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Contact: David Zenner
CORNELIO VELASQUEZ SWEEPS MILLION PREVIEW DAY STAKES RACES
Hall of Fame Trainer Bill Mott Wins Two Graded Stakes
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (July 23, 2005) -- New York-based jockey Cornelio Velasquez bypassed a day of races at Belmont Park to come to Arlington Park and sweep the track's Million Preview Day stakes, three graded stakes races on turf that serve as preps for Arlington's International Festival of Racing in three weeks on Aug. 13.
The Panama-born rider won the Grade II $250,000 American Derby, presented by Jack Daniel's, aboard Brant Laue's Gun Salute for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. Two races later, Velasquez was astride the victorious David E. Garner's Cool Conductor for trainer Ralph Nicks, a former Mott assistant, in the Grade III Arlington Handicap. He completed the sweep in the Grade III $150,000 Modesty Handicap with Haras Santa Maria de Aras S. A.'s Noisette.
"Every jockey needs good horses to ride, and I got lucky today with three of them," said Velasquez.
In the American Derby, Gun Salute rallied from mid-pack to overtake race favorite Purim in the final stride of the mile and three-sixteenths race for 3-year-olds. The son of Military covered the distance over "good" turf in 1:55.31 and paid $9.40, $3.40 and $2.80.
It was a front-stepping victory in the Arlington Handicap for Cool Conductor, who coasted through easy fractions to report home by 3 ¼ lengths in 2:02.26 for the mile and a quarter. He paid $6.80, $2.80 and $2.40.
"I came to ride this horse today because I know what he can do," said Velasquez. "I wanted to be in front and I could feel I still had a lot of horse at the top of the stretch. He relaxed very well for me. I just tried to put him in a good position and let him run his race."
Like Gun Salute earlier in the day, Noisette got up in the final stride of the Modesty Handicap, giving Velasquez the sweep and giving Mott his second stakes win of the day.
"I just followed the number three filly (favored Shaconage) most of the way, and then the last eighth of a mile my horse swung around her and got clear," Velasquez said. "My filly is a very strong filly once she gets running."
Noisette paid $12.00, $4.80 and $3.20.
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 www.arlingtonpark.com.
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