With his half-length victory in the Grade III $120,000
Washington Park Handicap Saturday at Arlington
Park, Feel The Thunder
Stable’s Gran Estreno earned an automatic starting berth in the Grade I
$5,000,000 Breeders’ Cup Classic to be held Saturday, Nov. 6 at Churchill
Ridden by Michael Baze, the Mike Stidham-trained son of
Lucky Roberto successfully defended his Washington Park
title in the mile and three-sixteenths race over Polytrack, which went in
After looking for a spot between horses at the top of the
stretch, Baze guided the 7-year-old horse to the rail where he overtook
pacesetter Mad Flatter in deep stretch and held off a late challenge from
runner-up Giant Oak, who was closing on the outside.
“He didn’t break super sharp but I got after him a little
bit,” Baze said. “It worked out good because if he had broken super
sharp, I might have been four or five wide into the turn. I was fortunate
to save ground all the way around there and get through on the rail.”
The Washington Park Handicap was the 11th win in
30 starts for Gran Estreno, who earned $60,000 to boost his bankroll to
$407,235. His record over Arlington’s
Polytrack surface is now five wins in six starts.
Mad Flatter led for more than a mile, through moderate fractions
of 24.71, 48.63, 1:12.95 and 1:37.62 before giving way in the late stages.
might just be a little too far for him, but he tried his best,” said Lisa
Graham, assistant to Mad Flatter’s trainer Jeff Thornbury and wife of his
jockey James Graham.
Oak, the 1-2 post time favorite, rallied wide to take the place spot.
“Everything went right, the race was perfect, he went when
I asked him, but when (Mad Flatter) went out he gave a break to the one that
won the race,” said Junior Alvarado, who rode the runner-up. “There was
nothing else that I could do, I just did my best.”
Elusive Beat and Country Flavor completed the order of
Sent off at odds of more than 4-1, Gran Estreno paid
$10.60, $3.20 and $2.40. Giant Oak returned $2.80 and $2.60. Mad
Flatter paid $2.60.