ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, IL -- The signs of fall are here. The heat has broken, the humidity has broken, and Arlington has moved to its late-season, three-day weeks. The stakes portion of the season also drew to a close today, with the meet's only two-year-old stakes.
In the Arlington-Washington Lassie, what looked like a competitive field of nine on paper turned into a one-horse race in the final furlong, as Ellis Park shipper Into Trouble cleared easily.
One race earlier, an Arlington-Washington Futurity that was expected to be a sharp local unveiling of Big Drink of Water turned out to be exactly that, as he pressed the pace and held safe from the late rally of Churchill Downs Racing Club's standard-bearer Distant Shore.
Arlington-Washington Lassie: A troubled start -- but a smooth performance down the lane -- for INTO TROUBLE
With as well as early speed has been holding the last few days, a slow break was enough to cause nervous moments for anyone who backed Into Trouble in the Arlington-Washington Lassie.
Seven furlongs later, after a heads-up ride from veteran jockey Chris Emigh, Into Trouble vindicated the decision by trainer Ben Colebrook and owner Donamire Farm to send her to the Arlington Futurity, as she rolled clear down the stretch to win in hand.
Though Into Trouble came slowly out of the gate, several others got away faster and made some pace up front. Though Thunderous Gem bobbled slightly in the early strides, she came away fast, and quickly took the lead. Craft Show pushed her from along the fence through the opening stages, and even as she began to weaken after a quarter of a mile, 1.3/1 favourite Winning Envelope was right there to goad Thunderous Gem from the outside. Meadow Dance also joined the fray three wide approaching the turn.
Into Trouble just began to unwind along the rail into the far turn. Coming off the rail to get around the fading Craft Show, she otherwise rode the inside through the bend. Responding well when shaken up for run, she shifted off the rail in shallow stretch, split Next Dance and Meadow Dance approaching the furlong pole, and took aim. She rolled past the fading Winning Envelope just before the furlong pole, past the gutsy Thunderous Gem just after it, and continued comfortably to the wire. Thunderous Gem chased gamely, but finished two and three-quarters lengths behind. It was another four lengths back to Meadow Dance, who ran on for show a length and a half past Next Dance. Winning Envelope, Craft Show, Get None, and Chrome Attack completed the order of finish. Beach Getaway, the winner's stablemate in the Ben Colebrook barn, was a trainer scratch.
Into Trouble is a two-year-old bay filly by Into Mischief out of the Benchmark mare Smooth Performance. Bred in Kentucky by Betz, Burns, CHNNHK Thoroughbreds, Lamantia, Magers, CoCo Equine, and Ramsby, she was a $180,000 purchase by Mike Ball out of the Betz Thoroughbreds consignment at Keeneland September last year, and is now owned by Donamire Farm. The victory in the Arlington-Washington Lassie brings her career record to a perfect two-for-two; she won her debut going seven furlongs on the Ellis dirt on August 11. The $43,650 winner's share of the purse brings her career earnings to $68,850.
Though this was Into Trouble's first race over Polytrack, trainer Ben Colebrook had gotten positive indications from her training. “Her last breeze was really good [on the Polytrack],” Colebrook said of Into Trouble’s pre-race half-mile move at Keeneland Race Course. “She did handle the surface, but you just never know when they haven’t raced over it before. She’s very classy and just a really, really nice filly so we’ll enjoy this one and find something for her down the road.”
The victory also capped off an excellent race week for jockey Chris Emigh. Yesterday Emigh tied Carlos Silva for third place in all-time riding wins at Arlington, notching his 1,078th win at the course. Today he moved ahead of Silva when he rode Sea Diva -- a Silva trainee -- to victory in the second race. Now, with 1,080 wins at Arlington, Emigh only trails Hall of Fame riders Earlie Fires (2,886) and Pat Day (1,330).
That experience and aptitude over the Arlington course doubtless helped Emight get Into Trouble home on top in the Lassie. “[They said] she’s really classy, just see what happens,” said Emigh of his winner. “She wasn’t paying attention at the break and fell out of the gate a little bit. She was still able to relax, and when I asked her to run she just went by everybody. I had so much horse and she was going so easy, I just took my time to try and find a way through.”
Into Trouble stopped the clock in 1:24.97 for seven furlongs over the Polytrack, and paid $30.40 to win. The exacta over Thunderous Gem (1-3) came back with $79.00 for each dollar on the combination. A $0.50 trifecta with Meadow Dance in the lowest rung (1-3-5) returned $163.40. The dime superfecta with Next Dance fourth (1-3-5-9) paid $159.40.
Arlington-Washington Futurity: BIG DRINK OF WATER fulfills the expectations of his connections and the public
If you can race on one kind of synthetic track,...you can race on one kind of synthetic track. Though Big Drink of Water had proven his mettle on the Tapeta in a maiden special weight at Presque Isle Downs, and then on the Tapeta in the Victoria Stakes at Woodbine, today's Arlington-Washington Futurity was his first race-day attempt over Arlington's Polytrack.
The footing wasn't the only new circumstance for Big Drink of Water. He also stretched to seven furlongs for the Futurity, his first time past six furlongs. And, it would be his first start for new trainer Larry Rivelli and new owner Patricia's Hope LLC (Vince Foglia), who purchased him privately after his score at Woodbine.
The public was unfazed by these questions, sending him out the 1.1/1 favourite in the field of seven. The hive mind proved correct, as Big Drink of Water handled the surface well and brought Rivelli his second victory in the Arlington-Washington Futurity.
Though Larry Rivelli's charges so often set the pace, Big Drink of Water had to tap into his tactical speed today. Though Hide the Demon only broke midfield he was hustled to the lead after a few strides, and set the pace while running rank along the fence. Big Drink of Water, sharp out of the gate, stalked just to his outside, with Distant Shore and Knicks Go in the next flight, and the rest further back.
Drawing closer to the far turn, Big Drink of Water turned up the pressure on the pacesetter, and Knicks Go engaged three wide, with Distant Shore still tucked in patiently behind them, inside. Knicks Go flattened a bit approaching the stretch, but Big Drink of Water kept breathing down Hide the Demon's neck.
With three sixteenths of a mile left, Hide the Demon could take no more. He capitulated on the rail, ceding the lead to the insistent Big Drink of Water. He opened up into the final furlong, with only one horse moving well enough to look a threat: Distant Shore, who had shifted off the rail in upper stretch, anticipating the fading pacesetter, and who was coming through with dead aim.
The newcomer chased gamely, slowly cutting into the margin, but Big Drink of Water was gone. He crossed the wire a length and a quarter clear of Distant Shore. He finished four and three quarters lengths clear of Knicks Go, who was another three and a quarter lengths ahead of fading pacesetter Hide the Demon. Sayin Grace, Castlewood Terrace, and Coup De Ville completed the order of finish.
Big Drink of Water is a two-year-old bay gelding, bred in Florida by Woodford Thoroughbreds LLC, by Soldat out of the Vindication mare Vindi Princess. Owned by Patricia's Hope LLC and trained by Larry Rivelli, he was ridden to victory by their regular jockey: Arlington's leading rider, Jose Valdivia. The victory was Big Drink of Water's third in four career starts, and the $44,100 winner's share of the purse brought Big Drink of Water's lifetime earnings into the six-figure range, to $114,490.
The winner's connections had circled today on their calendars. “We bought [Big Drink of Water] specifically for this race,” said Rivelli. “A buddy of mine, Jose’s agent Steve Leving, picked the horse out for us, [Vince] Foglia agreed to buy him and we took a shot."
Signs after acquiring Big Drink of Water and bringing him to Arlington were positive. Remarked Rivelli, "We worked him a couple of times in company with some good horses, and he stayed right with them so we were pretty confident.”
Big Drink of Water stopped the timer in 1:25.20 for seven furlongs on Polytrack, and paid $4.20 to win. The exacta over Distant Shore (7-1) returned $5.40 for each $1 wager. The $0.50 trifecta with Knicks Go third (7-1-5) came back with $12.95. The superfecta with Hide the Demon fourth (7-1-5-2) paid $4.41 for each dime on the combination.
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