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A man of vision: Dooley makes unusual call
By John Leusch | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 8/20/2010 12:00 AM

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Arlington Park announcer John Dooley produced a career-first when he called Thursday's ninth race.

He made the call without binoculars while watching the action on a television and looking through a window of the International Room located on the fourth floor east end of the grandstand.

It was for the "Racing for A Cure" benefit held at the Arlington Million Ladies Luncheon.

In another first for Dooley, he received a loud round of applause by all those in the room after calling the 6-furlong race.

His call sounded no different from when he stands in his regular booth located just under the rooftop and even with the finish line, toward the west end of the building.

"It was just so weird because it felt like the finish line when they got in front of me," Dooley said. "It was an interesting experience. It was all for charity so I wanted to try something different (no binoculars) so I could be more interactive with the crowd. I hope I offered a glimpse of my announcing world."

Among the luncheon guests was Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey, who stood right nearby Dooley for his call.

"That was neat," Dooley said. "Here on the eve of the Million, I see Jerry there. He was the winning rider (Chester House) for the first Million I called (2000)."

Award winners: One of the winners during the awards program for the Arlington Million Ladies Luncheon was Barrington High School graduate Caton Metzler Bredar, who will join Zoe Cadman and Jill Bryne for coverage of Saturday's Arlington Million on HRTV.

Bredar, a veteran television horse racing reporter, won the 2010 Arlington Million Ladies Media Award.

She is married to Doug Bredar, a 1984 Maine West graduate who has served as racing secretary at Churchill Downs and Gulfstream Park and as a racing official at Arlington Park.

Doug currently serves as the agent for jockey Florent Geroux, who is tied for 11th in the Arlington standings with 22 wins.

Doug and Caton got engaged in the Arlington paddock during the 1990 Million.

The 2010 Illinois Distinguished Woman in Racing Award went to Chicago native Nancy La Sala. Her husband is jockey Jerry La Sala, a Fenton High School graduate.

Nancy has served as the board president of the Permanently Disabled Jockey's fund since its inception in 2006.

Lucky Seven? Post position Nos. 1 and 2 have each won four Millions, but the winningest post is No. 7, which has produced five winners.

No. 7 in Saturday's 28th Arlington Million will be worn by Rahystrada under pilot Inez Karlsson.

"Sure, I like No. 7," Karlsson said. "It's the winningest post in the Million, plus it's a lucky number."

Karlsson's favorite number is 4 because she was born on 4-4-83.

"I don't know how the race will set up," she said. "But I think the No. 4 post would be good, too. But I like the seven for the Million."

Close call: The first race Thursday afternoon featured a pair of horses tangling up in the first turn of a turf race, sending two of Arlington's top jockeys - Junior Alvarado and James Graham - tumbling to the ground.

It appeared that Alvarado's mount, Image of Grandeur, clipped heels with the horse in front of him and stumbled, forcing Graham's mount, Fan-tan Man, to run up on Image of Grandeur from behind.

Both jockeys walked off on their own and if there were any questions about their fitness, Alvarado and Graham answered them by finishing 1-2 in the next race.

Frantic Friday: The day before the Arlington Million will be jam packed with action, beginning at 7 a.m. with Million-themed "Breakfast at Arlington" starting at 7 a.m. today.

It continues with the "Cagey Veterans vs. Young Guns" race on the turf - the fifth race on the card - and ends with "Dining with the Dynasty," where fans have the opportunity to spend the afternoon with legendary jockeys including Ron Turcotte, Pat Day, Earlie Fires and Laffit Pincay. Jr.

Tickets are still available for the "Dynasty".

• Mike Spellman contributed to this report.