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|Arlington Park stakes recap (8/13/05)
Contact: David Zenner
British-Bred Angara Rallies To Win Grade I Beverly D. Stakes
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (August 13, 2005) -- Martin S. Schwartz' Angara had just one horse beat at the top of the stretch but launched a courageous rally near the center of the course to win the Grade I $750,000 Beverly D. Stakes by a neck over Megahertz on Saturday at Arlington Park in front of an International Festival of Racing crowd of 28,312. She covered the mile and three-sixteenths over "yielding" turf in 1:58.30 and paid $14.80, $6 and $4.20.
In keeping with the international theme of Arlington's signature afternoon, Frenchman Patrick Biancone trains the British-bred 4-year-old daughter of Alzao. She was ridden by Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens, who also captured the 1991 Beverly D. aboard Fire The Groom.
"This filly is just unbelievable," Stevens said. "I heard Megahertz coming at the quarter pole and I kind of eased out and tried to be patient. That carried us out of trouble and she went on about her business. It was all her. I didn't have to hit her. There's a little cut in the ground here and that's what she enjoys."
The victory was a bit of a relief for the rider, who in his last International Festival of Racing appearance was thrown from Storming Home just past the finish in the 2003 Arlington Million and was seriously injured.
"I've wondered for two years whether I could win again here and get back to the winner's circle without having my number taken down and without ending up in a hospital," Stevens added.
Angara settled in three wide at the back of the field while locally-stabled Miss Terrible, an 8-1 longshot, set the pace in the race through moderate fractions on the less than firm ground of 24.36 seconds, 49.23 seconds and 1:15.47.
The victory was the third in eight starts this year for Angara, who earned $450,000 to push her bankroll to $686,585 while improving her overall record to five wins from 12 trips to the post.
English-bred Megahertz, second choice in the wagering at odds of 7-2, was last of all turning for home and had to angle out widest in the stretch, coming up just a neck short while never really getting comfortable over the yielding going. She returned $4.60 and $3.20.
"She's such a great filly to run the kind of race she did," said Alex Solis, who rode the runner-up. "The whole backstretch she was switching leads. The soft turf is not her type of going, but today she proved that she's a champion and she ran a valiant race."
Sophomore filly Melhor Ainda, the 3-1 post time favorite, lacked room at the top of the stretch but closed well to finish third and was beaten less than a half-length for all of it. She paid $2.80.
"Until the quarter pole I had a good trip but then I didn't have anywhere to go," said her rider, John Velazquez.
Wonder Again, Sundrop, Wend, Mona Lisa, Halo Ola and Miss Terrible completed the order of finish.
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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