|Arlington Park Stakes Results
Contact: David Zenner (847) 385-7535
FALCON FLIGHT NETS ARLINGTON 'CAP VICTORY
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill (July 27, 2002) -- Gary A. Tanaka's Falcon Flight, winner of the Stars and Stripes Breeders' Cup Turf over this course last year, captured his second Arlington Park stakes race in as many attempts when he rallied from far back to take the $225,000 Arlington Handicap by a neck Saturday at Arlington Park. The 5-year-old son of Persian Bold was ridden by Rene Douglas and covered the mile and a quarter over yielding turf in 2:03.13.
Trained by Donald Burke II, whose first career victory came in last year's Stars and Stripes, Falcon Flight earned $135,000 for the win, his fifth in 16 starts, and boosted his bankroll to $616,149.
Under a perfectly timed ride by Douglas, Falcon Flight was well off the early pace while saving ground, split rivals on the final turn and angled wide in the lane to overtake Kappa King in the final strides.
"The main thing was to get him to relax," said Douglas, who has ridden the winners in five of Arlington's six graded stakes races run so far this season and later added the Modesty Handicap to his impressive ledger of victories here. "He relaxed really good today and I was waiting to make one move. You don't want to get him stuck. There was a horse right in front of me turning for home, so I swung him out a little bit."
The Grade III Arlington Handicap, one of three stakes races that comprise the track's Million Preview Day, is the final local prep for the Grade I Arlington Million which will be run August 17 along with the Grade I $700,000 Beverly D. and Grade I $400,000 Secretariat Stakes. Burke said the Million remains under consideration for Falcon Flight.
"If he comes out of this race good and thrives, and underscore thrives," said Burke, "I'll consider the Million. But there are going to be some really good horses in that race like Beat Hollow. He will have to come out of this race better than he went into it. When a horse runs as hard as this race they can run badly in the next one."
Catchy Word, a 16-1 longshot, set the pace in the race taking the field through a mile in 1:38.83 after setting moderate fractions of 25.08, 49.81 and 1:14.26.
Kappa King, never far back in the early going, took a short lead in the stretch but was unable to hold off the winner. It was another half-length back to 24-1 Gretchen's Star, who finished third. Private Son, Mystery Giver, Strut the Stage, Bahroba, Catchy Word, National Anthem and Tubrok completed the order of finish.
"My horse ran a good race, I can't complain," said Patrick Valenzuela, who rode the runner-up. "I just wish the leader had gone on a little further. My horse needed something to run at, but we found ourselves on the lead at the three-sixteenths pole, and from there he just couldn't withstand that late surge of the winner."
Falcon Flight paid $13.20, $5.00 and $5.00. Kappa King returned $4.00 and $3.60. Gretchen's Star paid $7.80.
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