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Arlington Park stakes recap (7/31/04)

Contact: David Zenner


Longest Shot in Race Survives Claim of Foul for Victory

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (July 31, 2004) -- A wide trip and a claim of foul by the jockey aboard runner-up Olmodavor couldn't keep John D. Gunther's Eye of the Tiger from gaining the victory in the $350,000 Washington Park Handicap on Saturday at Arlington Park. The Grade II, mile and three-sixteenths race is the richest race on the main track at Arlington.

The homebred son of American Chance was clocked in 1:56.87 and was ridden by local reinsman Eusebio Razo Jr., who said the race was the biggest victory in his 11-year career.

Leaving from the outside post in the five-horse field, Eye of the Tiger was wide throughout the race, brushed with Olmodavor near the top of the stretch and was all out to win by a head.

"When I turned for home, I switched my stick to the left hand," Razo said. "I went to the outside a little bit but I straightened him out right away. I didn't think there was any problem with that but I was a little nervous for a while."

John McKee, who rode Olmodavor, lodged a claim of foul but after a lengthy review by the Arlington Park stewards, the result was allowed to stand.

"He bumped me out coming out of the turn and cost me two or three lengths," said McKee, who was riding Olmodavor for the first time. "Absolutely, he cost me the race."

It was another length and a half farther back to third-place finisher Congrats, who faded late after setting the pace through a mile in 1:36.68.

For the Kiaran McLaughlin-trained Eye of the Tiger, the Washington Park Handicap was the second win in eight starts this year and his fifth in 18 trips to the post overall. The $210,000 winner's check boosted his bankroll past the half-million dollar mark to $532,779. Sent off as the longest shot in the race at odds of nearly 7-1, he paid $15.60, $5.40 and $3.40.

Olmodavor paid $3.40 and $2.80. Congrats returned $3.20. Colonial Colony, the 8-5 favorite, and The Lady's Groom completed the order of finish.

Earlier in the day, Helen T. Andrews Racing LLC's Panorama Valley battled Mary Alex for a half mile and held off a late rally from Kota to win the $54,600 Silver Maiden Stakes by a neck. Kelly Murray rode the Anne Mitchell-trained daughter of Peaks and Valleys who covered the 5 furlongs over a fast track in 1:06.19. The 7-10 favorite returned $3.40, $3 and $2.60.

Arlington Park -- the Chicago area's premier Thoroughbred racetrack located in Arlington Heights, Ill. -- is running 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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