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Weekly Recap by Marcus Hersh

Arlington Weekly Recap May 12th through May 14th

Crewman keeps Hanshin Cup at home

Saturday’s Grade 3 Hanshin Cup, the first graded-stakes race of the Arlington season, attracted shippers from all over the region, but Crewman won by a neck and kept the trophy and winner’s share of the $100,000 purse right here in Illinois.

Crewman is trained by Dee Poulos, the local horsewoman whose deceased husband, Ernie, trained the excellent racehorse Black Tie Affair. Poulos scored the first graded-stakes win of her training career, which began in 1997. Also in the winner’s circle late Saturday afternoon was Tim Kindlon, the principal in Dundalk 5 LLC, Crewman’s owner.

Alongside Kindlon, who hails from suburban Chicago, was his son Sean, and Kindlon also paid tribute to his father. Joe Kindlon, a self-made businessman and racing enthusiast, started the Dundalk ownership group in 2005. Two years later, he passed away at 81.

“My dad started us in this business,” Kindlon said, “and you know how it is with families in racing. We’re thrilled with this win. It’s been kind of a tough year for us. We had a hard meet at Hawthorne coming into this, but Dee had faith in the horse, and we couldn’t feel any better about everything right now.”

Crewman, a 6-year-old gelding by Candy Ride, long has been a successful high-end allowance-class horse, but, like Poulos, won his first graded stakes. The Kindlons paid $25,000 to acquire the horse through the claiming box in October 2014.

“Dee found him for us. We claimed him at Hawthorne out of his second race, and he’s done nothing but be a hard-trying, hard-knocking horse for us,” Kindlon said. “This was a really good effort.”

Quick returns from Unscathed

On opening day at Arlington, May 5, an Illinois-bred named Unscathed started in a $6,250 claiming race. Unscathed, trained at the time by Larry Rivelli, had raced at considerably higher class levels in his four previous starts, but trainer Earl Hughes and owner David Pfeifer decided to take a chance.

They claimed Unscathed out of a win, and their investment delivered quick returns. Hughes sent Unscathed, a 4-year-old son of Bring the Heat, back into action just eight days later, and on May 13, Unscathed won an Illinois-bred first-level allowance race and a $17,100 purse for his new connections.

To be clear, Unscathed didn’t just win on the class rise – he crushed his foes.

Battling for the lead, Unscathed drew smartly away in the homestretch and crossed the wire nearly seven lengths to the good. He ran six furlongs over Polytrack in a wickedly fast 1:09.48, and earned a 92 Beyer Speed Figure, which is close to a stakes-class number.

“I have to credit Rivelli,” Hughes said.  “We owned the horse eight days. He was fit when we got him.”

If Hughes’s name doesn’t ring a bell even for Illinois racing insiders, that’s because he is a relative newcomer to the sport, and a true newcomer to training. Hughes, 55, retired in 2014 after working 31 years for A T & T. He had kept a stray horse or two over the years at his small farm in Hinkley, but after retirement, Hughes decided to jump into racing.

He has been a licensed owner for three years, but was an owner in the hands-on mold, working directly with the horses and hauling his own straw, hay, and feed to the track from rural Illinois. This spring, Hughes went through the licensing process and became trainer of record.

“We went from three horses to 22 in a pretty short time,” said Hughes. “We’re doing pretty well for competing against all these bigger guys.”

Hughes and Pfeifer have no plans to sit on their sharp recent acquisition. “In two weeks there’s an Illinois-bred non-winners-of-two-lifetime allowance. We’re looking to run Unscathed there,” Hughes said.

Hope N Wishes now two for two

The 3-year-old Illinois-bred filly Hope N Wishes ran her record to two wins from two starts with a three-length victory in the fifth race on May 14 at Arlington. Hope N Wishes, who was ridden to victory by Santo Sanjur, sat just off the pace and won a six furlong, first-level Illinois-bred allowance race by three lengths.

Hope N Wishes is by Regal Ransom and out of Love N Lies, by Broken Vow. She was bred and is owned by William and Diana Shaffer, and is trained by former Chicago-based jockey Carlos Silva.