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Arlington Park stakes recap (7/23/05)

Contact: David Zenner


Cornelio Velasquez Sweeps Million Preview Day Stakes Races

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (July 23, 2005) -- Haras Santa Maria de Aras S. A.'s Noisette swept up on the outside to take the lead in the final few strides and win the Grade III $150,000 Modesty Handicap by a half-length at Arlington Park on Saturday giving jockey Cornelio Velasquez a sweep of the trio of graded stakes races that comprise Million Preview Day.

Trained by Bill Mott, who picked up his second graded stakes win of the afternoon, the daughter of Broad Brush covered the mile and three-sixteenths over a good turf course in 1:57.30.

Earlier in the day, Mott and Velasquez teamed to win the Grade II $250,000 American Derby with Brant Laue's Gun Salute, while Velasquez also scored in the Grade III $200,000 Arlington Handicap with David E. Garner's Cool Conductor for trainer Ralph Nicks.

"Every jockey needs good horses to ride, and I got lucky today with three of them," said Velasquez.

The Modesty was the first win of the year for the 5-year-old mare who improved her overall record to six wins from 20 starts. She earned $90,000 for the victory to push her bankroll to $382,204.

"I think this filly stepped up big today," said Ken McCarthy, assistant to trainer Bill Mott. "We knew she would run very well but we also knew it was a tough race. We thought she deserved a shot today. She'd been training super. She ran a good race at Canterbury (third in the Lady Canterbury Breeders' Cup June 19) and Bill thought she'd fit in good here today."

Shaconage, the 9-10 post time favorite, was always in contention, took a brief lead in deep stretch but was unable to hold off the eventual winner and had to settle for second for third straight time.

"I had a great trip," said Gary Stevens, who was astride the beaten favorite. "I never should have hit her. As soon as I did, she pulled up. The trainer told me to ride her hard the last sixteenth, but as soon as I hit her, she quit. She was happy before I did that. I thought I was home free. I should have just left her alone."

It was another half-length back to Spring Season, who finished third in the 11-horse field. Ide Be a Lady, Tisket a Tasket, Pretty Jane, Cape Town Lass, Humorous Miss, Make My Heart Sing, Atlantic Frost and Ms. Purr completed the order of finish.

Noisette, second choice in the wagering, paid $12.00, $4.80 and $3.20. Shaconage returned $2.60 and $2.10. Spring Season paid $3.40.

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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