Arlington Park news release
Contact: Michael Adolphson
WALK CLOSE OUTSTRIDES MANGO DIVA IN MODESTY THRILLER
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (July 11, 2015) – Highland Yard LLC’s Walk Close showed brilliant acceleration to best her fellow female turf fillies and mares and win the Grade III $100,000 Modesty Handicap Saturday afternoon at Arlington International Racecourse. After breaking last of all from the four-hole of nine starters, the daughter of Tapit settled in seventh before saving ground on the turn, tipping out and displaying an impressive turn of foot to wear down Mango Diva by a half-length for trainer Christophe Clement. The top three finishers in the Modesty all earned themselves a free roll into the Grade I $700,000 Beverly D. on Aug. 15 – Arlington Million Day.
Ridden by James Graham for the first time, the Kentucky-bred traveled the 1 3/16-miles distance in 1:57.08 over rain-soaked good ground on Arlington's turf course after earlier fractions of 24.02, 49.22, 1:13.71, and 1:38.72 were set by Steven Frum’s Seeking Treasure under Jerome Lermyte. Sent off at a generous 4.80-1, Walk Close returned $11.60, $6.20 and $3.40 as the public's co-fourth wagering choice, earning $57,600 to boost her career bankroll to $279,788. The Modesty was her first graded victory and second stakes victory overall after taking last summer’s $100,000 Wild Applause Stakes at Belmont Park.
“I had a beautiful trip and followed the pace around there, picked up the spread to home and did it well,” beamed Graham. “The ground is a little soft, but she did it the right way. She’s a really nice filly.”
“I was really pleased with her,” Lee Vickers, assistant to Clement, said. “She has been improving and ran her race today. James rode a beautiful race and she showed she’s a very nice filly. The best place to be was on the inside and he kept her there until he had to get her out and she really responded nicely.”
Augustin Stable’s Group II-winning Mango Diva – also at 4.80-1 – finished a hard-driving second under Florent Geroux for trainer Michael Matz in what was only her second American start after 11 in Europe, returning $5.60 and $3.80. Haras Phillipson’s Gaga A, also making her second stateside start after a European tenure, closed from mid-pack to be beaten 2 1/4 lengths under Flavien Prat for Hall of Fame trainer Neil Drysdale, returning $3.40 to show as the 3.20-1 favorite.
“It was a great trip,” Geroux said. “I was exactly where I wanted to be, but I just got outkicked at the end.”
“I was pleased with that,” echoed Joss Saville, assistant to Matz. “It was encouraging. I think she did everything well, she just got caught. She broke nicely and relaxed and was in good position the whole time. She may like a little quicker ground. We would like to come back here for the Beverly D.”
“We had a good trip, but she is better when the ground is faster,” Prat said of the beaten favorite.
“I think she ran well,” Drysdale said. “She was a bit close and I think she was moving well. She may be a little better on faster ground.”
Multiple graded stakes winner Riposte and Overheard completed the top five, followed by Seeking Treasure, Honey Lake, Lots o’ Lex and Rock Me Mama. Notte D’Oro scratched.
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.