We didn’t know for sure if the big horse, Silver Max would be running in the $200,000 American Derby until the Dale Romans shippers arrived yesterday at Arlington Park. Alas, the front running colt who has won six straight on the lawn was not on the van. Perhaps the crafty trainer was playing a little possum, using the threat of Silver Max running as a deterrent to others entering. Without the top three-year-old turf horse in the nation in the mix, today’s grade 3 affair became a wide-open proposition, with almost every horse in the field rating a chance, including the “other” horses from the Romans’ barn, Cozzetti and Quick Wit.
Of the pair, I preferred the recent allowance winner, Quick Wit, over the horse that was just crushed by Silver Max at Indiana Downs. Little did I realize that Alan Garcia would allow Quick Wit to languish at the back of the pack through fractions of :24.74, :50.56, 1:15.74. Meanwhile Shaun Bridgemohan kept Cozzetti much closer to the tedious fractions set by All Stormy. As the field hit the straightaway, it became a sprint to the wire with only the horses close early having a strong chance.
Running 1-2-3 all the way around, it was just a matter of whether or not either Skyring or Cozzetti could get by All Stormy. Skimming the paint, Cozzetti and Bridgemohan would get through and gamely edge by the pacesetter to win by a neck, with Skyring another half-length behind in third. Daddy Nose Best, the 8-5 favorite, once again did not live up to the hype, but was able to hold off the late running Quick Wit for fourth money. Final time for the 1 3/16 miles on good turf was 1:57.42. Cozzetti paid $10.00 for the win.
I’m still not sure which of the Romans’ pair that showed up today is the better, but clearly pace made today’s race. Looks like Dale Romans made the right choice in waiting for the Virginia Derby with Silver Max.
It’s a Block party in the Stars and Stripes
For much of the stretch run of the Grade 3, Stars and Stripes it looked Team Block might pull off a most unlikely sweep. The Illinois-bred Ioya Bigtime, always in close contact to an early lead set by Workin for Hops, opened up an insurmountable lead as the ten horse field hit the lane, and from there it was just a matter of who would finish second to the 41-1 longshot. Inside the quarter pole, trainer Chris Block had to be liking his chances with his second entrant, Suntracer. Also dismissed by the bettors, Suntracer was sent off at 16-1 and his rally briefly found second in the stretch, but was unable to hold off the late charge of race favorite, Musketier. The 10-year-old denied the big Block exacta by a neck.
Ridden by Jeffrey Sanchez, Ioya Bigtime held the pair of closers off easily to score by a length-and-a-half in 2:28.44 for the 12 furlongs. It was the 5th win in 15 lifetime starts for the five-year-old son of Dynaformer.
For more coverage of Arlington Million Preview Day, I invite you to check in on the Chicago Dark Horse blog for his reports on the Modesty and Arlington Handciap.
Photos courtesy of Four Footed Fotos