The $100,000 Arlington Sprint was billed as a showdown between the last two winners of the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint. The 2010 winner, CHAMBERLAIN BRIDGE was set to battle the 2011 winner, REGALLY READY. Three others--BIRDIE BEATS PAR, LONGHUNTER, and SAINT LEON, were in the gate as well.
But neither of the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint winners from out of town got their picture taken. Instead, it was the locals on top, with SAINT LEON controlling the race from gate to wire. Arlington Park-based trainer Michelle Boyce and rider E. T. Baird got the victory.
SAINT LEON winning the Arlington Sprint. Photo courtesy Four Footed Fotos.
SAINT LEON, the co- second choice at 7-2 odds, got a classic front-runner's ride from E. T. Baird. “I wasn’t bothering to look back because you only go forward. He’s a real nice horse and he has a lot of class. He’s got a real good personality. He loves what he’s doing.", said Baird post-race on the seven-year-old winner.
Clicking off splits of :22.39, :45.74, and :57.25, he broke on top and built a four length lead at the top of the stretch and held of the closers, including a fast-closing CHAMBERLAIN BRIDGE, who stumbled horribly at the break.
"He broke straight up in the air", said CHAMBERLAIN BRIDGE's rider, Miguel Mena.
The 2010 Arlington Sprint winner fell almost ten lengths behind at the start, and almost got up for the picture, losing by a half-length. LONGHUNTER, at 11-1, the longest price in the field, was third. Favored REGALLY READY, the 4-5 favorite and defending BC Turf Sprint victor, was off the board. BIRDIE BEATS PAR was last. Final time for the five and one-half furlongs on firm turf was 1:03.18.