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|Arlington Park stakes recap (7/24/04)
Contact: David Zenner
IRISH-BRED SIMPLE EXCHANGE WINS GRADE II AMERICAN DERBY
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (July 24, 2004) -- Trainer Dermot Weld's stranglehold on recent editions of the American Derby, presented by Jack Daniel's, continued this year with a neck score by Moyglare Stud Farm Ltd.'s Simple Exchange in the Grade II $250,000 race for 3-year-olds that serves as the middle leg of Arlington Park's Mid-America Triple.
Irish jockey Patrick Smullen made the trip over from The Emerald Isle to guide the son of Danehill to victory in a stakes record 1:54.93 over firm going. The 2-1 second choice, Simple Exchange returned $6.40, $4.80 and $2.40.
Simple Exchange settled in along the rail racing just off the pace set by longshot Gwahir, who took the field through splits of 24.31 seconds, 48.47 seconds and 1:12.80. Smullen gave Simple Exchange a couple of taps with the whip on the backstretch to keep his mount's mind on business and found an opening between horses as the field turned for home.
"I wanted to keep my horse into the race down the backside," Smullen said. "I got a split just as we entered into the straight. It was brilliant. We got a lovely run around and we quickened all the way down the stretch."
The victory was the first this year for Simple Exchange whose overall record now stands at three wins and a second from five starts. The $150,000 winner's check skyrockets his bankroll to $238,270.
For Weld, Ireland's all-time leading conditioner, the win was his third in the last five runnings of the American Derby. He took the 2000 renewal with Pine Dance and scored again last year with Evolving Tactics.
"We think this is a better colt (than last year's winner Evolving Tactics)," Weld said. "He has more talent, more speed and more improvement in him. I think the best is yet to come. Hopefully, he'll stay now and we'll run him back in the Secretariat. I think this was the toughest American Derby that we've contested. I knew we'd have to have a better horse this year than the other two. It was a very good race."
Cool Conductor, a $10,000 supplemental entry to the American Derby, rallied from far back to challenge the winner but came up just a bit short. He paid $3.80 and $2.20.
"He was more relaxed today," said his rider, Cornelio Velasquez. "He was on the bit the whole way. I finally got him to run the way I wanted him to run. He ran a big race."
Toasted, the 6-5 favorite who won the Grade II Arlington Classic in his last start, made a belated rally to finish third in the eight-horse field. He returned $2.10.
"I had a perfect trip," said Toasted's rider Rene Douglas. "I think my horse is just as good as the winner. I had to wait a little to get out and just didn't have enough racetrack left to get him. He was closing. I think he will like the mile and a quarter (of the Secretariat Stakes)."
The Grade I $400,000 Secretariat Stakes is the final leg of the Mid-America Triple and will be run as part of Arlington's one-day International Festival of Racing on Saturday, Aug. 14.
Gwaihir, Up Anchor, Samwise, Kilgowan and Caiman 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 www.arlingtonpark.com.
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