Chicago Barn to Wire


Arlington Park Stake Recap

Contact: David Zenner (847) 385-7535


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (June 30, 2001) -- A cough on entry day nearly kept Baptize out of Saturday's $200,000 Arlington Classic presented by Woodford Reserve but all was well on race day and the Gary & Mary West color-bearer won the Grade II race by two and a quarter lengths. Mark Guidry was aboard the Bill Mott-trained son of Dynaformer who covered a mile and an eighth over firm turf in 1:48.40.

The Arlington Classic, for 3-year-olds, is the first leg of Arlington's Mid-America Triple which continues with the Grade II $250,000 American Derby on July 22 and concludes with the Grade I $400,000 Secretariat Stakes on Arlington Million Day August 18.

"On entry day he had a little cough and some discharge from his nose," explained Ralph Nicks, assistant to Mott. "We trained him yesterday morning and scoped him. He came up clean and ate up so we decided to go."

Baptize raced four-wide on the turn and on the backstretch racing along side Indygo Shiner who led after a half mile in 48.67 seconds. The two battled with Fan Club's Mister into the stretch before Baptize drew clear inside the final eighth of a mile.

"I had a lot of horse," said Guidry. "I was just skating out there. I waited until we turned into the lane and asked him. He accelerated real nice."

Indygo Shiner, while no match for the winner, was game to hold second, finishing a neck to the good of the fast closing Cherokee Kim. Fan Club's Mister, Rahy's Secret and Curlew Flyer completed the order of finish.

"He pricked his ears and left there running," said Lonnie Meche, who rode the runner-up. "He did what we wanted. I didn't want to do anything to discourage him. I just sat on my horse and he responded well but the winner just out-kicked me to the wire."

Baptize, the 11-10 favorite, paid $4.20, $2.40 and $2.40. Indygo Shiner paid $3.00 and $2.60. Cherokee Kim paid $3.00.

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