|Arlington Park Stakes results
'PERFECT' PERFORMANCE IN WASHINGTON PARK HANDICAP
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (July 19, 2003) -- Stonecrest Farm's homebred Perfect Drift solidified his status as one of this country's top handicap horses with an impressive five-length victory in the Grade II $400,000 Washington Park Handicap on Saturday at Arlington Park.
Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day picked up his fifth Washington Park win aboard the Murray Johnson-trained son of Dynaformer who covered the mile and three-sixteenths over a fast track in 1:55.49. The 3-5 favorite returned $3.20, $2.80 and $2.10.
Content to remain off the pace, Day began to move Perfect Drift up on the final turn and was right on the neck of front running Iron Deputy as the field of five turned for home.
"We were breathing down the leader's throat around the turn in hand," Day said. "When (Aeneas) mounted a challenge on the outside, I smooched a little. He responded gamely and was drawing off at the wire. He had his ears pricked at the time and was still well within himself."
The Washington Park was the second straight graded stakes score for Perfect Drift, who won the Grade I Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs last month by a head over Mineshaft. Perfect Drift earned $240,000 to boost his bankroll to $1,549,868 while extending his record to seven wins, three seconds and a third from 14 starts. Johnson indicated the Grade I Arlington Million, to be run here on Aug. 16, would likely be the next start for the 4-year-old gelding.
"The Arlington Million has been one of our goals," said Johnson. "(Dynaformer) is a versatile sire and affords us the chance to use different races to get him where we want."
Aeneas rallied from last at the top of the lane to run second, a length and a quarter clear of Flatter. Aeneas paid $9.40 and $2.80. Flatter paid $2.40.
"Marty (trainer Wolfson) and I discussed the strategy before the race," said jockey Gary Boulanger, who rode Aeneas. "We figured there was a lot of speed in there and we'd just come on the outside late. Even that didn't work. (Perfect Drift) was just too much. We were just second best. We weren't going to beat that horse if we'd run around there three times."
"He raced wonderful," said jockey Craig Perret of Flatter. "He gave me his best run. He showed a lot of courage. He was off nine months and only went 7½ (furlongs) in his first out and we were asking him to go a mile and three-sixteenths. He showed he belongs with these."
Iron Deputy finished fourth after leading through three-quarters of a mile in a quick 1:10.93. Phantom Light completed the order of finish.
Earlier in the day, Tom Fedro, Darrell & Sadie Brommer's Keeping the Gold picked up her fourth win in as many starts this year when she rallied along the rail to overtake Souris in deep stretch and take the $52,400 Top Corsage Stakes by a head. Eusebio Razo Jr. rode the Chris Block-trained filly who covered one mile in 1:36.86. She paid $6.60, $3 and $2.20.
Also, Fly Racing LLC's Skeet invaded from Kentucky and captured the $45,000 Smile Handicap by a neck over pacesetter Mighty Beau in the five-furlong grass event timed in 56.64 seconds over firm going. Rene Douglas rode the Robert Holthus-trained colt who paid $3.40, $2.40 and $2.40 as the 7-10 post time favorite.
Arlington Park -- host to the record-breaking 2002 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships and the Chicago area's premier Thoroughbred racetrack located in Arlington Heights, Ill. -- runs a 104-day meet in 2003 through Saturday, Sept. 27. Arlington Park, whose parent company is Churchill Downs Incorporated (Nasdaq: CHDN), also operates seven off-track, simulcast-wagering facilities: Trackside Arlington Park (Arlington Heights), Trackside Quad City Downs (East Moline), Trackside Chicago, Trackside McHenry, Trackside Rockford, Trackside Waukegan and Longshots featuring Trackside OTB in South Elgin. Information on Arlington Park can be found online at www.arlingtonpark.com.
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