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|Arlington Park stakes recap (8/11/07)
Contact: David Zenner
ROYAL HIGHNESS JUST UP TO WIN GRADE I BEVERLY D. STAKES
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (August 11, 2007) – Monceaux Stable’s Royal Highness rallied from far off the pace and caught Irridescence just before the wire to capture the Grade I, $750,000 Beverly D. Stakes by a head on Saturday at Arlington Park before an international racing crowd of 32,055.
Arlington Park four-time riding champion Rene Douglas was in the saddle aboard the daughter of Monsun, who ran the mile and three-sixteenths over good turf in 1:56.68. The 9-1 fifth choice in the field of seven, Royal Highness returned $20.40, $9.40 and $5.60. With the win, Royal Highness will receive an automatic starting berth in the $2 million Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Monmouth Park on October 27, should the owners nominate their mare to the Breeders’ Cup.
Jennie R., under E.T. Baird, made the early lead, setting fractions of :24.67 for the opening quarter, :49.90 for the half mile; and three quarters in 1:14.16. Royal Highness remained well back in sixth position through much of the early running.
In the stretch, Irridescence, who stalked in second to that point, wrested the lead from Jennie R. Irridescence then faced the challenge of the Christophe Clement-trained Royal Highness. Under Douglas, Royal Highness saved ground until the turn for home, then tipped out for running room and ran down Irridescence in the final yards under strong left-handed urging.
“Turning for home, I knew I had a big chance,” said Douglas. “When I got to the other horse [Irridescence], she would not give up, but I had to finish really, really hard.”
Royal Highness’s victory was her fourth in 14 lifetime starts. Last time out, she finished second in the Robert G. Dick Memorial Breeders’ Cup Handicap on July 14 at Delaware Park. Prior to that, in her only other 2007 start, Royal Highness won the Grade III The Very One Handicap on February 25 at Gulfstream Park. Saturday’s $445,500 winner’s check boosts her career bankroll to $987,081.
“She ran a great race,” said jockey John Murtagh of his mount, Irridescence. “She couldn’t have done much more. Her [Royal Highness’s] head was down, my filly’s was up. She behaved beautifully. I thought I was going to win. It was a good battle for the last half-furlong, but she just got me on the line.”
Irridescence paid $6.60 and $4.40 as the runner up.
Lady of Venice (FR) closed to get third, 2 ½ lengths behind Royal Highness and Irridescence. Lady of Venice paid $3.40 to show.
Arlington Park – the Chicago area’s premier Thoroughbred racetrack located in Arlington Heights, Ill. – will run a 94-day meet in 2007 from Friday, May 4 through Sunday, Sept. 16. Arlington Park, whose parent company is Churchill Downs Incorporated (Nasdaq: CHDN), also operates nine off-track, simulcast-wagering facilities – Trackside Arlington Park (Arlington Heights), Trackside Chicago, Trackside Quad City Downs (East Moline), Trackside Rockford, Trackside Waukegan, Fat Sam’s Bar & Grill featuring Trackside OTB in Lockport, Lucky’s featuring Trackside OTB in South Elgin, Nicolino’s featuring Trackside OTB in McHenry and The Inferno featuring Trackside OTB in South Beloit. Information on Arlington Park can be found online at www.arlingtonpark.com.
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