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Arlington Park stakes recap (7/10/04)

Contact: David Zenner


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (July 10, 2004) -- Farish, Elkins & Webber's Alumni Hall, far back early, took command in mid-stretch to win the $75,000 Black Tie Affair Handicap by 2 lengths on Saturday at Arlington Park. With Robby Albarado in the irons, the son of A. P. Indy covered the mile and an eighth over a fast track in 1:49.46.

The victory was the first in stakes competition and fourth in five starts overall for Alumni Hall, who didn't make his career debut until his 5-year-old season. The $45,000 winner's share boosted his bankroll to $149,340.

"I was thrilled with his race," said winning trainer Neil Howard. "We had a lot of little problems with him at the beginning of his career and it's nice to see him coming around. I don't know what's next. We'll keep him eligible to everything and I'll talk to the owner before we decide anything else."

Alumni Hall was content to sit well off the early pace set by 33-1 longshot Fighting Indians, who led for three-quarters of a mile through fractions of 24.31 seconds, 47.67 seconds and 1:11.85 before fading to last in the seven-horse field. Alumni Hall inched closer on the second turn and took the lead approaching the eighth pole and was drawing away at the wire.

"He broke nice and I just wanted him to settle and relax and come from the quarter pole home," Albarado said. "I thought there were a couple of nice horses in the race but he showed me a lot today. This was a nice stepping stone for him and there is no telling how good he can be."

Illinois-bred Wiggins rallied to get up for second, a half-length to the good of Stratostar, who finished third. Scooter Roach, Act of War, River Mountain Rd and Fighting Indians complete the order of finish.

"He ran big," said Eusebio Razo Jr. of runner-up Wiggins. "The pace set up nice. We just ran into a horse that we don't know how good he is going to be."

"Everything set up perfect for us but then we got knocked around a little bit at the head of the lane." Said jockey Larry Sterling Jr., who rode Stratostar. "It cost us at least second. Anytime you lose your momentum like that it costs you."

Sent off as the 3-5 favorite, Alumi Hall paid $3.20, $2.40 and $2.10. Wiggins returned $3.20 and $2.60. Stratostar paid $3.

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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