Apprentice rider Brandon Meier, 19, son of popular local jockey Randall Meier, made Sunday's professional debut a winning one when he guided Frank C. Calabrese's Houseboat wide into the stretch and drew off to an easy 4½-length win in the fourth race at Arlington Park. Sent off as the even-money favorite, Houseboat paid $4, $2.60 and $2.40.
"I want to thank (trainer) Wayne Catalano and Frank for giving me this chance," Meier said. "I've been working for them for a while, and I'm glad my first win came for them. We were in a little tight on the turn, but then I found an opening and the horse did the rest."
A large throng greeted the Elk Grove Village-born rider in the winner's circle, including his father, his sister Emily, Catalano and Calabrese.
"It's awesome to see his first mount be his first win," said the elder Meier of his son's winning debut. "I'm very proud of him."