Updated on 09/15/2011 1:17PM

Magic Doe and Mr. Motel


CHICAGO - Magic Doe has shown talent since he first arrived on the Chicago racing scene several years ago. Very few living souls can remember when trainer Jim Eckrosh first showed up on the Chicago racing scene. Late this summer Magic Doe, a 6-year-old gelding, got Lasix for the first time in 54 career starts, and since then he has given the 92-year-old Eckrosh a pair of wins at Arlington Park.

Magic Doe, one of two horses Eckrosh trained at Arlington this summer, is no struggling claimer. On Saturday he won a high-end allowance race by six lengths and ran 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:15.31, by far the fastest time of the meet at that distance. Since Eckrosh put the gelding on Lasix on Sept. 15, Magic Doe, who is owned by William Cortesi, has won two of three races.

Nevertheless, Eckrosh remains skeptical of the anti-bleeding medication's benefit. "He just is doing good right now," Eckrosh said. "[Jockey Randy Meier] rode him perfect the other day. His best race is coming from right off the pace."

Eckrosh is getting two more horses in from a farm for the upcoming Hawthorne meet, bringing his stable to four. This is no patrician horsemen fiddling around in his cozy retirement. Eckrosh has been blue collar all his life; he still lives in a motel and spends much of his time around the backstretch. Eckrosh is ready to hole up for the long Chicago fall and winter in the Turf Motel on Cicero Avenue, not far from the West Side tracks.

"I've been staying there since 1938," he said. "I should own a part of that place by now."

Eckrosh doesn't mind joking about his age. "I'm just a worn out old machine," he said. Magic Doe is in much better shape. "He's still feeling good," said Eckrosh, who plans to run the horse in a handicap race next month at Hawthorne.

Whiting scores with Rylstone

It's not like trainer Lynn Whiting figured all along to win last Saturday's Manila Stakes with the maiden, Rylstone. That's just the way things worked out. Unable to get the 2-year-old colt into a maiden turf race at Arlington or Keeneland, Whiting's back was against the wall when he entered Rylstone in the Manila, a one-mile turf stakes.

"He was entered and excluded at Arlington, entered and excluded at Keeneland," Whiting said from his Churchill Downs base. "At that point, he just needed to run somewhere."

Things worked out fine. Rylstone, a two-time loser in Saratoga sprint races, immediately took to turf racing, rallying from well of the pace to win the Manila by three lengths.

In March, Rylstone, who is owned by the Choctaw Racing Stable, brought big money at a Florida 2-year-old in training sale - $350,000, a huge price for a son of the first-crop sire Mecke, who stands for a $7,500 fee.

"He impressed us a lot down there," Whiting said. "We thought he might want to go long."

Whiting said he trained Rylstone on grass at Saratoga, though both of his starts there came in dirt sprints. "He's got a grass foot as well as a grass pedigree, and he was looking for two turns."

Rylstone has returned to Churchill Downs, where he is likely to start in an allowance race next month. Whiting is tentatively pointing the colt to the Black Gold Handicap at Fair Grounds this winter.


Trainer Valerie Miller had an unbelievable summer last year at Arlington. It seemed for awhile that she was winning with every horse she saddled. This year has been unbelievable, too - Miller has yet to win in 48 starts in 2001.

"You know, I'm really not that frustrated," said Miller, who has been out on her own for a fairly short time. "It's part of the learning experience. People say you just have to go through it."

Miller has two solid shots to break her slump Wednesday when she starts two sisters, fillies she bred and owns. The 4-year-old Sound Wave runs in the featured eighth, while her 2-year-old sister, Fast Wave, makes her second career start in the third.

Sound Wave won twice here early last summer but fractured her leg. She has come into top form since switching to turf two starts ago. She missed by only a nose in her last start and comes back with a similar group of horses in this second-level state-bred allowance.

Fast Wave was roughed up at the start of her debut, but showed decent speed and finished a good fourth. Miller expects her to show speed with a clean break Wednesday.

* With two wins each on Saturday and Sunday, Wayne Catalano wrested the lead in the trainers' race away from Jerry Hollendorfer, 37 to 36. Catalano won the title here last year with 37 winners. Catalano has three horses in Wednesday, Hollendorfer two.