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Contact: David Zenner
‘MAJOR’ UPSET IN STARS AND STRIPES BREEDERS’ CUP TURF
35-1 Longshot Takes Holiday Weekend Headliner
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (July 2, 2006) -- No jockey has won more races at Arlington Park than Hall of Fame rider Earlie Fires and the veteran reinsman added to his total with a come-from-behind, upset head victory aboard James Messineo’s Major Rhythm in Sunday’s $195,500 Stars and Stripes Breeders’ Cup Turf, Arlington’s traditional Independence Day holiday weekend headliner. The 7-year-old son of Rhythm covered the mile and a half over firm turf in 2:29.93.
Major Rhythm sat mid pack through the first mile of the 12-furlong marathon and was still fourth with less than a furlong to run in the race before making a furious rally out in the center of the course to prevail in the final strides.
“I was out there pretty wide and I wasn’t sure if we got there,” Fires admitted. “He kept running pretty hard. I just kept on riding him. It was a good race for him and I’m really glad for the owner and trainer.”
The Stars and Stripes was the 10th win in 46 starts for Major Rhythm but his first since capturing the Edward DeBartolo Memorial Breeders’ Cup Handicap at Remington Park in September 2004. The Stars and Stripes winner’s share of $120,000 boosted his bankroll past the half-million dollar mark to $547,140.
Come On Jazz, a 16-1 longshot, used a rail trip to finish second in the eight-horse field, a neck clear of Ascertain. Silver Whistle, Watershed Event, Dontbotherknocking, Dynalympic and Dreadnaught completed the order of finish.
“He never saw the other horse coming on the outside until it was too late,” said Come On Jazz’s jockey Francisco Torres. “Once he did, he started running again.”
Sent off as the longest price on the board at odds of more than 35-1, Major Rhythm returned $73.40, $24.40 and $7.40. Come On Jazz paid $15.20 and $7.40. Ascertain paid $5.80.
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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