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Horse slaughter in Illinois
|Arlington Park stakes recap (8/12/06)
Contact: Graham Ross
THE TIN MAN WINS ARLINGTON MILLION XXIV WIRE-TO-WIRE
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (Aug. 12, 2006)--Three years after his unsuccessful first Grade I Arlington Million run in 2003, Ralph and Aury Todd’s 8-year-old gelding The Tin Man proved he’s not getting older – he’s getting better – by capturing Saturday’s Arlington Million XXIV with a wire-to-wire one-length tally in front of 29,979 fans on hand for Chicago’s showcase Thoroughbred event.
The Tin Man, cleverly ridden by jockey Victor Espinoza, a master of pace, went to the front just after the break and maintained his position throughout as the fourth choice in the wagering, negotiating the mile and a quarter over the firm ground of Arlington’s grass course in 2:01.35. He paid $13, $6, and $4.60 to his backers.
“This was the second easiest win I’ve ever had,” said Espinoza immediately after the race. “The first was the (2002) Kentucky Derby on War Emblem (another wire-to-wire win).”
“I couldn’t believe they let him do that (speaking of the pedestrian early fractions of :24.75, :50.37, 1:15.18, and 1:38.64),” said winning Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella in a post-race press conference. “I had it in my mind that someone would press him a little bit. We could’ve taken him back if we had to, but Victor put him in the right place and did the right thing.”
Coming off a winning effort in Hollywood Park’s Grade II American Invitational Handicap July 2 – a race he had first won four years ago – The Tin Man slowed Saturday’s pace down enough to have plenty left when challenged in the stretch by Juddmonte Farms Inc.’s Cacique. That 5-year-old was ridden by Edgar Prado and prompted the pace throughout but could not seriously threaten The Tin Man.
Cacique did prove clearly second best, crossing under the wire a length and a quarter in front of third-place finisher Soldier Hollow, a British-bred owned by Gestut Park Wiedingen.
“I was exactly where I wanted to be,” said Prado, who won this year’s Kentucky Derby aboard Lael Stable’s Barbaro. “When I asked him for more he gave it to me, but we couldn’t catch the winner.”
Post time favorite English Channel, owned by James Scatuorchio and sent off at 2.10-1, was always well placed but finished fourth with no late rally.
“It was a ridiculously slow pace,” said English Channel’s trainer Todd Pletcher walking through the tunnel immediately after the race. “Hats off to The Tin Man. He slowed it down enough and stayed. End of story.”
Irish-bred Cacique returned $5.40 and $3.80 as the second choice in the wagering, while the European-campaigned Soldier Hollow paid $6.80.
Completing the field in order of finish were Flying Zee Stable’s Cosmonaut, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Mrs. Harry McCalmont’s Ace, Bushwood Stables’ Better Talk Now, Gary Tanaka’s Touch of Land, James Messineo’s Major Rhythm, and Winterbeck Manor Stud’s Phoenix Reach.
The Tin Man was the first wire-to-wire Arlington Million winner since Michael Tabor’s Marlin in 1997. Lord Derby’s Teleprompter, in 1985’s fifth running of the Arlington Million, was the only other to successfully use those tactics.
The Tin Man’s Arlington Million initial success after a three-year absence from the race was exceeded by Dotsam Stable’s John Henry, who won the inaugural Arlington Million in 1981 and returned to the winner’s circle three years later.
John Henry was a 9-year-old when he won the Million the second time, leaving 8-year-old The Tin Man as the race’s second-oldest successful senior citizen.
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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