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Contact: David Zenner
PURIM EASY WINNER IN INAUGURAL WEXLER STAKES
Graded Stakes Winner Annexes Illinois-Owner Restricted Event
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (May 7, 2006) -- E. J. Sukley’s Purim, a multiple graded stakes winner on turf and dirt, sat off the pace before surging to the front in the stretch en route to a 3 ¼-length victory in the $100,000 Avers Wexler Illinois Owners Stakes on Sunday at Arlington Park. Robby Albarado came in from his Kentucky homebase to pilot the son of Dynaformer who covered the mile and a sixteenth over good turf in 1:42.02.
“Last year, he was more aggressive but this year he’s more mature,” said Albarado, a former Arlington riding champion. “He was so kind today and that’s going to enable him to be a better horse this year. This was a good race for him and he loves it here.”
The Wexler is restricted to horses owned by Illinois residents and winner trainer Tom Proctor quipped that he nearly missed nominating the 4-year-old colt for the race.
“I missed it (that the race was Illinois-owner restricted and not Illinois-bred restricted) and almost didn’t nominate,” said Proctor. “I figured we’d be 3-5 in here and I wanted to get him back on the grass. He relaxes a little more than he did last year. He’ll run either turf or dirt. The main thing is to put him in where he can make money.”
Purim, who won the Grade III Arlington Classic on turf last year and the Grade III Razorback Breeders’ Cup Handicap on dirt at Oaklawn Park earlier this year, added $60,000 to elevate his career earnings to $409,543 while improving his overall record to six wins from 12 starts.
No Tolerance set the pace in the race and led by as many as seven lengths early through fractions of 24.26 seconds, 48.22 seconds and 1:12.36 but proved no match for the winner in the lane. Despite finishing second, his connections were pleased with his performance.
“The barn had this horse absolutely dead on,” said Jesse Campbell, who rode the runner-up, who is trained by his father, Mike. “I had this horse right where I wanted him to be. I thought there would be a little more pressure on me than there was. I pressed the button a little soon because I knew that monster (race winner Purim) was behind me and I wanted to try to get away. Sometimes you get lucky doing that.”
It was another head back to Major Rhythm, who finished third in the eight-horse field. Scooter Roach, Home of Stars, Windigo, Nkosi Reigns and Mystery Giver completed the order of finish.
Purim, the 7-10 favorite, paid $3.40, $2.60 and $2.20. No Tolerance returned $4.80 and $3.60. Major Rhythm paid $4.
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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