Arlington Park news release
Contact: David Zenner
MISTER MARTI GRAS WINS GRADE III WASHINGTON PARK ‘CAP
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (Sept. 3, 2011) – Lothenbach Stables’ Mister Marti Gras rallied from far back to nail front-running favorite Workin For Hops in the final strides to win the Grade III $100,000 Washington Park Handicap Saturday at Arlington Park. Eduardo Perez was astride the homebred son of Belong to Me who ran the mile and an eighth over Polytrack in 1:51.60.
Content to keep the Chris Block-trained 4-year-old far back early, Perez eased his mount to the outside on the second turn and made a strong rally down the center of the track to prevail at the wire while avoiding trouble just to his inside.
“My horse was running straight,” Perez said. “I didn’t cause the problem (near the wire). They told me to stay off the pace and didn’t want me to be too close. I took my shot pretty good and my horse ran very hard.”
At the same time the winner was making his move, Maristar was moving between horses and was steadied inside the sixteenth pole. Her rider, E. T. Baird, claimed foul against both the winner and runner-up alleging interference. After a lengthy review, the stewards disqualified Workin for Hops from second and placed him third, moving Maristar to the second spot.
“(I) didn’t have a rough trip until the last part of it, but I think I would have won if I hadn’t gotten pinched,” Baird said.
“(It’s been) a very eventful hour,” added Maristar’s trainer Gerard Butler referring to his second-place at Saratoga with Pachattack in the Personal Ensign and a move up to second here with Maristar.
The Washington Park was the first graded stakes victory for Mister Marti Gras, whose overall record improved to five wins from 17 starts. He earned $58,200 to boost his bankroll to $416,996.
Sent off at 7-1 odds, he paid $16.80, $7 and $3.40. Maristar returned $7.40 and $4.20. Workin for Hops paid $2.60.
Burj Alzain, Color Me Blue, Dark Cove, General Quarters and Hoosier Kingdom completed the order of finish in the eight-horse field.
Quotes for the Grade III Washington Park Handicap
Eddie Perez (rode the winner, Mister Marti Gras): “My horse was running straight. I didn’t cause the problem (near the wire). They told me to stay off the pace and they didn’t want me to be too close. I took my shot pretty good and my horse ran very hard. He handled the Polytrack fine but he would have won by more on the grass.”
James Graham, beaten favorite Workin for Hops (second through the line, disqualified and placed third): “He ran his race, got pressed.”
E. T. Baird, (third through the line aboard Maristar, who was moved up to second): “(I) didn’t have a rough trip until the last part of it, but I think I would have won if I hadn’t gotten pinched.”
Tom McCarthy (owner-trainer of General Quarters, seventh): “Jamie (jockey Theriot) said he went from a handful of horse to nothing in about three strides.”
Gerard Butler (trainer of Maristar, officially second and Burj Alzain, fourth: “A very eventful hour.” (Referring to second-place at Saratoga with Pachattack in the Personal Ensign and a move up to second here with Maristar.
Arlington Park – the Chicago area’s premier Thoroughbred racetrack located in Arlington Heights, Ill. – will run an 86-day meet in 2011 from Friday, May 6 through Sunday, Sept. 25. Arlington Park, whose parent company is Churchill Downs Incorporated (Nasdaq: CHDN), also operates 12 off-track, simulcast-wagering facilities: Trackside Arlington Park (Arlington Heights), Trackside Chicago, Trackside Quad City Downs (East Moline), Trackside Waukegan, Shooters Bar & Grill at Don Carter Lanes featuring Trackside Rockford, Fat Sam’s Bar & Grill featuring Trackside OTB in Lockport, Stanley’s Ale House featuring Trackside OTB in South Elgin, Nicolino’s featuring Trackside OTB in McHenry, TADS Sports Bar & Grill featuring Trackside OTB in South Beloit, Salerno-Pincente Ristorante featuring Trackside OTB in Hodgkins, Salerno-Pincente Ristorante featuring Trackside OTB in Villa Park and Sundance Saloon featuring Trackside OTB in Waukegan. Information on Arlington Park can be found online at www.arlingtonpark.com.