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An Arlington Park primer as racing returns today
Daily Herald Staff Report
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Published: 4/29/2010 12:03 AM | Updated: 4/30/2010 9:44 AM

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Ten things to know about Arlington Park's 2010 season:

Ladies Day: While Arlington opens the 2010 season today at 1 p.m., and Saturday is all about the Kentucky Derby, there's a little race called the Kentucky Oaks to be run Friday at Churchill Downs. Last year's winner was a filly, Rachel Alexandra, who went on to be Horse of the Year.

New schedule: Racing will be conducted on a four-day per week basis with live racing every Thursday through Sunday (plus holidays) through Sept. 26. Post time will be 1 p.m. on Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays with the first race on Fridays set for 3 p.m. There are a few exceptions, so check daily listings in the paper or visit

New(ish) surface: Arlington's Polytrack synthetic surface underwent a three-week inversion process recently. According to track officials, inverting the Polytrack surface "takes the portions of the that had less horse traffic and moved it to the heavier traffic areas and vice versa - bringing the track as close as possible to its 2007 composition."

Safety first: All jockeys riding at Arlington will have to enroll in the Jockey Health Information System, an internet-based medical history database developed by Keeneland's medical director, Dr. Barry Schumer.

"Arlington Park has always been an industry leader and by mandating the jockey colony's participation in this important program we can ensure that our riders will have the highest quality of care," said track president Roy Arnold.

Oh, you bet: For the first time, Arlington will offer a Pick 5 wager, a $1 minimum bet that will cover races 3 through 8 on any card with at least nine races programmed and offers a carryover provision any day the wager is not correctly hit.

Better late than never: Under new director of racing and racing secretary Chris Polzin, the track's 27-race stakes schedule, worth more than $5 million, has undergone some revisions - most significantly the track's signature event the Arlington Million and International Festival of Racing will run two weeks later than in recent years, on Aug. 21.

Familiar faces: Junior Alvarado and James Graham, the 1-2 finishers in the 2009 jockey race, renew their rivalry for 2010 with a colony that includes mainstays Chris Emigh, Inez Karlsson, Tim Thornton, Tanner Riggs, Lyndie Wade, Quincy Hamilton and Brandon Meier.

New faces: The jockey colony will include some new names this season, most notably Michael Baze, who is in from California for the first time. Other newcomers include Inocencio Diego, Angel Stanley, Anthony Groth and Julio Felix.

More familiar faces: Eight-time Arlington training champion Wayne Catalano will defend his title and head a stable area that will include horses trained by Arlington regulars Chris Block, Hugh Robertson, Moises Yanez, Larry Rivelli, Dale Bennett, Tom Proctor, Christine Janks, Donnie K. Von Hemel, Brian Williamson and Mike Stidham.

Notable among the new names for 2010 is Dan Peitz, who brings 30 head from Oaklawn Park.

Gone but not forgotten: After a solid 32-year career in which he reached the winner's circle over 3,500 times, a familiar face in the jockey colony, Rolling Meadows resident Carlos Silva. has decided to hang up his tack.

"I have had a good career, I am happy with my decision to retire from riding and my family is very supportive," said Silva, who will work as a jock's agent for Brandon Meier. "I am very excited and thank Brandon for giving me the opportunity to be his agent."