Arlington Park news release
Contact: Brian W. Spencer
WORLD APPROVAL’S RATING SOARS IN AMERICAN DERBY
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (July 11, 2015) – Live Oak Plantation’s World Approval, a regally bred son of Northern Afleet, notched his first graded stakes win when holding firm in deep stretch to register a neck win in Saturday’s Grade III $100,000 American Derby at Arlington International Racecourse on Million Preview Day. The top-three finishers all received automatic berths into the Grade I $450,000 Secretariat Stakes on August 15 with their entry and starting fees waived.
Sent to post as the even-money favorite, World Approval pressed a soft pace set by Lothenbach Stables’ Nun the Less through splits of 25.46, 52.46 and 1:18.12 over good turf and completed the 1 1/8-miles journey in 1:52.92. Ridden by Jose Lezcano for trainer Mark Casse, World Approval returned $4.20, $3.20 and $2.60. The win was World Approval’s third in seven lifetime starts and the $58,800 winner’s share boosted his career bankroll to $174,050.
“I felt very confident all the way,” Lezcano said. “When I asked him at the quarter, he had a good kick and he went on to win the race. He is very good.”
Casse was equally enthused about his charge’s performance, saying “I’m really happy with him. I’m not sure that’s exactly the way he wants to run, but good horses can overcome things. He got it done and we plan on being back on Aug. 15 (for the Grade I $450,000 Secretariat Stakes).”
Godolphin Racing’s Eoin Harty-trained Crittenden, under jockey Flavien Prat, made a menacing move off the turn, but could not collar the leader in the final strides and returned $6.80 and $4.40. A winner of the $75,000 PDJF Stakes at Indiana Grand in his most recent start, the son of Distorted Humor progressed once more with the game effort.
Prat was pleased with his mount’s effort. “The pace was really slow, but I think if it was faster I could have won,” he noted. “He gave me a good answer.”
Nun the Less dug in until deep stretch after setting modest splits, but was overtaken late and held third for trainer Chris Block and jockey Florent Geroux, returning $3.20.
“We got a great trip,” Geroux said. “I couldn’t have gone any slower. I think that a mile and an eighth might be too much for my horse.”
“I thought he ran hard and I don’t think that was his game,” Block said. “None the less – no pun intended – I thought we may end up there on the lead and we dug in the best we could. (Geroux) did a great job.”
King of New York, Firespike, Raagheb and Slope completed the order of finish.
Arlington International Racecourse – the Chicago area’s premier Thoroughbred racetrack located in Arlington Heights, Ill. – will run a 77-day meet in 2015 from Friday, May 1 through Saturday, Sept. 26. Arlington International Racecourse, whose parent company is Churchill Downs Incorporated (Nasdaq: CHDN), also operates ten off-track, simulcast-wagering facilities in Arlington Heights, Aurora, Chicago, 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.