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|Arlington Park Stakes Advance: Washington Park Handicap
Contact: David Zenner
PERFECT DRIFT SHOOTS FOR WASHINGTON PARK HAT TRICK
Two-Time Winner Favored in Bid for Third Victory
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (July 27, 2006) -- Stonecrest Farm’s Perfect Drift, winner of the 2003 and 2005 editions of the Washington Park Handicap, is favored in his bid to become the first horse to win the Grade II race three times when he heads to post as the 2-1 morning line choice in Saturday’s 74th running of the $300,000 race, Arlington Park’s richest main track affair.
A 7-year-old son of Dynaformer, Perfect Drift set a track record of 1:54.27 for the mile and three-sixteenths distance when winning last year’s renewal by 4 ¼ lengths despite being steadied on the second turn. A winner of more than $4.4 million in his career, the Murray Johnson-trained gelding comes into the Washington Park off a solid performance in the Grade I Stephen Foster Handicap where he was nipped on the wire in the final stride by Seek Gold. Perfect Drift will carry the starting high weight of 119 pounds and will be ridden Saturday by Mark Guidry, who took over as the horse’s regular jockey last year.
One pound back in racing secretary Kevin Greely’s weights is Jay Em Ess Stable’s Suave. The A. P. Indy horse returned action after a three-month layoff to record his first victory of the year with a wire-to-wire score over Second of June in an allowance optional claimer at Churchill Downs last time out June 16. Last year, the Paul McGee charge won the Grade II Saratoga Breeders’ Cup Handicap and was second in the Grade I Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park. Calvin Borel has the mount.
Barbara Cesare’s Second of June returned from 14 months on the sidelines in that same June 16 allowance, just missing getting the victory. A four-time victor, the son of Louis Quatorze has been injury plagued over the last two years and has not visited the winner’s circle since capturing the Grade III Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park in January 2004. Robby Albarado has the call aboard the 5-year-old horse who has been assigned 116 pounds for Saturday’s headliner.
Completing the field for the Washington Park (with jockey and weight assignment) are: Hugh Robertson & Homewrecker Racing LLC’s Three Hour Nap (Francisco Torres, 115 pounds), winner of the Grade III National Jockey Club Handicap at Hawthorne Race Course in April; Stud Fazenda Sao Patricio’s O’Connell’s (Jesse Campbell, 114), a Group III stakes victor in his native Brazil; Kenneth & Sarah Ramsey’s Nolan’s Cat (Chris Emigh, 113), runner-up in the Grade III Dominion Day Stakes at Woodbine July 1; and Darrell & Sadie Brommer’s Iosilver (Eduardo Perez, 111), who took the $104,000 Schaefer Mile at Hoosier last November.
Arlington Park –- the Chicago area’s premier Thoroughbred racetrack located in Arlington Heights, Ill. -– will run a 95-day meet in 2006 from Friday, May 5 through Tuesday, Sept. 12. 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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