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Arlington Park stakes recap (6/13/04)

Contact: David Zenner


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (June 13, 2004) -- Trainer Ken McPeek capped off an already successful weekend with a one-three finish in the $38,000 Mac Diarmida Handicap at Arlington Park. The Kentucky-based conditioner, who also has a string of runners at Arlington, won the race with Art Variety and also saddled third-place finisher Prodigus.

The Mac Diarmida was one day removed from McPeek's multiple-graded stakes winning day at Churchill Downs where he tallied with Sister Star in the Grade III Regret Stakes and with Prince Arch in the Grade III Jefferson Cup.

Jose Martinez Jr. had the winning mount aboard Art Variety, who covered the "about" one mile and a half distance in 2:46.80 over very soft going with the portable rail well out in the center of the course. The son of Pleasant Variety sat a couple of lengths off the lethargic pace of Blackington who went the opening half-mile in 54.48 seconds and three quarters of a mile in 1:19.99 before giving way.

Art Variety took the lead racing up the backstretch for the second time, getting the mile in 1:45.18 and the mile and a quarter in 2:14.20. He had to hold off a late rally along the rail by Prospect Green, who came up just a head short at the finish.

"I had a lot of horse," said Martinez, riding at Arlington full-time for the first time this summer. "I had a good trip. There was no pace. Kenny did a great job getting him ready and made me look good. It's soft out there but he handled the going fine and had no problem out there."

McPeek was pleased with the performance of both his starters and indicated they would likely be nominated to the $200,000 Stars and Stripes Breeders' Cup Turf (Grade III) which will be run here on July 4.

Art Variety, the 11-10 choice, paid $4.20, $3 and $2.10. Prospect Green returned $4 and $2.40. Prodigus paid $2.60. National Anthem, Apalachee Special and Blackington completed the order of finish.

Arlington Park -- the Chicago area's premier Thoroughbred racetrack located in Arlington Heights, Ill. -- will run a 96-day meet in 2004 from Friday, May 14 through Sunday, Sept. 19. Arlington Park, whose parent company is Churchill Downs Incorporated (Nasdaq: CHDN), also operates eight off-track, simulcast-wagering facilities: Trackside Arlington Park (Arlington Heights), Trackside Quad City Downs (East Moline), Trackside Chicago, Trackside McHenry, Trackside Rockford, Trackside South Beloit, Trackside Waukegan and Longshots featuring Trackside OTB in South Elgin. Information on Arlington Park can be found online at

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