As part of the festivities leading up to the Arlington Million, five retired jockey greats will return to the saddle for one race and square off against five of the top riders in the Arlington Park standings in the "Arlington Fab 5" vs. "Legends" turf race complete with pari-mutuel wagering to be held on Friday, one day before the 30th running of the Arlington Million.
Slated to take a one-day break from retirement are Hall of Fame jockey Earlie Fires; Patti Cooksey, who has been participating in similar Legends races the last few seasons; former Arlington Park mainstay and now HRTV broadcaster Zoe Cadman, former Eclipse Award winning rider Frank Lovato Jr.; and Midwestern mainstay Larry Melancon.
The Legends are looking for their first score in the three-year history of the event. Inez Karlsson led the Arlington team to victory two years ago while Junior Alvarado propelled the Arlington team in their repeat bid last year.
The top five jockeys in the Arlington Park standings will represent the current jockey colony. Riding assignments for the race were pulled by lot when entries were drawn for the Friday card on Sunday. The top five riders in the Arlington standings are Francisco Torres, James Graham, Rosemary Homeister Jr., Seth Martinez and Jeffrey Sanchez.
The five former riders will be at Arlington as part of the day's third annual "Dining With The Dynasty" fund raiser, a charity event that brings legendary jockeys from all over the country to raise funds to benefit the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund and the Racetrack Chaplaincy of America. For more information about these organizations, visit their websites at www.pdjf.org and www.rtcail.org.
A limited number of tables will be available for purchase for $600 in Arlington Park's exclusive Turf Club from noon until 1 p.m. (EDT) where VIP ticketholders will enjoy lunch with the legendary and Hall of Fame jockeys such as Walter Blum, Bill Boland, Cadman, Cooksey, Jean Cruguet, Pat Day, Dave Erb, Jackie Fires, Earlie Fires, Lovato, Chris McCarron, Melancon, John Rotz, and Barbara Jo Rubin. The jockeys will share stories, reminisce about racing experiences and will autograph your racing memorabilia. Tickets can be purchased from the PDJF by contacting Nancy LaSala at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Arlington Park's Howard Sudberry and Alyssa Ali will host the event and interview the all-time great jockeys as they tell wonderful stories about their experiences riding some of the most famous horses in racing history. The show will be broadcast to all simulcast outlets in the country and fans will be able to participate in the Q&A session through Twitter. The Q&A session will be run from 1:45 p.m. until 2:45 p.m. at the track's Starting Gate Theatre on the second floor of the grandstand and is open to the public.
In addition to "Dining with the Dynasty," many of the riders will participate in a public autograph session at the bottom of Grand Staircase on the apron level from 10 a.m. until noon on Saturday's Arlington Million Day.