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Local Heroes Willcox Inn and Tajaaweed Score on Million Preview Day!

Previewing the Beverly D. was the 55th running of the Modesty Handicap featuring fillies and mares going 1 3/16 miles on the turf.  Shipping in from Belmont, five year old mare Fantasia ($9.80) took home the victory for jockey Rajiv Maragh and trainer Jonathan Sheppard

The victorious Fantasia was in great form as she posted a bullet work at Presque Isle Downs three days earlier breezing five furlongs in :58 2/5!  She ran her typical race by closing hard down the stretch taking over at the 1/16 pole for the win! 

Turf machine, traveler and even money favorite Wasted Tears took the lead from the gate, as is her typical running style, but couldn’t quite get away from a tracking My Baby Baby and at the end just could not hold off the late charging closers Fantasia and Romin Robin

Arlington’s value showed again as the exacta paid a very nice $141.80! 

Fantasia now 1-for-1 on the turf course should be in a great position to contend in the Beverly D. on August 13th

On a side note, while Wasted Tears had beaten better company in the past, I did mention to stats master extraordinaire Eric Slora before the race that I wasn’t sure if she could go the full 1 3/16 miles.  That, of course, did not prevent my seven year old son Gabriel from choosing the post time favorite.  He frequently eats chalk while his dad does not.  He says he likes to bet on the most “popular” horse (you know, the one with their odds highlighted in yellow).

Modesty Handicap – RACE REPLAY

Previewing the Secretariat Stakes was the 97th running of the American Derby featuring three year old colts and geldings going 1 3/16 miles on the turf.  Post time favorite and Arlington Classic winner Willcox Inn ($6.20) ran away with the victory by four impressive lengths!  (You do realize that in the 97 years that this race has been run that the Cubs STILL have not won the World Series…just sayin’.)
Willcox Inn ran in a stalking position in third around the clubhouse turn chasing the blazing Zoebear who went out to a huge early lead (nine lengths at one point) setting some pretty fast early fractions.  Zoebear eventually faded and Willcox Inn took the lead from the pack in the middle of the far turn and never looked back!  This horse must LOVE racing in Chicago as he is now a perfect 3-for-3 at Arlington.  Michael Stidham had this horse in very good form as he worked very well on the polytrack and turf in recent practice runs.  Suntracer and Derby Kitten finished second and third respectively both closing in hard from the back of the pack.

While my choice was the fourth place finisher, Chalice, my son Gabriel scored “big” on Wilcox Inn.  The crowd rejoiced.

American Derby – RACE REPLAY

Previewing the Arlington Million was the Grade 3 Arlington Handicap with colts and geldings going 1 1/4 miles on the turf.  Post time favorite and Arlington favorite Shadwell Stable’s Tajaaweed ($7.40) came from far back to take the victory by 1 ½ lengths! 
Tajaaweed, trained by Daniel Peitz, tracked along the rail around the clubhouse turn, cut through the competition on the far turn, then swung very wide to charge hard down the stretch to beat the rest of the field.  It was a pretty good run in my opinion and he should be in a great spot to contend in the million dollar race.  Mister Marti Gras came out of nowhere to beat a bunch of others to grab second.  For a while it looked very contentious for second, third, and fourth as four or five horses hit the wire within a length of each other!  It looked like it could have been a blanket finish until Tajaaweed took over. 

Also just so you know the all-turf $0.50 pick 5 paid a huge $4,800 and change!  Once again, value at Arlington even in the popular turf races!

Arlington Handicap – RACE REPLAY

I know (and you know) I’m already a huge fan of Arlington Park but I have to admit that the three stakes today were phenomenal!  If this is any indication of what Arlington Million day will be like then I can hardly wait for that day!  I’m certainly going to be in attendance and I hope you will be too!

What did you think of today’s races?  Who are you looking forward to seeing in the Million?  Post a comment below or send me a note as I would love to hear from you!


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Older Comments about Local Heroes Willcox Inn and Tajaaweed Score on Million Preview Day!...

I thought that the Modest was a great race and that Fantasia (albeit a little green in the stretch switching leads) was impressive and most importantly she found all the right openings to give her a great trip given the running style. All I can say is WOW Willcox Inn and Robby A!!! MOST impressive indeed I say they go for the big one. Tajaaweed won nicely too but WI was a tough act to follow...great racing coast to coast yesterday!
Chris ~ It was great to see you on Million Preview Day! Great recap. :)
Great day of turf racing at the showplace ... I was most impressed with Willcox Inn, how about you, Chris?
  • cpsoren121 · Certainly Brian, Willcox Inn looked very impressive!! Maybe he'll take a run at the Million instead of the Secretariat? · 2326 days ago
3 very nice races yesterday and just love it when the locally based horses take down the majority of 1sts and 2nds! Congrats to Romin Robin, Wilcox Inn,Suntracer, Tajaaweed, and Mister Mardi Gras!!!
  • cpsoren121 · And RP you know the Illinois circuit very well!! I'm always glad to see our local heroes win! · 2326 days ago

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 (Whoa - it's me - the DARK HORSE)
Greetings and welcome to my "dark" blog!  I have been a fan of horse racing since I was about 12 years old.  Growing up in Minnesota, my dad would take me and my brothers to Canterbury Downs and I would practically beg to go every weekend!!  I made my first "big" score there hitting the win, place, and exacta in the same race at age 14 (pulled in $84 with horses named Railroad Red and Racers Dream!).  I even had a poster in my bedroom of Lost Code winning the 1987 St. Paul Derby!
While finishing school in Chicago, I spent every possible moment at Arlington Park with my dad.  We took the time to develop computer programs (on the ever popular Lotus 1-2-3 for DOS) to try to find patterns and handicap races more accurately.  My dad taught me a lot about handicapping races, paying particular attention to class moves!

Since then, I have become more involved with horse racing each passing year through a variety of different media-based roles. Once deemed the "second best racing ambassador in Chicago" (hey I've been called worse), 
I now reside in the Mid-Atlantic Region of the USA and will be covering many different aspects of racing - in my unpredictable DARK HORSE STYLE!  
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This blog is eternally dedicated to the memory of Tim "Tiznow" Reynolds.

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