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Arlington Park stakes recap (7/23/05)

Contact: David Zenner


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (July 23, 2005) -- David E. Garner's Cool Conductor set a leisurely pace and had plenty left to hold off the late charge of 7-5 favorite Vangelis to win the Grade III Arlington Handicap by 3 lengths Saturday at Arlington Park as part of the track's Million Preview Day.

Cornelio Velasquez picked up his second graded stakes victory of the afternoon aboard the Ralph Nicks-trained son of Stravinsky, who covered the mile and a quarter over a good turf course in 2:02.26. Two races earlier, Velasquez guided Brant Laue's Gun Salute to win the Grade II $250,000 American Derby, presented by Jack Daniel's.

Under Velasquez, Cool Conductor was under a tight hold while coasting through easy fractions of 25.04 seconds for the quarter, 49.78 seconds for the half, three-quarters in 1:15.16 and getting the mile in 1:39.56 before sprinting the final quarter of a mile in 22.70 seconds.

"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."

The Arlington Handicap was the second graded stakes win of the year for the 4-year-old colt, who picked up $120,000 to push his career earnings to $630,046 while improving his overall record to five wins from 18 starts. The Arlington Handicap serves as the final local prep for the Grade I Arlington Million on Aug. 13, and Nicks indicated that race remains on his radar screen.

"If he comes out of this race all right, we'll see you in three weeks," Nicks said.

Vangelis, last for more than three-quarters of a mile, mounted a late rally but was no threat for the winner. It was another 2 lengths back to Major Rhythm. B. A. Way, Cloudy's Knight, Artiste Royal and Demeteor completed the order of finish.

"When you are on a closer you can only hope there's a little bit of pace for you to run at," said Ramon Dominguez, who came in to ride Vangelis. "The winner got away very good but my horse was running very well at the end."

Cool Conductor, second choice in the wagering, paid $6.80, $2.80 and $2.40. Vangelis returned $2.60 and $2.20. Major Rhythm paid $3.60.

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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