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Chicago Six, Muchacho Fino dead-heat in Cisk

With today's improved technology, dead heats have become far less common than they were in the past. Photo finish cameras catch each member of a race as they cross the wire and highly trained professionals are generally able to separate the horses in even the closest finishes.

And then there are days like Saturday.

Most thought, going in, that Chicago Six was the best horse in Saturday's seventh race, an overnight stakes tabbed the Cisk Stakes by the racing office. But then it started to rain.

Chicago Six hadn't finished in the money in four off-track attempts. But his entry-mate, Muchacho Fino, had raced on off tracks seven times, winning an outstanding five times and finishing second the other two. Plus, analyst Jim Miller came back to the press box raving about how terrific Muchacho Fino looked in the paddock.

It was the best of both worlds. Chicago Six and Muchacho Fino were coupled in the betting. Most thought they would finish first and second. Nobody expected things to turn out the way they did.

After Muchacho Fino, with Chris Emigh up, collared the front running Magic Doe at the top of the stretch and proceeded to run by, it looked like the race was over. Apparently they forgot to tell that to Alfredo Juarez aboard Chicago Six. Juarez got to work and Chicago Six edged ever closer to his stablemate.

With one final surge Chicago Six finished on even terms with Muchacho Fino. Juarez raised his arm in celebration. He thought he won the race. He thought they had gotten by at the last moment.

Close but no cigar.

Speaking of cigars, Jere Smith Sr., during an interminable delay while the judges were checking the photos to see who had, in fact, finished first asked who won.

"You did," came a chorus of replies.

Smith trained both halves of the entry. He was the winner whichever runner finished first.

Cool!

It does get a little stranger, however. After long deliberations, it was determined that Chicago Six and Muchacho Fino had finished in a dead heat.

Dead heats are rare. Dead heats in stakes races are even less likely. This was the first time in memory that an entry had finished in a dead heat for the win in a stakes race.

There was one other related factor that made this race noteworthy. This was the second dead heat for the win in a stakes race at this meet. The last time was in the Hawthorne Derby. Alfredo Juarez Jr. was aboard co-winner Rumsonontheriver in the Derby and rode Chicago Six in the Cisk.

Juarez had this to say about his victory "I thought I was going to win this race. When it comes to his race, he gives it everything he has. I thought I had him in the last jump. I was pushing his head out really hard. It was an incredible finish, especially with an entry."

Muchacho Fino's jockey, Chris Emigh: "He ran a very game race. He broke sharply, but ran up into traffic in the first turn and almost clipped heels. Down the backside, he was wanting to go and when Magic Doe started to give in I thought we were home free. In the last couple of jumps a saw a horse come up on me, but I didn't know it was Chicago Six. Then I saw Alfredo raising his fist as if he had won, but the dead-heat was nice for both Tex (owner Tex Marling) and Jere (trainer Jere Smith Sr.)."

Technocat closed with a rush but he was left with too much to do, especially on a track that seemed to be favoring those with tactical speed.

Eusebio Razo, Jr. aboard third place finisher Technocat summed it up. "He ran very well. With the slow pace up front, he wasn't able to do as much running as I had hoped, but when I asked him in the lane, he still had enough left to get up for third."

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