Breaking News Bar
updated: 8/13/2012 9:52 PM

Fires ready for Arlington's Jockey Challenge this year

hello
Success - Article sent! close
 
 

In last year's Jockey Challenge Race on Arlington Million weekend, legendary rider Earlie Fires just missed getting to the winner's circle, finishing second for the second straight time.

"I probably should have won that race last year, but I wasn't fit enough," Fires admitted recently.

Order Reprint Print Article
 
Interested in reusing this article?
Custom reprints are a powerful and strategic way to share your article with customers, employees and prospects.
The YGS Group provides digital and printed reprint services for Daily Herald. Complete the form to the right and a reprint consultant will contact you to discuss how you can reuse this article.
Need more information about reprints? Visit our Reprints Section for more details.

Contact information ( * required )

Success - request sent close

Well, the 65-year-old isn't taking any chances heading into Friday's third running of the event, and if you're at Arlington early enough you'll see Fires out on the track working horses in preparation.

"I'm getting pretty fit now," said Fires, who retired in September 2008 with 6,470 lifetime victories. "I started getting on one horse a morning a little over a week ago, but I'm picking up the pace."

Joining Fires in Friday's eighth race at one mile on the turf will be former riders Larry Melancon, Patti Cooksey, Frank Lovato Jr. and Zoe Cadman. They will be competing against Arlington's top five active jockeys, a list headed by Francisco Torres and James Graham.

Cooksey will ride 3-1 morning-line favorite Stanley G., and Cadman will be aboard second favorite Hungry Wildcat. Fires' mount, Texas Hedge, is listed at 15-1.

And the winner is?

In races on Arlington's world-renowned turf course, it's often tough to tell for both the trained and untrained eye.

Not having a finish-line pole on the turf course will do that to you.

As it is now, there is simply a strip of tape that looks like a colorful Band-Aid affixed onto the inner rail of the turf course.

Arlington jocks have figured out where the line is, but the question is, how will jockeys who come to town just for Million Day handle things?

An Arlington source said officials are looking into the issue and may have at least a temporary pole set up by the weekend.

That would make for a good finish.

A look ahead:

Friday's Jockey Challenge Race is just one of many special events during Million Week.

Things kick off Wednesday with the postposition draw for the Arlington Million, Beverly D. and Secretariat Stakes at noon from the WGN-TV studios.

The annual Arlington Million Ladies Luncheon "Racing for the Cure" will be Thursday in the International Room from 11:45 a.m. until the end of the day's racing card. For ticket information, call (708) 267-6706 or email to zimms1948@aol.com.

On Million Day, gates open at 10 a.m. and the first post is 12:15 p.m.

The day starts with a Jockey Legends autograph signing from 10 a.m. to noon. Daily Herald and horseplayernow.com handicapper Joe Kristufek hosts a handicapping session at 11 a.m. at the Starting Gate Theater.

General admission on Million Day is $18.

He said it:

"I think the 1 miles is a legitimate question, but I don't think he'll have a problem with it."

-- Trainer Dale Romans, whose Million entrant, Little Mike, will be making his first start beyond 1 miles.

Share this page
Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.
    help here