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Saratoga and Del Mar 2017

Paddy O'Prado Takes Secretariat

Donegal Racing’s Paddy O’Prado solidified his status as the best turf-favoring 3-year-old in North America with a 1 ¼-length victory over European invader Wigmore Hall in the Grade I $400,000 Secretariat Stakes at Arlington Park Saturday before a crowd of 30,304, and in the opinion of his jockey Kent Desormeaux he may be the best 3-year-old in North America regardless of surface.

 

“I think he’s by far the best 3-year-old and I don’t just mean on turf,” said the Hall of Fame jockey following his second straight victory in the Secretariat after winning last year’s renewal aboard Take the Points. “I think I should have won the Kentucky Derby but I got shut off at the quarter pole.

 

“We went slow,” Desormeaux said of today’s trip aboard the son of El Prado.  “He’s a natural striding horse and I had to drag him off the lead which was my biggest concern. It worked out good. The turf is a bit soft but we were going slow.”

 

Trained by Dale Romans, Paddy O’Prado covered the mile and a quarter in 2:04.71 over a turf course rated “good” after overnight rains Friday into Saturday morning.

 

The victory was the third straight stakes score for Paddy O’Prado, who captured the Grade II Colonial Turf Cup and the Grade II Virginia Derby in his previous starts after running third in the Grade I Kentucky Derby and sixth in the Grade I Preakness Stakes.  He earned $240,000 to boost his bankroll to $1,351,297.

 

Wigmore Hall, after breaking a step slowly, was last in the field of six sophomores through three-quarters of a mile before commencing a rally to get up for second money.

 

“The pace wasn’t great for him,” said Jamie Spencer, who rode the runner-up. “The horse had to be there too early.  No excuses the best horse won. I had plenty of time to get him though the straight.  He needs a stronger pace but you can’t have everything.”


Workin for Hops, winner of the $100,000 Arlington Classic and Grade II American Derby over this course, had his bid for a sweep of Arlington’s Mid-America Triple snapped with a third-place finish in the Secretariat.

 

“We didn't want to be too close,” said Workin for Hops’s jockey Francisco Torres.  “He showed up, I can't ask for more. They’ve met before, the winner beat him by three lengths in Virginia and only a length and a half or two here so we’re gaining on him.”

 

Cherokee Lord, a 50-1 outsider, set the pace in the race through slow fractions of 25.80 seconds, 51.78 seconds, 1:16.94 and 1:41.52 before giving way to finish fourth.

 

Dean’s Kitten and Mister Marti Gras completed the order of finish.

 

Paddy O’Prado, the 1-2 favorite, paid $3, $2.20 and $2.10.  Wigmore Hall returned $3.40 and $2.40. Workin for Hops paid $2.40.

 

 

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