How badly did 63-year-old retired jockey Earlie Fires want to win the "Cagey Veterans vs. Young Guns" race Friday at Arlington Park?
Just ask the eventual winning jockey in the race, Inez Karlsson, who guided Saint Leon to his third straight win and fourth in his last five starts this year, this one in front-running style.
"At the three-eighths pole, I looked back and I could see Earlie (on Bobby Sands) coming," Karlsson said. "He was blowing hard and I didn't know if it was the horse or him."
As it turned out, it didn't matter who it was because Saint Leon drew off for a 4-length victory with Fires and Bobby Sands second.
"I was following one of the current jockeys (Junior Alvarado), I figured he knew the pace so I was sitting along side of him, and then I didn't have enough horse," Fires said. "It was a lot of fun to do it, and everyone got interested."
Saint Leon paid $5.80, $4 and $3.20 as the 19-10 betting favorite. Bobby Sands returned $3.60 and $3.20. Serengeti Tour paid $5.20.
Minus one: Marsh Side, entered Tuesday for Saturday's 28th running of the Arlington Million, has officially been scratched for the race, leaving a field of nine, including morning-line favorite Gio Ponti.
Tune in: The Million will be shown live in a half-hour telecast airing today from 5 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet Chicago.
Hosted by Chicago sportscaster and longtime horse racing enthusiast Howard Sudberry, the 30-minute program will feature contributions from Daily Herald and horseplayernow.com handicapper Joe Kristufek, Arlington Park paddock analyst Jessica Pacheco and Arlington Park reporter Alyssa Ali.
The Beverly D and Secretariat will also be shown, on tape delay.
New trophy to hold: Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville will present the Arlington Million trophy after today's race.
Quenneville, of course, has been lifting the Stanley Cup trophy in recent months after the Blackhawks earned their first league championship since 1961, winning the 2010 Stanley Cup.
• John Leusch contributed to this report.