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Arlington Park stakes recap (7/2/05)

Contact: David Zenner


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (July 2, 2005) -- Purim stalked a quick pace before striking to the lead in the stretch en route to a 2 -length victory in the Grade III $150,000 Arlington Classic, presented by Woodford Reserve, at Arlington Park in front of a crowd of 8,882 Saturday at the suburban Chicago oval.

Two-time Arlington champion rider Mark Guidry rode the Tom Proctor-trained son of Dynaformer who covered the mile and a sixteenth over firm turf in 1:42.65 and paid $8.20, $5.40 and $4.40.

"He ran a tremendous race," said Guidry, who won this race in 2000 aboard Baptize. "Running down the backstretch, he found his pace. He's very professional and he's got a nice stride about him. He's bred top and bottom to run as long as you want him to. The more you run him, the more professional he'll get and the more you'll hear from him."

Purim sat second off a hot pace set by United, a 20-1 longshot, who led through fractions of 23.41 seconds for the quarter, 47.61 seconds for a half-mile and a three-quarter split in 1:12.38 before giving way late.

"This horse was going to have to go along easy all the way, but I had to ask him a little and he got a little tired at the end," said Hall-of-Fame jockey Earlie Fires, who rode the pacesetter who held on to finish second in the nine-horse field.

For Purim, the Arlington Classic was his third win in as many starts and his first victory in stakes competition. He earned $90,000 to triple his career bankroll to $131,090 for his owner-breeder E. J. Sukley of Plainfield, Ill., who notched his first stakes victory.

Cosmic Kris rallied from the back of the pack to finish third, followed by Hole in the Head, Gold Minister, Major League, Southern Africa, Ready Ruler and Guillaume Tell, the 7-5 favorite who finished last after a rough start.

"He got slammed from the gate," said Shaun Bridgmohan, who rode the beaten favorite. "They put blinkers on him and they thought it would focus him. I'm not sure if it was getting slammed from the gate or the blinkers but all he wanted to do was run off."

Arlington Park -- the Chicago area's premier Thoroughbred racetrack located in Arlington Heights, Ill. -- is running a 94-day meet in 2005 from Friday, May 13 through Sunday, Sept. 18. 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 Lucky's featuring Trackside OTB in South Elgin. Information on Arlington Park can be found online at

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