It was a day of firsts at Arlington Park.
The stakes portion of Saturday’s card began with the first running of the Avers Wexler Memorial, where four-year-old Moms Choice broke through in stakes company for the first time.
Then, Barry Lee won the Arlington-Washington Futurity. Making his Arlington debut after two starts on the east coast, today marked his first stakes victory as well. Third behind Barry Lee rallied Ghaaleb’s Winner: after notching the first victory for his Illinois-based sire Ghaaleb when he broke his maiden at Fairmount on August 15, his third-place finish in the Futurity gave Ghaaleb his first black type as a stallion.
The series of first-time stakes winners continued in the final stakes race of the day, when Bet She Wins dominated the Arlington-Washington Lassie. It was the first time the daughter of First Samurai had hit the wire first. Though Bet She Wins broke her maiden over the Arlington grass on August 26, that victory came by disqualification, after Mountain Momma ducked out in her way late in that race.
The Arlington-Washington Lassie also featured the first stakes-level start for trainer Chris Ryan. She has run on the Chicago circuit since 1996, with 1,510 starters over the last 21 years. Ryan saddled Espressa — and soon had her first career stakes placing when the daughter of Gemologist ran on for third.
Arlington-Washington Futurity: BARRY LEE gets back on track
On the strength of a romping front-end score on debut at Laurel Park, the public made Barry Lee the well-defined favourite in the Saratoga Special (G2) on August 13. He did not run to the money, instead getting caught in a speed duel with Mo Diddley and fading to eighth behind Copper Bullet. He got an extra half-furlong today in the Arlington-Washington Futurity, as well as a class break.
The public saw the Futurity as a two-horse race. Many figured it would be exactly what Barry Lee needed to get back to the promise his debut showed, he went off the slight favourite at 9/5. Many of the horseplayers who were not behind Barry Lee backed 1.9/1 second choice Captivating Moon instead. The Chris Block charge, a half-brother to Grade 1 winner Vacare, won a maiden special weight on the grass at Arlington on July 30 with late-running flair.
Unlike in his first two starts, Barry Lee set off the pace this time. Instead it was Take Charge Dude who took the initiative, setting pressured splits of 23.45 for the quarter and 47.63 for the half. Kate’s Golden Dude pressed him to the inside early; when he gave in, P R Radio Star took up the cause to the leader’s outside. Barry Lee tracked comfortably midpack, and began to wind up passing the half-mile pole. Captivating Moon, who had settled near the rear, also began his gradual improvement as the field entered the far turn.
Past the three eighths marker, Barry Lee kicked into his next gear. He engaged Take Charge Dude near the quarter pole. The leader dug in, but Barry Lee turned him back entering the final furlong, and began to forge clear. Captivating Moon, on the other hand, brought up the rear as the field turned for home. He swung five wide in shallow stretch, found his best gear near the three sixteenths and swallowed up ground down the lane. But, Barry Lee got the jump on him, and Captivating Moon missed catching the favourite by a diminshing three quarters of a length. Illinois-bred longshot Ghaaleb’s Winner, at the rear early, rode the rail and rallied for show another length and a quarter back, taking it in a tight three-way photo over Take Charge Dude (a head back) and Our Thomas (another nose back). Kate’s Golden Dude, P R Radio Star, East Rand, and The X completed the order of finish. Soul of Discretion scratched.
Barry Lee stopped the timer in 1:25.27 for seven furlongs on the polytrack, and paid his backers $5.60 to win. The dollar exacta with Captivating Moon second (7-4) returned $8.00. A $0.50 trifecta with Ghaaleb’s Winner third (7-4-9) came back with $70.45. A superfecta with Take Charge Dude in the lowest rung (7-4-9-8) paid $93.98 for each dime on the combination.
Barry Lee is a two-year-old dark bay or brown colt by first-crop sire Violence out of the Muqtarib mare Light of a Star. Bred in Kentucky by Golden Pedigree LLC, Barry Lee races for owners Sagamore Farm and Stanley M. Hough; the former purchased Barry Lee at OBS March earlier this year for $380,000. He is trained by Horacio DePaz, Sagamore Farm’s private trainer; jockey Horacio Karamanos had the call for the first time in Barry Lee’s career. The victory was Barry Lee’s second in three starts, his first at the stakes level, and the $43,200 winner’s share brought his lifetime earnings to $67,000.
Jockey Karamanos listened to his horse, and figured out as he went how to get the best from Barry Lee. “At the three-eighths pole he was a little bit rank and I didn’t want to steady inside, so I let him move outside and then he went nice and comfortable. At the top of the stretch he started looking around like he needed a little company, but when I whipped him, he responded.” Trainer DePaz stated after the race that he has not yet set a next race for Barry Lee.
Arlington-Washington Lassie: Block and Lothenbach turn the tables in a big way with BET SHE WINS
In the Arlington-Washington Futurity, Chris Block trainee Captivating Moon just missed carrying the blue and red colors of Lothenbach Stables past Barry Lee’s Sagamore Farm black, grey, and maroon. One race later, in the Arlington-Washington Lassie, that same pair of silks coloured in the exacta — but in the opposite order, and with no sweat during the final furlong for anyone who backed the blue and red. Bet She Wins, coming off a maiden win by disqualification on August 26, overcame a troubled start, ran them off their feet in the final furlong, and drew off to win the Lassie with complete authority over Southampton Way.
Southampton Way, coming off a second-place finish in the Adirondack (G2) (where she was — coincidentally — also beaten by nine and a half lengths), went off at 5/2. That was more betting interest than anyone save Red Dread, a Presque Isle Downs shipper who was the only two-time winner in the field. Fewer observers were willing to wager that Bet She Wins would prevail, as she went off at 13.4/1 in the field of thirteen.
It’s a familiar sight in Chicago to see a Larry Rivelli juvenile on the engine; the early fractions of the Lassie repeated that motif when Richie’slilwildcat, while prompted by favoured Red Dread, took the initiative through fractions of 22.92 for the quarter and 46.11 for the half. Meanwhile Bet She Wins, who had been bumped and squeezed after breaking from the twelfth gate, was guided inside to chase about four and a half lengths off the early going. Southampton Way, breaking from the far friendlier fifth gate, tracked the pace from just two or three lengths off the pace.
Into the far turn, stalking longshot Espressa gained on the rail, then angled out to attempt a run on Richie’slilwildcat. Bet She Wins had been lying in wait, behind; as soon as Espressa vacated the fence, Bet She Wins dropped in. She slipped past Southampton Way and fading favourite Red Dread, and bided her time again until Richie’slilwildcat came off the rail. She did, just past the quarter pole. Bet She Wins came through, drew even with the pacesetter approaching the furlong pole, and turned on the jets. Bet She Wins blasted clear in that final eighth of a mile. Southampton Way swung out and rallied well enough for second, nine and a half lengths behind the winner. Espressa held third, a length clear of a belatedly rallying Lemon Drop Twist. Richie’slilwildcat, Romantic Attack, Saucy At Midnight, Fabriana, Her Wild Lifestyle, Caramel Cream, Ardor, Cowgirl Callie, and Red Dread completed the order of finish. Presage scratched.
Bet She Wins completed the seven polytrack furlongs in 1:24.43, and returned $28.80 to her few prescient backers. The $1 exacta with Southampton Way second (13-6) paid $87.10. A trifecta with Espressa in third (13-6-5) returned $507.20 for each $0.5o base bet. The superfecta with Lemon Drop Twist fourth (13-6-5-3) came back with $964.30 for each dime on the combination.
Bet She Wins is a two-year-old grey or roan filly by First Samurai out of the Unbridled’s Song mare Spring Eclipse. Spring Eclipse was herself a synthetic-track stakes horse as a juvenile; she finished third in the Tiznow Kentucky Cup Juvenile Fillies Stakes at Turfway in 2011. Bet She Wins was bred in Kentucky by Gunpowder Farms LLC, and owner Lothenbach Stables purchased her last year at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Select yearling sale for $230,000. The race was Bet She Wins’s second victory in three starts, and the $41,400 winner’s share of the purse brought her career earnings up to $61,280.
Jockey Jose Lopez, riding Bet She Wins for the second time, let her trainer’s instructions guide his ground-saving ride. “Chris [Block] told me after the break to try to get over and it happened to be clear. I got over to the rail and it opened up.” For Block, the choice to run Bet She Wins in the Arlington-Washington Lassie boiled down to timing. “She had worked good on the Polytrack, and I didn’t really have any other place to go,” Block said. “I told the owners that if she came out of the maiden race in good shape we were going to fire back in the Lassie.”
Avers Wexler Memorial Stakes: MOMS CHOICE rolls, gate to wire
Trainer Larry Rivelli and owner Patricia’s Hope LLC entered a pair of runners in the Avers Wexler Memorial Stakes, both of whom do their best work on the front end. When Daddy’s Boo was scratched from the race, it left Moms Choice to bear the standard for Rivelli and Patricia’s Hope. She did, winning the race on her terms under rider Santo Sanjur.
The public played the seven-horse race like it was a two-horse affair. Princess Erindelle, a close and game second behind Daddy’s Boo the only time she ran on polytrack, went off the 7/5 chalk. Moms Choice, at 8/5, was not far behind. The next shortest priced horse in the field, Skyluck, was 8.5/1.
Moms Choice broke from the outermost gate, but no matter. Sanjur guided her to the front, and she had the lead and the inside as the field came into the far turn. Favoured Princess Erindelle tracked in range, and took closer order to put light pressure on Moms Choice near the five eighths. She prompted Moms Choice along through the far turn, but the leader looked in control throughout. She cleared Princess Erindelle for good coming into the stretch, and Moms Choice crossed the wire five lengths clear of the chasing grey. It was another three lengths back to Majestic Angel, whose outside rally was enough to get a length ahead of Curlinup, who toiled along the rail. Skyluck, Mundy Road, and Bonita Cat completed the order of finish. Daddy’s Boo and Miss Mo Kelly also scratched.
Moms Choice finished the mile and a sixteenth on the polytrack in 1:45.36, and returned $5.20 to win. The dollar exacta with Princess Erindelle second (9-2) paid $6.70. A trifecta with Majestic Angel in third (9-2-4) came back with $15.00 for each $0.50 on the combination. The dime superfecta with Curlinup in the lowest rung (9-2-4-1) returned $26.38.
Moms Choice is a four-year-old chestnut filly by Kitten’s Joy out of the Cat Thief mare Tazarine. Bred in Kentucky by Highclere, owner Patricia’s Hope LLC purchased her for $160,000 at the 2015 Ocala Breeders’ Sales March sale of two-year-olds in training. Saturday’s victory was her third in a row, her third this year, and her sixth in sixteen lifetime starts. It was Moms Choice’s first stakes win; previously, her best finish in added-money company came in the 2015 Kentucky Downs Juvenile Fillies Stakes, where she finished second, a length behind Ruthless Quality. The $39,337 winner’s share of the purse brought her career earnings to $268,916.
All pictures courtesy of Four Footed Fotos.
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