07/04/2012 2:04PM

Arlington: Dorochenko takes 60 horses off grounds to Kentucky farm

Lynn Roberts/Hodges Photography
Hero Of Order, longshot winner of the Louisiana Derby, will be pointed to the West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer.

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. – Trainer Gennadi Dorochenko moved some 60 horses out of Arlington Park late last week, and the horses will now be stabled at Dorochenko’s farm near Versailles, Ky., the trainer said Wednesday.

Dorochenko, reached by phone, declined to give a reason for his departure. Through last weekend, he had sent out 55 starters at the meet and failed to win a race. Four of his horses finished second, another nine third. Dorochenko’s stable performed better during Arlington’s 2011 season after he moved his string from Mountaineer Racetrack in West Virginia early in the meet. Last year, Dorochenko had 18 wins, 17 seconds, and 24 third from 204 starters. Those 204 starts were the third most among Arlington trainers last year, but this year, nine other trainers had run more horses at the ongoing meet than Dorochenko.

The loss of the Dorochenko horses should be offset to some extent by trainers shipping strings to Arlington now that the Churchill Downs meet has ended. Trainer Austin Smith has sent 20 horses, trainer Michelle Lovell 15, and several other horsemen have shipped in smaller strings to race here this summer.

Dorochenko-trained horses Hero of Order and Macho Bull finished second and third behind Hansen last weekend in the Iowa Derby. Hero of Order, who upset the $1 million Louisiana Derby earlier this year, could make his next start against Hansen in the West Virginia Derby, Dorochenko said.

All-sources handle up 10 percent

Following up on a strong showing this spring from Hawthorne Racecourse, Arlington Park has posted a solid year-to-year gain in its all sources daily handle compared with this point in the 2011 season.

Through Saturday’s races, and compared with similar racing days last year (while omitting an abbreviated two-race program in 2011), Arlington had averaged $3,229,145 in average daily all-sources handle on 35 programs. That’s a 10 percent increase compared with the $2,931,049 average daily all-sources handle on the first 34 full programs in 2011.

The handle increase is being driven by out-of-state wagering on Arlington, which is up 13 percent compared with 2011. Ontrack wagering on the Arlington product has declined by 1 percent.

All handle figures come from the Illinois Racing Board since Arlington, as per the policy of its parent company, Churchill Downs Inc., does not publicize business figures.

Snapped could steal turf feature

It took the turf-route horse Where’s the Baby 13 tries to win a maiden race, but he has the hang of things now. After clearing the maiden ranks on April 7 at Gulfstream, Where’s the Baby came right back to win a first-level allowance race May 19 at Arlington, and he nearly made it three straight victories when beaten a nose in a second-level allowance here June 15.

Where’s the Baby has gone off at odds of 9-2, 5-1, and 9-1 in those three recent races, but it’s likely bettors will be on him when he starts Friday in the featured fifth race, another second-level turf-route allowance also open to $40,000 claimers. But with a total pace void complicating the picture, and a few other horses who look just about as good as Where’s the Baby, this might be the time to look away from Where’s the Baby if, indeed, his odds decline significantly.

Given the tactical speed he has shown before, and given a rider change to Cisco Torres – who often places his mounts forwardly – Snapped could wind up on the early lead in Friday’s fourth. And that might not be a bad thing. Snapped finished quite fast when he won for a $27,500 claiming price in his last start, and that victory gave him two wins from two starts at Friday’s 1 1/8-mile distance. ◗ Speaking of Torres, he held a 46-38 lead over James Graham in the jockey standings entering Wednesday’s action. Mike Stidham topped the trainer standings with 22 wins compared with 18 for Wayne Catalano and Larry Rivelli.

◗ The latest version of gaming legislation that would bring slot machines to Illinois racetracks was sent to Gov. Pat Quinn late last week. Quinn has 60 days to sign or veto the bill, passed by both houses of the legislature. If he takes no action, the bill becomes law. Quinn can also issue an amendatory veto, sending the bill back to the legislature with suggested changes.