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|Arlington Park stakes recap (7/23/05)
Contact: David Zenner
GUN SALUTE WINS GRADE II AMERICAN DERBY IN FINAL STRIDE
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (July 23, 2005) -- Brant Laue's Gun Salute rallied from mid-pack to win the Grade II $250,000 American Derby, presented by Jack Daniel's, overtaking race favorite Purim in the final stride of the mile and three-sixteenths race for 3-year-olds. Cornelio Velasquez rode the Bill Mott-trained son of Military, who covered the distance over "good" turf in 1:55.31.
Longshot General Jumbo set a quick pace in the race, drawing off early to a seven-length lead through a half mile in 47.05 seconds and a three-quarter split mile of 1:11.56 with even-money choice Purim racing in second. At the top of the lane, Purim grabbed the lead before the eventual winner drove on the outside to get up in the last jump to score by a nose.
The American Derby was the second stakes win of the season for Gun Salute who previously captured the $100,000 Forerunner Stakes at Keeneland in April. He earned $150,000 to double his bankroll to $298,344 for owner- breeder Laue.
"This is my first homebred runner, ever," Laue said. "To have him prevail at a great track like Arlington on a big day like this is special. There are a lot of opportunities for good 3-year-old turf horses and this was certainly a prime target for us."
Ken McCarthy, assistant to Mott, indicated the $400,000 Grade I Secretariat Stakes here on Aug. 13 could be the next start for the bay colt.
"Mr. Laue and Mr. Mott will talk that over, but I am certain it is in the forefront of their considerations right now," McCarthy said. "He's been an awfully nice horse for us. All last year, Bill always thought a lot of him so it was great to see him get a graded stakes win today."
Arlington Classic winner Purim suffered the first loss in his brief career in the American Derby but his connections were pleased with his effort.
"You win some, you lose some," said Purim's trainer Tom Proctor. "That one was close. If you won them all, no one would want to race with you. This colt has done everything we could have asked of him. He won his first three starts. He ran his heart out and just got beat. I'm not sure what I'll do with him next we just have to see how he comes out of this one."
Exceptional Ride was third in the eight-horse field, followed home by Cosmic Kris, General Jumbo, Merger, Gold Minister and Earths Vain Shadow.
Gun Salute, third choice in the wagering, paid $9.40, $3.40 and $2.80. Purim returned $2.60 and $2.20. Exceptional Ride paid $3.80.
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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