Arlington Park news release
Contact: David Zenner
AVANZARE’S WASHINGTON PARK HANDICAP VICTORY
Jockey Chris Emigh Gets Win 3,500 in Grade III Race
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (Aug. 30, 2014) – The victory by Donato Lanni and John Youngblood’s Avanzare in Saturday’s Washington Park Handicap is likely to be remembered more for the milestones it created than for the head victory over Hattaash in the 1 1/8-miles race timed in 1:52.76. The score was notable as it gave veteran jockey Chris Emigh win number 3,500 in his career while an interesting side note is that earlier this year the same horse gave conditioner Tom Proctor his 1,000th training victory.
Sent out to the lead in the six-horse field, Avanzare had things his own way while setting a leisurely pace of 24.94 seconds for the opening quarter, 50.04 for the half-mile and a three-quarter mile split of 1:15.63.
The Washington Park was the first stakes win and fifth victory in nine starts overall for the 4-year-old son of Grand Reward who earned $89,100 to boost his bankroll to $217,180. The 3-1 third choice in the wagering, he paid $8.60, $4.40 and $3.
“I thought (Gimmeadrink) would show more gas and that would have scared me, if we hooked up and killed each other,” Emigh said. “I got the jump on him into the turn and slowed it down. Everything turned out perfect. We barely hung on and I’m very happy.”
Hattaash, a 24-1 outsider, made a late rally to challenge the winner but came up a head short, returning $17.60 and $6.
“He ran awesome,” said Hattaash’s jockey Sheldon Russell. “I got the chance to work him last week and (the connections) were stressing to me that he was sitting on a big race; he just hadn’t been running as well. I worked him and he was very cool and professional. They told me to stay six lengths behind and make a run – and he got a great trip. I honestly thought when I tipped him out that he would run right by Chris (Emigh on Avanzare). I don’t know if Chris’ horse dug back in or my horse anticipated a little bit and just thought he was home.”
Mister Marti Gras, the 17-10 post time favorite and 2011 victor in this event, was another neck back in third after closing from last, paying $2.60.
“There was no pace,” said Eduardo Perez, who rode the beaten favorite. “I thought I was going to be going a little faster. It hurt me when I saw we were going 50-51 (seconds) at the half and just couldn’t catch up at the end.”
Fordubai, Gimmeadrink and Only in America completed the order of finish.
Emigh, a mainstay on the Chicago circuit since 1996, was greeted in the winner’s circle by his mother as well as his fellow riders who doused him with champagne. It was a week earlier that Emigh had recorded win number 3,499 and thought he might just get the milestone victory in the Washington Park.
“A few days ago I said I hope I win it in the big race,” he said. “That’ll make it even more spectacular. But it took 25 years to get here and it took a lot of hard riding and a lot of broken bones and surgeries. My favorite memories are riding at Arlington Park.”
Arlington International Racecourse – the Chicago area’s premier Thoroughbred racetrack located in Arlington Heights, Ill. – will run an 89-day meet in 2014 from Friday, May 2 through Sunday, Sept. 28. Arlington International Racecourse, whose parent company is Churchill Downs Incorporated (Nasdaq: CHDN), also operates 11 off-track, simulcast-wagering facilities in Arlington Heights, Aurora, Chicago, East Moline, Waukegan, Villa Park, Rockford, South Elgin, Hodgkins, McHenry and Orland Hills. Arlington International Racecourse is a proud member of America’s Best Racing. Information on Arlington International Racecourse and Trackside OTB can be found online at www.arlingtonpark.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/arlingtonpark and www.facebook.com/tracksideotb, and on Twitter at @Arlington_Park for the latest happenings, @arlingtonracing for the latest racing news and @tracksideotb for all things pertaining to off-track wagering.