|Arlington Park Stakes results
HONOR IN WAR TAKES GRADE III ARLINGTON HANDICAP
Million Likely Next For Multiple Graded Stakes Winner
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (July 26, 2003) -- Honor in War, who races in the 3rd Turn Stable LLC colors of former professional football player Wil Wolford, rallied from far back to win the Grade III $250,000 Arlington Handicap by a neck over Better Talk Now Saturday at Arlington Park. David Flores flew in from his Southern California homebase to guide the Paul McGee trained colt to victory in 2:02.71 for the mile and a quarter over firm turf.
The son of Lord At War rebounded from a loss in the Grade I Manhattan Handicap in his last start June 7 to pick up his second graded stakes score and seventh victory in 15 starts overall. The $150,000 winner's share pushed the 4-year-old's earnings past the $600,000 mark to $612,296. Earlier this year, Honor in War captured the Grade I Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day.
Honor in War toiled in the middle of the pack while longshots Extra Check and Della Francesca dueled through fractions of 25.04, 49.35 and 1:14.05. Flores allowed Honor in War to move on the second turn and took the lead just before the quarter pole after covering a mile in 1:38.66.
"He broke so nice and I got a great spot," Flores said. "He relaxed so beautifully on the backside. When I shook him a little bit, he responded really strong. I wasn't really worried about those two horses in front. On the second turn, I really started working on him just to get in front by the quarter pole. With this (head) wind in the stretch, I think if you can get in front in that spot you have a great chance to (win)."
The 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 16 along with the Grade I $700,000 Beverly D. and Grade I $400,000 Secretariat Stakes. McGee said Honor in War would likely return for the Million.
"If all goes well between now and then, the Arlington Million is definitely our goal," said the Kentucky-based trainer who also indicated that Honor in War would return to the Bluegrass State to prepare for the Arlington Million.
Better Talk Now rallied from eighth at the top of the stretch to get up for second. It was another three-quarters of a lengths back to third-place finisher, Illinois-bred Mystery Giver.
"I had my horse in perfect position right behind the winner, but he lugged in all the way down the stretch," said Rene Douglas of his trip aboard the runner-up. "I tried my best but it's hard to ride like that."
"My horse has to come from out of it, so I could have used a little quicker pace to run at," said Mystery Giver's jockey, Robby Albarado. "But it was two nice horses that beat me."
Della Francesca, Act of War, Shaanmer, Tijiyr, Candid Glen, Extra Check and Gretchen's Star completed the order of finish.
Honor in War, the 8-5 betting favorite, paid $5.20, $3.60 and $2.60. Better Talk Now returned $8.40 and $5.20. Mystery Giver paid $3.80.
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.
- END -