Chicago Barn to Wire Breeders' Cup Handicapping Tournaments

SPORTSMAN'S NOTES

Sportsman's Park results

Contact: David Zenner (773) 242-1121 ext. 310
sportsmanspub@aol.com

Sunday, March 24, 2002

McMAHON WINS SPORTSMAN'S PARK BREEDERS' CUP HANDICAP

CICERO, Ill. (March 24, 2002) -- McMahon, named for former Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon, took advantage of his speed to grab an early lead and held sway the late challenge of defending champion Chicago Six to win the $104,450 Sportsman's Park Breeders' Cup Handicap by a neck. The 4-year-old son of Salt Lake was ridden by Randall Meier and covered the one mile over a fast racetrack in 1:38.07.

"We were hoping to be up front, but we weren't worried about it," said Meier, Sportsman's Park's all-time leading jockey. "He just went down there and cut the corner (into the first turn) so comfortably. He left me sitting right where I wanted to be."

McMahon led the field of eight horses through easy fractions of 24.37 seconds, 48.07 seconds, 1:13.01 and 1:25.33 and he had plenty left in the tank when asked to respond to the late rally of Chicago Six.

"Before I even looked, I knew (Chicago Six) would be running," Meier added. "He runs at us every time but our horse is a nice little horse."

A stakes winner as a 2-year-old, McMahon was sidelined for much of his 3-year-old season and was only brought back to the races last November.

"He fractured a pastern bone in the LeComte (Stakes in Jan. 2001) and we gave him almost a year off," said winning trainer Michele Boyce, who co-owns the horse with Nate Ruffolo's Cherrywood Stable. "When he was ready to run, the meet was almost over. We got a couple of races into him and then I took a shot and sent him to Jenine Sahadi in California who did a great job with him."

The victory, worth $62,670, boosted his bankroll to $149,270 from a record of four wins and four thirds from 13 starts.

Odds-on favorite Chicago Six raced along the rail in mid pack and made a late rally but fell a neck short of the winner. It was another three lengths back to third-place finisher Kombat Kat, followed by Valid Prime, Generous Rosi, Apalachee Special, Eyebrow Raiser and Associate.

"He ran good," said Alfredo Juarez Jr., who rode the runner-up. "The speed was holding all day long. That's what beat me. He was coming. He was running good. I had no trouble. I was right where I wanted to be. He gave me everything he had."

"I had every opportunity to win," said jockey Corey Lanerie, who made the trip from the Fair Grounds to ride Kombat Kat. "He just wasn't good enough. He broke a little tardy and I was stuck behind (horses) around the first turn. Down the backside I was able to get him out and let him start running. He came to them when I needed him to but I could just never get by them."

McMahon paid $18.80, $4.20 and $2.10. Chicago Six returned $2.20 and $2.10. Kombat Kat paid $2.10.

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