conditioner Larry Rivelli during his juvenile season, captured the $100,000 Sun Power Stakes and $125,000 Jim Edger Illinois Futurity at Hawthorne Race Course in wire-to-wire style before being sold privately to the Sanfords and being transferred to the barn of three-time Breeders’ Cup winning trainer Pat Byrne. 
In his seasonal and new connection debut, the bay colt finished a tiring fifth of six in the restricted Land of Lincoln going six furlongs at Hawthorne on April 26, carrying six pounds more than his rivals.  Since, he has trained steadily at Churchill Downs under Byrne’s watchful eye, including a quick three-furlong move on May 24 in :36.20 – second-best of 31 moves at that distance.  
“He’s doing well.  The conditions for his last race were tough on him.  He gave a lot of weight away, and I thought I had him fitter than he was.  It seems like he got a little tired,” Byrne explained.  “We’re hoping for a much better race on Saturday.  I’ll be there and so will the Sanfords, who are from the suburban Chicago area (Marengo).  His past performances also look like he likes Arlington.”
In the Springfield, Rambling Richie will also be reunited with E. T. Baird, for whom he won both the aforementioned stakes victories.  “I’m really happy to have E. T. back on him – he knows the horse well and apparently gets along with him well, too.  So, we’ll see what happens.   It’s a tough race.  But, we bought him privately so that we could have some fun with him in Illinois, especially with the local owners.  He’s trained well, so hopefully we get it done,” Byrne concluded.
        Margaret Burlingham’s Arlington veteran and local speed demon Saint Leon returns on a three-week rest on Sunday in an allowance race which has drawn – like his season debut May 11 – quite difficult.  Expected to face the Michele Boyce-trained front-running iron horse in the six-furlong allowance optional claiming event are seven tough foes, including Fortino Inc.’s course and distance stakes winner Sweet Luca. 
        Trained by Chris Block, Sweet Luca is making his 2014 debut.  Last year, in the Illinois-restricted Addison Cammack Handicap, the son of Candy Ride handed subsequent Illinois Horse of the Year Work All Week his lone loss of 2013.  Also expected to start are the capable stakes-winning duo of Hugh Roberson-owned and -trained Bet Seattle and Terry Young and Sue Crooks’ Four Left Feet.  The latter, also trained by Young, was third in the aforementioned May 11 allowance behind William Stiritz’ talented Hogy and Saint Leon – finishing only two lengths behind the latter in a swift 1:09.86. 
Saint Leon, who is preparing for a possible defense of his Arlington Sprint crown on July 5, breaks from an advantageous post four on Sunday and gets usual pilot E. T. Baird in the saddle with a morning line of 9-5.
David ZennerSenior Manager of Communications
Arlington International Racecourse
2200 W. Euclid Ave. Arlington Heights IL 60006-0007
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