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Arlington Park workouts begin for April 29 opener
By John Leusch | Daily Herald Staff

Jockey Jose Condelas has a little trouble with Smokindubi, left, as he separates from the pony horse as race horses work out for the first time this season, on Wednesday.


George LeClaire. | Staff Photographer

Jockey Jose Condelas rides 3-year-old Yesnabay as race horses work out for the first time this season on Wednesday in preparation for the Arlington Park season opener on April 29.


George LeClaire. | Staff Photographer

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Published: 4/14/2010 7:56 PM | Updated: 4/15/2010 10:01 AM

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Activity is stirring again at Arlington Park's barns.

That means racing is right around the corner for the historic Northwest suburban thoroughbred track, which opened it doors in 1927.

Four Sallee vans containing about 30 horses from the prominent stable of Frank Calabrese rolled though the gate on Monday, and the first workouts got under way at dawn on Wednesday.

"We're getting ready for another big meet," Calabrese said. "I think we've got 30 at Arlington now, with another batch coming soon."

New Arlington Park racing secretary Chris Polzin expects the track's 35 barns to be full by opening day, April 29, when Arlington opens a 91-day meet that continues through Sept. 26.

"The track has a good man there in (Polzin)," Calabrese said. "He's a smart man and will do a good job."

Racing will be held four days per week - Thursday through Sunday - for the entire season with special holiday Monday cards on May 31 (Memorial Day), July 5 (Independence Day observed) and Sept. 6 (Labor Day). Until then, the Hawthorne Racecourse in Cicero will continue to run its thoroughbred card through April 25, with the Sixty Sails Handicap race on Saturday.

Arlington can house 2,140 horses in its stable area and many of the same trainers from recent years are expected to be back at Arlington, including Nick Canani, who trains for Calabrese.

Calabrese, the leading owner at Arlington every year since 2000, also has been the leader in money won in seven of the last nine years.

Since last season ended, Calabrese's stock has been spread around to Hawthorne, Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Fla., and a few at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans.

He is the leading owner with 22 races won through April 10 at the current Gulfstream Park meeting.

"That's a good meet down there and to be leading owner is a really good thing," said Calabrese, who is looking forward to another successful season at Arlington Park.