ARLINGTON HEIGHTS--Four Grade Three Stakes were contested Saturday on the Arlington Park turf course. Each of the turf stakes were on turf rated "good" and all served as prepatory races for the August 18 Arlington International Festival of Racing, better known as Arlington Million Day. Here's a look at each of the four graded stakes.
First was the $200,000 Modesty, carded for older females on the turf possibly aiming for the Beverly D. Stakes. Returning to the Arlington Park winners' circle was ROMACACA. Owned by F. Calabrese and ridden by the meet's leading rider Cisco Torres, she sat off the early pace set by Sixty Sails winner SHE'S ALL IN. She took over in mid-stretch, fending off the closing run of SNOW TOP MOUNTAIN.
ROMACACA scoring in the Modesty.
Torres rode confidently throughout, noting that "when SNOW TOP MOUNTAIN came to me, all that did was make my mare run a little harder".
Winning time for the Modesty's 1 3/16 miles was 1:56. 67. In post-race interviews, trainer Danny Miller mentioned that ROMACACA would be pointed to the Beverly D. on Million Day. She was sent off at 9-2 odds and paid $11.00 to win. 5-2 favorite UPPERLINE was third.
Next was the $200,000 American Derby. The feeder race for the Secretariat lost some luster when SILVER MAX was a pre-program scratch, but the stretch duel between COZETTI and ALL STORMY certainly provided some appreciated drama. ALL STORMY led for most of the race, setting a slow pace (:50.56, 1:15.74), with COZETTI getting up during the stretch run with ALL STORMY. Rider Shaun Bridgmohan commented on his stretch run, as he "intended to go around at the eighth pole. The horse on the rail drifted, so I went on the inside. It was a little tight but he pulled through."
COZZETI (with connections) in the winners' circle after the American Derby.
COZETTI was the 4-1 second choice in the wagering and paid $10.00 to win, covering the 1 3/16 miles in 1:57.42. DADDY NOSE BEST, the 17-10 favorite, was fourth.
One race after the American Derby came the local prep to the Arlington Million, the $200,000 Arlington Handicap. RAHYSTRADA broke from the gate, got a one-length lead for most of the race, and led every step of the way in the mile and a quarter turf test. He set solid early fractions of :24.15, 48.51, and 1:13.19 on the way to ten furlongs in a solid 2:01.84. He held fast closing New York invader BOISTEROUS at bay in the stretch to win by a neck.
Winning rider Joel Rosario got instructions to send RAHYSTRADA to the front as "there wasn't a lot of speed in the race". Rosario "sent him out there and tired to hold position. He took the bit on the backside and he was gone after that."
In winning the Arlington Handicap for the second time in three years, RAHYSTRADA rewarded backers with $10.60 win payoffs at 9-2 odds. BOISTEROUS, the 19-10 favorite, was second.
The fourth and final G3 stakes of the day was the $150,000 Stars & Stripes, a feeder to the Arlington St. Leger, a marathon turf event in its first running this year. The home team scored in the Stars & Stripes. As expected, WORKIN FOR HOPS set the early pace in the 1 1/2 mile, three turn event. But IOYA BIGTIME got excellent position and kicked clear on the third and final turn to win by a length and a half for trainer Chris Block. Final odds were 41-1 odds and IOYA BIGTIME was ridden by Jeffrey Sanchez.
IOYA BIGTIME surprises in the Stars & Stripes.
Block in post-race interviews credited Sanchez's ride on IOYA BIGTIME, as Sanchez "let him be and [IOYA BIGTIME] relaxed into the bit. Block also trained SUNTRACER, another Illinois-bred that finished third.
IOYA BIGTIME, an Illinois-bred, was the second longest choice at 41- odds and paid $84.00 to win, covering the mile and a half in 2:28.44. Musketier, the 2-1 favorite, was second.
**A recap of the listed stakes featured earlier on the afternoon is here.
All Photos Courtesy Four Footed Fotos. Thanks to Sr. Communications Manager Dave Zenner for considerations.