Updated on 09/16/2011 8:32AM

Tighter security measures in place


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Enhanced security procedures will be in place at Arlington Park for Saturday's Breeders' Cup Day program, with an increase in security personnel and a limit on the type of items that customers will be allowed to bring on the grounds.

The procedures will be similar to what was enacted at the 2001 Breeders' Cup at Belmont Park and the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs earlier this year.

From the time customers arrive on the grounds at Arlington Park on Saturday, changes from a normal day of racing will be evident. There will be barriers outside admission gates, an increase in security personnel both outside the gates and throughout the grounds, and magnetic wand searches of all customers at entrance gates. Wristbands will be distributed allowing access to specific areas.

Customers will be allowed to carry into the racetrack cell phones, cameras, camcorders, small radios, and televisions, binoculars, purses and baby bags, and blankets.

No outside food or beverages will be allowed on the grounds.

Other banned items include weapons, bottles and cans of any kind, alcohol, thermoses, coolers, backpacks, luggage, duffel bags, strollers and wagons, and chairs and umbrellas.

Parking will be strictly limited. On-site parking is by pre-purchased permit only. Steve Sexton, the track's president, is urging customers to arrive early. The gates open at 8 a.m., but the first race is not until 11:05 a.m. He said people should allow additional time for security and to find seats. "This is a new layout," he said.

The racetrack is working on security matters in conjunction with the Arlington Heights Police Dept. and county, state and federal law enforcement agencies.

Arlington Park officials cited the experience and cooperation of Churchill Downs officials to prepare security procedures. The two tracks are owned by Churchill Downs Inc.

Business as usual

Javier Barajas was out just after training hours Wednesday morning with the tools of his trade: a ruler and a screwdriver. Driving around Arlington's nine-furlong dirt track in a white pickup, Barajas stopped at every pole, putting first his ruler, then his screwdriver into the dirt. The cushion was a uniform 3 1/2 inches all around, with the screwdriver buried into a nice, tight base.

Barajas is the Arlington trackman, responsible for maintenance of the dirt track and the turf course. In many ways, this is the biggest week of his season, since the eyes of the racing world will be focused on the tracks he tends. But Barajas isn't doing anything different.

"I've been real happy with the track all year, knock on wood," Barajas said. "We're not going to change anything now."

Tuesday was the day to scrape material away from the main track's inside paths and evenly grade the surface. Freshly graded, the track will be sealed Wednesday night in advance of expected rain. If things are dry, Barajas and his crew will open the track up again Thursday morning at about 3:30 a.m.

And so things will go through the week, leveling, rolling, blading, harrowing, and sealing, as Barajas seeks to maintain a uniform surface, fair-playing and cushiony. He has managed to do it since early June, to the commendations of local horsemen and jockeys.

"This racetrack is much different than two years ago," Barajas said. "It used to be hard to control. This year, it's easier to settle things down."

Not surprisingly, Arlington has preserved its turf for the Breeders' Cup, and with 13 lanes to choose from on a 137-foot wide course, the portion of the grass that will be used Saturday is virtually pristine. Lane 5, known as the Million lane, hasn't been used since the Aug. 16 Million, and Barajas said the course outside lane 4 "is beautiful right now."

Dueling announcers

A tradition that began several years ago on the eve of the Breeders' Cup will resume again Friday when race-callers from across North America will participate in the 2002 All-Star Announcers Day at Arlington.

Arlington announcer John G. Dooley will host the event, which entails 10 different announcers calling one race apiece on the 10-race Friday program, which begins at noon Central.

Besides Dooley, the participating announcers are Mike Battaglia, Michael Chamberlain, Trevor Denman, Tom Durkin, Jonathan Horowitz, Dave Johnson, Luke Kruytbosch, Dan Loiselle, and Dave Rodman.

Horowitz, 17, is not employed at a track but has called races at six U.S. tracks and at Goodwood in England.

Durkin, the only announcer in Breeders' Cup history, again will call all eight races Saturday.

Only five in Safely Kept

Fields were drawn on Wednesday for the three $100,000 stakes on Saturday's Breeders' Cup undercard.

There are only five fillies and mares in the Safely Kept Handicap over seven furlongs. The field includes Gold Mover, the winner of the Grade 2 Princess Rooney Handicap at Calder in July for trainer Mark Hennig.

The Black Tie Affair Handicap over 1 1/8 miles drew eight entrants, including Balto Star, who will be making his first start on a dirt track since finishing second in the Queens County Handicap at Aqueduct last December. In four starts on turf this year, the 4-year-old Balto Star won an allowance race and finished second in the Grade 1 Man o' War Stakes at Belmont Park. He was seventh in the Shadwell Mile at Keeneland on Oct. 6.

In the Steinlen Handicap over 1 1/16 miles on turf, Al's Dearly Bred and Capsized, the third-and fourth-place finishers in the Sea o' Erin Breeders' Cup Handicap on Sept. 29, face six others, including February Storm, the winner of the Storm Cat Stakes at Keeneland on Oct. 6.

Duchossois scores

Just in time for the Breeders' Cup, Arlington chairman Richard Duchossois finally is a winner at his own track.

Duchossois and several friends were cheering loudly during the seventh race Wednesday at Arlington as Apt to Be drew away to a convincing victory, giving Duchossois his first winner as an owner this meet. Duchossois-owned horses had lost their first 37 races of the meet.

Apt to Be is trained by Chris Block and was ridden by Eddie Razo Jr.

Whywhywhy to Spendthrift

Spendthrift Farm in Lexington, Ky., will eventually be home for Breeders' Cup Juvenile contender Whywhywhy.

Spendthrift and some of its clients - members of the syndicate that owns Spendthrift stallion Mr. Greeley - have purchased a 50 percent interest in Whywhywhy from current owners Fabien Ouaki and Patrick Biancone. That ensures that the colt, a son of Mr. Greeley, will stand at Spendthrift when he retires, but his retirement is not imminent. Ouaki and Biancone will continue to manage the horse's racing career, according to Suzie Picou-Oldham, a Spendthrift spokeswoman.

"Spendthrift is hoping he will go on and have a full career at 3," Picou-Oldham said.

Biancone headed back to California

Trainer Patrick Biancone is returning to California at the end of this month and will be based there over the winter with his leading 2-year-olds Whywhywhy and Zavata.

Biancone was based at Santa Anita until April when he relocated to New York. He said he will have 16 horses at Santa Anita.

- The weather was cold and damp on Wednesday, but the prospect for Breeders' Cup day on Saturday is more encouraging. Forecasts state that the high temperature will be 57 with more cloud than sun.

- additional reporting by Glenye Cain, Marcus Hersh, and Marty McGee