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Contact: David Zenner
TAKE THE POINTS COVERS THE SPREAD IN SECRETARIAT STAKES
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (Aug. 8, 2009) – Always within striking distance of the leaders under Kent Desormeaux, Starlight Partners’ Take the Points challenged European invader Black Bear Island in the stretch and wore down that rival by a head to capture the Grade I $400,000 Secretariat Stakes for 3-year-olds before 28,141 at Arlington Park. The win was one of two lucrative stakes wins for Desormeaux, who also accounted for the Beverly D. Stakes aboard Dr. John Chandler’s Dynaforce.
A son of Even the Score, Take the Points had been fancied as a Triple Crown contender earlier this year. But a 13th–place finish in the Preakness Stakes led Take the Points’ connections to point their colt for grass races, and the move paid big dividends today. The Todd Pletcher trainee raced three-wide around the track, never more than 3 ½-lengths off the lead set by longshot Hoosier Kingdom, then ranged up at the top of the stretch to challenge Black Bear Island who had inherited the lead.
Take the Points, sent off as a tepid 5-2 betting favorite, withstood a bump in the stretch from the John Murtagh-ridden foe but hung in there to get up in the race’s final strides. Laureate Conductor closed well from mid-pack to get third without seriously threatening the top two. Final time for the race over the good going was 2:05.41 for the mile-and-a-quarter distance.
“He is a wonderful horse,” Desormeaux said. “He has a great stride and showed it throughout the race, and really had a strong stride down the lane. He was comfortable down the backstretch and had a ton of fight at the end. It was a great race, and he ran great.”
“The distance was a bit of a question mark coming in to this race, but I think he answered that question today,” said Michael McCarthy, assistant trainer for Todd Pletcher, who was not at Arlington Park. In his two previous turf efforts, both at Colonial Downs, Take the Points had gotten as close as second during the stretch runs of both the June 20 Colonial Turf Cup and the July 18 Virginia Derby, but each time he tired slightly to finish fourth in the mile-and-three-sixteenths Turf Cup and third in the mile-and-a-quarter Virginia Derby.
With today’s performance, Take the Points earned $230,400 to nearly double his career bankroll to $494,590 while improving his overall record to three wins from 10 starts. His previous victories had both come in one-mile events on dirt – last September in the mud at Belmont, and in January at Gulfstream Park.
Hoosier Kingdom, an Indiana-bred, set the pace for more than a mile through fractions of 25.71 seconds, 51.35 seconds, 1:16.29 and 1:40.76 before getting overtaken by the rest of the field and finishing last. The runner-up, Black Bear Island, assumed command from the tiring pacesetter and led until the race’s final jumps. Black Bear Island was recently sold by his European connections to owners R.D. Hubbard, Edward C. Allred and Robert Masterson, and he will stay in the United States to campaign for Southern California-based trainer Julio Canani.
“My horse ran a very good race,” said European rider Murtagh, pilot of Black Bear Island. “It was just the last 20 yards or so he went dead on me. The winner just got me at the wire.”
Oil Man finished fourth in the 10-horse field followed by Proceed Bee, Quite a Handful, Giant Oak, Reb, Cliffy’s Future and Hoosier Kingdom.
Take the Points paid $7.40, $4.00 and $3.20. Black Bear Island returned $5.20 and $3.80. Laureate Conductor paid $5.20 to show.
Arlington Park – the Chicago area’s premier Thoroughbred racetrack located in Arlington Heights, Ill. – will run a 98-day meet in 2009 from Friday, May 1 through Sunday, Sept. 27. Arlington Park, whose parent company is Churchill Downs Incorporated (Nasdaq: CHDN), also operates 10 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, Tad’s Sports Bar & Grill featuring Trackside OTB in South Beloit and Salerno-Pincente Ristorante featuring Trackside OTB in Hodgkins. Information on Arlington Park can be found online at www.arlingtonpark.com.
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