Starting the day off I was wondering if Arlington would even hold any races on the turf at all. The rain was coming down like a mother (and we know how mothers rain, right?) to the point where the drive to the race track was almost impossible. After breakfast at the famous Walker Brothers in Arlington Heights (where surprisingly none of us had any buttery pancakes) with Horizon Racing Inc. Managing Partner Chris Szulc, my friend Jason, my son Gabriel, and I arrived at a remarkably dry Arlington Park grounds. The beautiful turf course was rated "good" for a race or two but then was "firm" for the remainder of the day.
Besides my son Gabriel picking 5 or 6 winners, I was also very impressed with the two stakes winners Upperline and Silver Max.
The Arlington Matron, for fillies and mares, was run at 9 furlongs on Arlington's all-weather surface. It was really Upperline's race to lose and she did not disappoint for trainer Mike Stidham. After tracking pace setter Hooh Why and Sea Level Drive, Upperline found a seam between horses at the top of the stretch and didn't look back, scoring a 4 length victory with 2011 leading jockey James Graham aboard.
(Upperline - courtesy of Four Footed Fotos)
Next up following the Arlington Matron was the $125,000 Arlington Classic, the first leg of the Mid-America Triple (run prior to the American Derby then ultimately the Secretariat on Million day). Silver Max went in as the morning line favorite and was definitely the horse to beat. The horse kept the pace and set some ridiculous fractions of :22.4, :46.3, and 1:11 even to the point that I thought for sure the horse would fade in the stretch. Well he did just the opposite and easily held off the competition for a 2 length victory over Sachem Spirit and Najjaar, just missing the track record! It was an impressive victory and I look forward to seeing Dale Romans' Silver Max in the American Derby on my birthday, July 14th!
(Silver Max - courtesy of Four Footed Fotos)
In other news, I'd also like to congratulate jockey Rosemary Homeister Jr. for scoring victory #2,500 on May 20th! I'm sure it won't take her long to get to the next milestone victory of #3,000!
(Photos courtesy of Four Footed Fotos)
Congrats Jockey Rose!
Next up on the Arlington stakes schedule is Prairie State Festival day! You can count on exclusive Horse Racing Nation coverage of the sextet of races featuring the best of Illinois racing!