MONDIALISTE Wins the Arlington Million, but the Rest of the Day Belongs to Florent Geroux

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, IL — Florent Geroux did not repeat in the Arlington Million today.

Come the wire, just a length and three quarters separated Geroux from a sweep of the Festival, as it was instead MONDIALISTE who took the meet’s signature race for rider Daniel Tudhope and trainer David O’Meara.

But, that seemed like the only thing Arlington Park’s prodigal son did not do today.  Geroux won five of his eight races, including all four other graded stakes on the card.  He won his second career American St. Leger (GIII) with top American stayer DA BIG HOSS, for trainer Mike Maker.  He won three more graded stakes on the grass for trainer Chad Brown: the Beverly D (GI) with SEA CALISI, the Secretariat (GI) with BEACH PATROL, and the Pucker Up (GIII) with NOBLE BEAUTY.  And, just to remind Chicago that he can still win with a lunch pail horse, Geroux took the day’s second race (a conditioned $25,000 claimer) with MENDOTA.

Arlington Million: Two North American Journeys, Two Grade I Wins for MONDIALISTE

By any account, MONDIALISTE’s first journey to North America was a success.  He made his first appearance on the continent last September in the Woodbine Mile (GI – CAN), and rallied past Lea to score the first Grade I victory of his career.  That earned him a berth in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (GI).  He performed admirably, closing to finish second behind world-class turf miler Tepin.

It took a while for MONDIALISTE to find his form again, as he finished off the board in Group I company in Hong Kong, France, and England.  However, the MONDIALISTE of last summer began to reemerge in the York Stakes (GII – ENG) on July 23.  Going a trip only slightly longer than that of the Arlington Million, one mile, two furlongs, and 88 yards, MONDIALISTE finished second beaten just three quarters of a length by the classy Time Test.  That set him up for his second foray to North America.

Many bettors figured he could continue an upswing in form, as they sent MONDIALISTE off the 4.4/1 third choice in the field of eleven.  United Nations (GI) winner World Approval, with rider Florent Geroux aboard, went off the slight favourite at 3.7/1.  TRYSTER, a Grade I winner in Dubai during this year’s Carnival, also took slightly more action at 4.1/1.

TAKE THE STAND showed early speed, and settled at the vanguard of the pack.  WORLD APPROVAL stalked to his outside, with DEAUVILLE and PUMPKIN RUMBLE settled in the next flight.  The next pair, tracking four to five lengths off the pace, consisted of Arlington Handicap winner KASAQUI on the inside and MONDIALISTE outside.  There was little change in the running order through those early stages, as TAKE THE STAND brought the field through a 25.56 opening quarter, and a 49.74 opening half.

The real running began turning for home.  TAKE THE STAND tried to stay on, but the field swarmed him.  KASAQUI came on the inside, splitting WORLD APPROVAL and the fading TAKE THE STAND to mount his run.  Outside of him, DEAUVILLE quickened from his stalking spot.  In the next path over, MONDIALISTE rallied with clear sailing.  Coming into the final sixteenth, MONDIALISTE was moving best of all.  He edged to the lead, and found the wire a neck in front of KASAQUI along the rail.  DEAUVILLE finished third, another neck behind.

Stars and Stripes Stakes (GIII) winner GREENGRASSOFYOMING rallied from the back of the pack for fourth, a length and a quarter behind the winner.  DANISH DYNAFORMER, THE PIZZA MAN, WORLD APPROVAL, TRYSTER, PUMPKIN RUMBLE, WAKE FOREST, and TAKE THE STAND completed the order of finish.  No one truly straggled home; it was only four and three quarters lengths from first to last.

DECORATED KNIGHT was a trainer’s scratch; he got loose in the barn the night before the Arlington Million, and sustained a scratch on his left front.  DUBAI SKY was a scratch in the paddock before the race, as he threw a shoe and refused to be reshod.

MONDIALISTE rolls home on the outside to capture the 2016 Arlington Million over KASAQUI (grey, inside) and DEAUVILLE (13).

MONDIALISTE rolls home on the outside to capture the 2016 Arlington Million over KASAQUI (grey, inside) and DEAUVILLE (13).

MONDIALISTE is a six-year-old horse by Galileo out of the Kaldoun mare Occupandiste, herself a two-time Group I winner in France. Bred in Ireland by Wertheimer and Frere, he is owned by Geoff and Sandra Turnbull. Trainer David O’Meara conditions MONDIALISTE, and his regular jockey Daniel Tudhope came stateside to ride. The victory was MONDIALISTE’s fifth in 21 career starts, and his second at the Grade I level.  The $570,000 winner’s portion of the purse brought his career earnings up to $1,676,374.

Rider Daniel Tudhope remarked after the race, “We couldn’t have worked out [more] perfect to be honest, we went over the race so many times beforehand, but you just don’t know how it’s going to go, but we couldn’t have asked for a better run.”  Tudhope also spoke to MONDIALISTE’s demeanour before the race.  “He always [looks like he gets worked up before the start], that’s him though. He’s not used to it, and that doesn’t help. But he seems to love it over here and he thrives over here.”

Trainer David O’Meara was happy with MONDIALISTE’s form leading into his victory at Arlington.  MONDIALISTE had struggled in the Queen Anne (GI) two starts before the Million, but noted that “he’s never performed at Ascot.  He doesn’t like the straight track.  I don’t know why we run him there.  He always performs better around the bend.”  O’Meara continued, “Then, we took him to York, and he ran a blinder behind Time Test…probably his best run in England.  We made our mind up [about coming to the Arlington Million] in the days after that.”

O’Meara also highlighted that MONDIALISTE is a horse with a varying form cycle.  “Obviously, we would have preferred him to run well his last couple of runs.  But, he followed a similar pattern last year.”  He continued, “He’s been beaten in a handicap at Ascot before, then winning the Woodbine Mile.  It’s not like he’s at the top level and has been at the top level all his life.  He’s sort of a horse who warms into his season.”

Next-out plans have not yet been determined for MONDIALISTE, though a bid to repeat in the Woodbine Mile is under consideration.  The victory in the Arlington Million gained MONDIALISTE a Win and You’re In berth to the Breeders’ Cup Turf (GI).

MONDIALISTE finished the mile and a quarter over firm turf in 2:01.87, and rewarded backers with a $10.80 win mutuel.  The $1 exacta with KASAQUI in second (9-6) paid $74.90.  The trifecta with DEAUVILLE in third (9-6-13) returned $504.60 for each $0.50 base bet.  The superfecta with GREENGRASSOFYOMING in fourth (9-6-13-1) paid $2,176.08 for each dime on the combination.

Beverly D: SEA CALISI Wins Martin Schwartz His Fourth Beverly D

Owner Martin Schwartz knows the Arlington Park winners’ circle well.  In 2005, he won his first Beverly D with Angara: a mare who was bred in Great Britain, started her career in France, and then took well to the American turf at age four.  The next year, Schwartz won it again with Gorella, a French-bred mare who had begun her racing career in her native country.  In 2011, he brought Stacelita to the Beverly D.  She was French-bred, had campaigned mostly in France, though she had also made appearances in England and Hong Kong before coming stateside.  Stacelita took to the course as well as Angara and Gorella, giving her owner a third win in Arlington’s premier filly and mare turf race.

SEA CALISI fit a similar profile as Schwartz’s previous Beverly D winners.  She was bred in France, had campaigned there and in England, and showed form and class in Europe.  She had also shown some American form before arriving at Arlington.  She won the Sheepshead Bay Stakes (GII) at Belmont in May, in her first stateside start.  Though SEA CALISI was beaten as the odds-on favourite in the New York Stakes (GII) in her following start, the public still supported her in the Beverly D as if she could not lose.  Odds-on through much of the betting, she drifted up to 1.1/1 by post time.

The field of fourteen came out of the gate, and it was SEA CALISI’s stablemate ELUSIVE MILLION who came off with the lead.  ZIPESSA, making her first return to Arlington since an impressive debut win last year, settled in just behind, with Aidan O’Brien stablemates BALLYDOYLE and COOLMORE settling in that flight as well.  The rest were strung out farther back, with SEA CALISI sitting about a dozen lengths off the early going.

ELUSIVE MILLION led the field through honest early fractions given the distance: 23.71 for the quarter, 47.68 for the half.  ZIPESSA kept pressing, then inherited the front as ELUSIVE MILLION dropped back approaching the far turn.  She quickly took advantage, opening daylight on the rest of the field through the turn.

The closers wound up to make their runs at ZIPESSA.  SEA CALISI, so far back early, came rolling on the outside and found her best stride in the final furlong.  She emerged from the pack, took aim on ZIPESSA, and passed her while still in hand.  AL’S GAL, rallying from even farther back than SEA CALISI, tried to make it a race.  She was gaining ground under a drive, rolled past ZIPESSA easily, and edged toward SEA CALISI.  Still, it was SEA CALISI who crossed the wire first, holding half a length safe of AL’S GAL.  ZIPESSA held third, a length and a quarter further back.  TUTTIPAESI, FAUFILER, NO FAULT OF MINE, PRETTY GIRL, SECRET SOMEONE, PERSONAL DIARY, COOLMORE, MARYPOP, BALLYDOYLE, LOTS O’ LEX, and ELUSIVE MILLION completed the order of finish.

SEA CALISI (13) holds off AL'S GAL to take the 2016 Beverly D Stakes.

SEA CALISI (13) holds off AL’S GAL to take the 2016 Beverly D Stakes.

SEA CALISI is a four-year-old daughter of Youmzain out of the Surumu mare Triclaria.  Bred in France by Derek Bloodstock, she is owned by Martin Schwartz.  She is trained by Chad Brown, and was ridden to victory by Florent Geroux.  The victory was her fourth in ten career starts, and her third at the graded or group level.  It was her first win at the Grade I level, though she was already Group I placed in both last year’s Yorkshire Oaks (GI – ENG) and Prix Vermeille (GI – FR).  The $386,400 winner’s share of the purse brought SEA CALISI’s career earnings up to $825,513.

About his trip on SEA CALISI, winning rider Florent Geroux noted, ” We got helped a lot today with the pace maker, it was good for that, she needed some pace and clean trip and it worked out good.”  Geroux remarked further about his mount, “Turf horses are push button, just sit back, pull the trigger and they are there when you need them. She’s a very nice filly, definitely no distance problem at all – she can win at longer if we have to.”

After the race, Martin Schwartz outlined his program that has led to his unprecedented four Beverly D victories.  He focuses his racing program on fillies and mares, as they have breeding value going forward.  Schwartz continued, “I’ve made most of my capital with numbers.  I was a security analyst the first nine years of my career.  So, I look for horses who have rising ratings on the Timeform and the Racing Post.  I’m looking for a linear trend of improvement.  And then, Michel [Zerolo, Schwartz’s bloodstock agent] has a great eye for the physical.  I always say, I count four legs, and that’s about as much as I know.”

Schwarz indicated that SEA CALISI would point to the Flower Bowl (GI) next.  She will then target the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (GI), a race for which her Beverly D win gave SEA CALISI a Win and You’re In berth.

SEA CALISI finished the mile and three sixteenths over firm turf in 1:54.93, and paid $4.20 to win.  The $1 exacta with AL’S GAL underneath (13-2) came back with $34.30.  The $0.50 trifecta with ZIPESSA in third returned $149.35.  A dime superfecta with TUTTIPAESI in the fourth slot (13-2-9-5) rewarded players with $269.31.

Secretariat: BEACH PATROL Denies Aidan O’Brien His Third Straight Secretariat Victory

No one knows how to win the Secretariat Stakes like Aidan O’Brien.  He has won four, including the 2014 and 2015 editions of the race.  However, there was one foe he did not face in either of those last two runnings of Chicago’s premier three-year-old grass race: buzzsaw turf trainer Chad Brown.

BEACH PATROL and LONG ISLAND SOUND had faced each other once before, in the Belmont Derby (GI).  O’Brien won that round, but with stablemate Deauville.  BEACH PATROL finished third that day; LONG ISLAND SOUND was sixth as the favourite.  Today, they faced each other again.  However, it was BEACH PATROL who went off the slight 2.8/1 favourite.  LONG ISLAND SOUND went off slightly longer at 3.1/1, the same as well-regarded Todd Pletcher entrant AMERICAN PATRIOT.

When the gates opened, longshot pacemaker SCISSORS AND TAPE took his position on the front end, taking the field through a quarter in 24.59 and a half in 48.31.  LONG ISLAND SOUND pressed him along, with BEACH PATROL tracking behind that pair.  Through the far turn, SCISSORS AND TAPE began to beat his retreat.  LONG ISLAND SOUND inherited the lead, but BEACH PATROL went with on the outside.

That pair duelled for the entirety of the stretch.  BEACH PATROL would get his head in front; LONG ISLAND SOUND would reassert his position along the rail.  In the final furlong, BEACH PATROL finally got his head in front for good, finding just a bit more than LONG ISLAND SOUND could give.  BEACH PATROL prevailed over LONG ISLAND SOUND by a head.  AMERICAN PATRIOT had been stalking in the next flight, and found his next gear, but too late; he kiked on for third, three quarters of a length behind the winner.  ONE MEAN MAN, OSCAR NOMINATED, CORDON, SURGICAL STRIKE, CHERRY WINE, and SCISSORS AND TAPE completed the order of finish.

BEACH PATROL (9, outside) wears down LONG ISLAND SOUND to win the Secretariat Stakes (GI).

BEACH PATROL (9, outside) wears down LONG ISLAND SOUND to win the Secretariat Stakes (GI).

BEACH PATROL is a three-year-old colt by Lemon Drop Kid out of Bashful Bertie, by Quiet American.  He was bred by Nancy C. Shuford and is owned by James Covello, Sheep Pond Partners, and Head of Plains Partners LLC.  Trained by Chad Brown, BEACH PATROL was piloted to victory by Florent Geroux.  The victory was his third lifetime win, and his first in stakes company.  The $261,900 winner’s share of the purse brought BEACH PATROL’s career earnings to $526,970.

Florent Geroux, rider of BEACH PATROL, remarked, “I was able to stalk and when I asked him to go he was very brave. [LONG ISLAND SOUND] didn’t give it up, and [BEACH PATROL] showed a lot of heart.”  Seamie Heffernan, who rode second-place LONG ISLAND SOUND, observed, “It was an improvement on his last run. Very happy with him, and he’s an improving horse.”

After the race, trainer Chad Brown remarked, “Florent rode a beautiful race from a difficult post. The horse has been training really well. I want to thank Sol Kumin and James Covello, the other partners that put up the money to buy him – their patience. His first start didn’t go so well, they didn’t worry about it, they were in it for the long term and it paid off today.”

BEACH PATROL stopped the clock in 2:01.95 for a mile and a quarter over firm turf, and returned $7.60 to win.  The exacta with LONG ISLAND SOUND in second (9-8) paid $12.90 for each dollar wagered.  The $0.50 trifecta with AMERICAN PATRIOT third (9-8-2) came back $21.90.  The superfecta with ONE MEAN MAN slotted fourth (9-8-2-4) returned $26.73 for each dime on the combination.

American St. Leger: DA BIG HOSS Makes a Winning Return to Arlington

DA BIG HOSS began his career here at Arlington in August 2013 at age two, finishing a well-beaten fifth in a seven-furlong sprint.  He returned to Arlington over a year later, in September 2014, to make his third start.  That day, in just his third career start, he broke his maiden going a mile and a sixteenth over grass.

A lot has changed since then.  Trainer Mike Maker claimed him for $50,000 for owner Skychai Racing in June 2015 at Churchill.  He shipped DA BIG HOSS to the Spa, started sending him out in longer turf races, and he blossomed.  He found his niche going a mile and a half, and even stretched out for a decisive victory at two miles in this year’s Belmont Gold Cup.  But, he had been facing mainly the American staying set.  In today’s American St. Leger, he would face a field that included several international shippers, horses well bred and well proven for a route of ground.  Even with that, the public bet DA BIG HOSS as if he couldn’t lose.  Odds-on throughout, he went off at 3/5.

With likely pacemaker ROCKET PROFESSOR scratched, it was O’PRADO OLE who took the early initiative, breaking from the outside gate and quickly taking the rail.  WASIR tracked his every move, and BILLABONG galloped behind.  There was a gap to the main pack where DA BIG HOSS bided his time, chasing near the front of that group.  That still had him about ten lengths off the pace.

The running order stayed similar through the first mile, as O’PRADO OLE led the field through a half in 50.96 and a mile in 1:42.51.  Entering the backstretch for the second time, the pack began to close ranks.  O’PRADO OLE tried to get away, but WASIR stayed with him and BILLABONG continued to track.  DA BIG HOSS commenced a run as well, unwilling to let that trio out of his sights.  Into the far turn, DA BIG HOSS eclipsed BILLABONG.  WASIR put away O’PRADO OLE at that point, but he was not home free.  DA BIG HOSS had dead aim on his outside.  He duelled with WASIR up to the furlong pole, and the German-bred put up a fight, but America’s top stayer had a bit more fight.  DA BIG HOSS cleared.  By then, CLONDAW WARRIOR had unwound, and was rallying from the clouds.  He was gaining, but DA BIG HOSS was too far gone.  He crossed the wire 1 3/4 lengths clear of CLONDAW WARRIOR, who had gained the place by a neck over WASIR.  MONTCLAIR, BILLABONG, TOBIAS, GENEROUS KITTEN, HART HILLS ROAD, and O’PRADO OLE completed the order of finish.  MESSI and ROCKET PROFESSOR were both trainer’s scratches.

DA BIG HOSS crosses the wire all alone in the 2016 American St. Leger (GIII).

DA BIG HOSS crosses the wire all alone in the 2016 American St. Leger (GIII).

DA BIG HOSS is a five-year-old horse by Lemon Drop Kid out of the Touch Gold mare Lady Struck Gold.  He was bred in Kentucky by Gary and Mary West Stables, Inc., and is owned by Skychai Racing LLC.  He is trained by Mike Maker, and was ridden by Florent Geroux.  DA BIG HOSS’s American St. Leger victory was his 11th win in 20 career starts, and his sixth stakes-level victory.  The $174,600 winner’s share of the purse brought DA BIG HOSS’s career earnings to $1,198,536.

Jockey Florent Geroux was DA BIG HOSS’s regular rider, having been aboard for his last four starts leading into the American St. Leger.  Geroux was also an American St. Leger winning jockey before today, having won the 2014 renewal with The Pizza Man.  He praised his mount’s tenacity.  “He just loves to win,” Geroux remarked. “He always finds a way to find the wire and it doesn’t matter where he is, when you ask him to go, he goes.”

That will to win also attracted Harvey Diamond, a partner in Skychai Racing, to DA BIG HOSS in the first place. When asked if he remembered why they dropped a claim slip in for DA BIG HOSS, he quipped, “Sure do!  He likes to win!”

Diamond indicated that Kentucky Downs, for a defense of his Kentucky Turf Cup (GIII) title, is under consideration for DA BIG HOSS.  However, Diamond also indicated that Skychai Racing is currently entertaining the possibility of sending DA BIG HOSS down under to point toward the Melbourne Cup (GI – AUS).

DA BIG HOSS stopped the clock in 2:49.47 for a mile and eleven sixteenths over firm turf, and returned $3.60 to win.  The $1 exacta with the winner over CLONDAW WARRIOR (5-8) paid $10.10.  The trifecta with WASIR slotted third (5-8-6) rewarded bettors with $34.05 on the $0.50 wager.  The dime superfecta with MONTCLAIR in fourth  (5-8-6-2) paid $44.03.

Pucker Up: TRY YOUR LUCK Disqualified, NOBLE BEAUTY Makes Five for Geroux

Going into the day’s finale, the Pucker Up Stakes, Florent Geroux had already had quite a good day.  He had won four races, including three of the four Festival stakes.  Almost everything was going his way, and the Pucker Up Stakes was no exception.  Geroux entered the race with a live runner in NOBLE BEAUTY, who had been second at the distance two starts back in the Regret (GIII).   Though he needed foe TRY YOUR LUCK to live up to her name, the final result proved a familiar one: Florent Geroux and Chad Brown posing for another win photo.

NOBLE BEAUTY was one of the two fillies taking a class drop in the Pucker Up after contesting the Belmont Oaks (GI) last out, and went off the public’s 2.6/1 second choice.  There was no Catch a Glimpse at Arlington today — but it was the other one from Belmont, AUNTIE JOY, who went off the public’s slight favourite at 2/1.

Confirmed frontrunner MOMS CHOICE quickly asserted herself on the lead, with NOBODY’S FAULT stalking through fractions of 24.29 for the quarter and 49.43 for the half.  TRY YOUR LUCK and MISS GOSSIP tracked in the next flight, with the rest in a compact pack behind.

As the field proceeded down the backstretch, TRY YOUR LUCK edged closer, joining NOBODY’S FAULT in that stalking spot.  Favoured AUNTIE JOY tracked about three lengths off the pace, with the pack.  NOBLE BEAUTY, patiently ridden, remained content to sit near the back of the field.

Things remained much the same until the field approached the turn for home.  The field began to swarm MOMS CHOICE, with NOBODY’S FAULT, TRY YOUR LUCK, and AUNTIE JOY further outside leading the charge.  MOMS CHOICE dug in.  NOBODY’S FAULT flattened out.  TRY YOUR LUCK gained the advantage.  AUNTIE JOY tried to pass.  TRY YOUR LUCK drifted out, pushing AUNTIE JOY out with her.  Meanwhile, NOBLE BEAUTY had found her best on the far outside, and had the leaders in sight.  She rolled past AUNTIE JOY, but the wire came just a moment too soon.  TRY YOUR LUCK held safe by a nose over NOBLE BEAUTY, with AUNTIE JOY hitting the wire just a head back.  NAWLINS KITTY, MISS GOSSIP, GALILEA, BONITA CAT, MOMS CHOICE, INCONCLUSIVE, FITPITCHER, PRINCESS ERINDELLE, and NOBODY’S FAULT completed the order of finish.

The inquiry light came on, as the stewards looked at TRY YOUR LUCK and AUNTIE JOY in the stretch.  The objection light soon followed.  Brian Hernandez, Jr. on third-place AUNTIE JOY claimed foul against Corey Lanerie on TRY YOUR LUCK for interference down the stretch.  After review, the stewards disqualified TRY YOUR LUCK from first to third, for interfering with AUNTIE JOY.  As a result, NOBLE BEAUTY was declared the winner of the Pucker Up.

NOBLE BEAUTY (11) made an outside run in the Pucker Up Stakes that fell just short, but the disqualification of TRY YOUR LUCK (3) elevated her to victory.

NOBLE BEAUTY (11) made an outside run in the Pucker Up Stakes that fell a nose short, but the disqualification of TRY YOUR LUCK (3) elevated her to victory.

NOBLE BEAUTY is a three-year-old filly by Kitten’s Joy out of the Mineshaft mare Money Huntress.  She was bred in Kentucky by Ken and Sarah Ramsey, and is owned by Great Point Stables LLC.  Chad Brown trains NOBLE BEAUTY, and Florent Geroux rode her to victory in the Pucker Up.  The win was NOBLE BEAUTY’s second in five starts, and her first against stakes company.  The $55,800 winner’s portion of the purse brought her career earnings up to $127,350.

After the race, trainer Chad Brown was pleased by the victory, but could not resist razzing owner Sol Kumin just a bit at the post-race press conference.  “The only bad thing that happened today with [NOBLE BEAUTY] winning the last race,” Brown quipped in the post-race interview, “she was the only horse that Sol Kumin picked out on his own.  So now, the good run’s going to stop, he’s going to start buying all his own horses, and you’re not going to see me in the winners’ circle.”

When asked after the race whether it was the best day he had ever had, Geroux responded, “Almost — getting close!”

NOBLE BEAUTY crossed the wire in 1:50.09 for a mile and an eighth over firm turf, and paid her backers $7.20 to win.  The $1 exacta with AUNTIE JOY beneath (11-9) returned $9.20.  The trifecta with TRY YOUR LUCK placed third (11-9-3) came back with $16.20 for each $0.50 base bet. The superfecta with NAWLINS KITTY in fourth (11-9-3-7) rewarded players with $17.72 for each dime on the combination.

Bruce D Memorial: A Change of Pace Pays Dividends Once Again for YO CARM

YO CARM had shown flashes of promise over the last year.  He broke his maiden at third asking over the Arlington grass.  After a pair of off-the-board finishes in allowance company over grass, trainer Chris Block tried him over dirt at Tampa Bay Downs.  YO CARM responded with a commanding six and a quarter length victory.  Since then he tried Grade III company three times, twice on dirt and once on turf.  He finished off the board all three times.

In Saturday’s Bruce D Memorial Stakes, YO CARM made a few changes.  He tried polytrack for the first time, tried a one-turn mile for the first time and dropped down from the graded ranks.  Despite the class drop, YO CARM still went off relatively ignored on the tote at 11/1.  Instead, two others went off at 5/2 on the tote board.  TWO STEP TIME, a close fourth behind stablemate OSCAR NOMINATED in the Spiral Stakes (GIII) over Turfway’s polytrack, went off the slight favourite.  PILOT HOUSE, untested on synthetic but sixth in the Indiana Derby (GII) on dirt in his last start, took almost as much support.

Illinois-bred RUNNINGFROMTHEFEDS got going quickly after the break, and soon asserted himself on the lead.  PILOT HOUSE and MONGOLIAN HOLIDAY both tried to press early, but PILOT HOUSE settled in second and MONGOLIAN HOLIDAY gradually dropped back.  RUNNINGFROMTHEFEDS took the field through sharp early fractions: the quarter in 23.34, the half in 45.78.  He opened up daylight on the field approaching the far turn, maintained that advantage coming out of it, and sailed for home still clear of PILOT HOUSE.

Into the final furlong, a challenger finally emerged for RUNNINGFROMTHEFEDS.  YO CARM, switched off the rail turning for home, descended on the leaders from the outside.  RUNNINGFROMTHEFEDS reached for the wire, but did not have enough to answer that bid.  YO CARM crossed the wire half a length in front of RUNNINGFROMTHEFEDS, with another three quarters of a length back to PILOT HOUSE.  CORTEGE, CALL THE COLONEL, TWO STEP TIME, MICHAEL J., ITSNOTEZBEINBREEZY, WHO’S YOUR DRAMA, and MONGOLIAN HOLIDAY completed the order of finish.

YO CARM gets up just in time to win the 2016 Bruce D Memorial Stakes.

YO CARM gets up just in time to win the 2016 Bruce D Memorial Stakes.

YO CARM is a three-year-old colt by Flatter out of the Tale of the Cat mare Iolanda.  A bred in Illinois by his owners Fortino, Inc., YO CARM is trained by Chris Block and was ridden to victory by Jose Lezcano.  The victory in the Bruce D was his third lifetime win, and his first in stakes company.  The $43,890 winner’s share of the purse brought YO CARM’s career earnings up to $96,862.

After the race, rider Jose Lezcano felt that things had unfolded how he expected for YO CARM.  “I checked the race, and I think there was plenty of speed.  I think my horse likes to come from behind.”  He noted that he was able to get the trip he wanted, and put YO CARM in a good position to make his run without having to ask him the whole way around.  “When I asked,” Lezcano continued, “he was there for me.”

At first, there were question around moving YO CARM to the polytrack for a race.  Stated trainer Chris Block, “We’ve tried the turf with him, we’ve tried the dirt, and I told Ed [Fortino], we haven’t tried the poly yet.  I said, most horses breeze great over it — he just works okay.  So, I’m not sure I want to try it.  He said, if a race comes up, we’ll try it.”  With the Bruce D Memorial Stakes on the schedule, YO CARM worked more seriously over the polytrack twice.  “His next two works, I really got after it with him to see if he did like it, and he worked really well.  I felt somewhat confident today.”

YO CARM finished the one-turn mile over polytrack in 1:36.47.  He paid $24.00 to win, the richest win mutuel among the day’s stakes races.  A $1 exacta with RUNNINGFROMTHEFEDS second (1-3) came back with $94.70.  The trifecta with PILOT HOUSE in third (1-3-2) returned $161.50 for each $0.50 on the combination.  The dime superfecta with CORTEGE (1-3-2-7) in fourth paid $201.11.

All photography courtesy of Four Footed Fotos.


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