12/23/2007 12:00AM

Emigh to follow Razo's move to Oaklawn

EmailSTICKNEY, Ill. - Chris Emigh, following in the footsteps of Eddie Razo, is taking the plunge, leaving the friendly confines of the Chicago circuit for a longer-term foray into the wider racing world. Like Razo last year, Emigh will be at Oaklawn Park when the Arkansas track opens its doors next month.

Emigh, 36, in a general sense has been the leading rider in Chicago for several years. He might take a backseat to Rene Douglas in the summer, but Emigh won a riding title at Arlington, and year in and year out, at both Hawthorne and Arlington, Emigh is at or near the top. Part of the reason for that has been his decision to make Chicago pretty much a year-round venue. There have been brief moves to Fair Grounds, Southern California, and even Oaklawn once before, but nothing long-term or major, and Emigh would generally be back for Chicago's late-winter season.

But 2008 probably will be different. Emigh said he will be at Oaklawn early next month to start working horses, and that his agent, Jay Fedor, has already begun lining up business from the likes of trainer Bob Holthus.

"If we're doing good, making money, we're going to stay and finish that meet off," Emigh said.

Razo made the same mid-career move last year, and did well, winding up fifth in the Oaklawn standings with 35 victories. He will return to Oaklawn this year.

There are enough Chicago outfits wintering in Arkansas to make Fedor and Emigh think they can hold their own. If not, the Hawthorne winter-spring meet provides a fallback position.

Emigh said his tentative plan was to return to Chicago for the end of the Hawthorne meet and build momentum going into Arlington's opening in May.

Through Saturday, Emigh was second in the Hawthorne standings, trailing upstart Tim Thornton by nine winners.P

Karlsson to undergo surgery

Apprentice rider Inez Karlsson, who has 15 victories at the Hawthorne meet, won't ride again until next year after undergoing surgery Wednesday to remove one of her ovaries. Karlsson said Saturday that the procedure was successful, and that she will be back in the saddle after recovering from the surgery.

Karlsson, who began riding at Arlington over the summer, said she put off having the surgery as long as possible, and tried to finish the Hawthorne meet. But by last week, she could delay no longer.

"I've been having pain for a long time, but as long as it didn't effect my riding, I lived with it," said Karlsson, who is staying with her agent, Penny Ffitch-Heyes.

Karlsson, a Swedish citizen, moved to Woodbine and then on to Chicago last year to pursue a career as a jockey. In Sweden, she worked at filling stations, and was for a time a ranked boxer.

Karlsson has two sets of paperwork to be concerned with at the moment. First, her immigration papers expire in February, and she is working on obtaining a T1 visa, which would be good for five years.

"It doesn't look like that's going to be a problem," she said.

Second is Karlsson's five-pound apprentice allowance. Karlsson said her weight allowance had been scheduled to run through October 2008, but that she hopes to have her apprentice period extended through the end of next year because of the time she will miss before racing resumes here in March.

Sunday canceled due to high winds

Hawthorne finally worked the water out of its main track. Then the wind came.

After being forced for the third time in a week to cancel racing after two races on Friday, Hawthorne had to scrap its entire Sunday program because of high wind and a sudden temperature drop that froze the racing surface.

Hawthorne now has three partial cancellations and one full cancellation this meet, after weather forced three full and one partial cancellation at last year's fall-winter meet.