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Contact: David Zenner
OFFICER’S WINNING ‘BID’ IMPRESSIVE; ‘JOY’ TAKES ‘FLIGHT’
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (August 20, 2006) – Frank Fletcher Racing Operations Inc.’s Officer Rocket prepped for a possible run in next month’s Grade III Arlington-Washington Breeders’ Cup Futurity with an eye-popping 13-length victory in the $41,750 Spectacular Bid Stakes Sunday as part of a juvenile stakes doubleheader at the suburban Chicago oval.
Under John McKee, the Bob Holthus-trained son of Officer tracked the leaders from the outside, took the lead at the top of the stretch and drew off under urging to win the seven-furlong race in 1:23.96 while paying $3.60, $2.20 and $2.20 as the 4-5 betting favorite.
Jockey James Graham, who was aboard second-place finisher Irish Dreamer, lodged a claim of foul alleging interference at the top of the stretch but that claim was disallowed by the Arlington Park stewards.
“I don’t know that was all about,” McGee said after the result had been declared official. “I thought I came out more than I went in.”
The Spectacular Bid was the first stakes win for Officer Rocket who broke his maiden here last month going six furlongs. The added eighth of a mile of Sunday’s affair seemed to be no deterrent.
“He ran very good here in his first start,” Holthus said. “He came back and duplicated that today. Even though Officer was primarily a sprinter, it looks like this horse will go on. (The Futurity) is our goal if he comes back well.”
Irish Dreamer was second in the seven-horse field and paid $3.20 and $2.80. Biglie Smallworld was another 2 ¾-lengths back in third and returned $4.
Also on Sunday, Team Victory’s Sea the Joy took the lead at the top of the stretch and held off a late charge by race favorite Lenaro to capture the $42,125 Top Flight Stakes by three-quarters of length with Arlington’s leading jockey Chris Emigh abord.
“I had plenty of horse left,” said Emigh. “She really relaxes well.”
The Top Flight was the third straight victory for the Scott Blasi-trained daughter of Stormy Atlantic who covered the seven furlongs in 1:24.14 and paid $13.20, $5.60 and $4.
Lenaro paid $3.60 and $3.40. It was another 7 ½ lengths back to Ice Storm Coming who finished third and returned $4.80.
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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