Saturday, July 5, 2014

Arlington stakes recap: Arlington Sprint (Listed)

Contact: David Zenner
(847) 385-7535
Cell (847) 371-1670
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (July 5, 2014) – A victory by Saint Leon in the $75,000 Arlington Sprint is as much a part of the Independence Day holiday weekend as fireworks.  For the third consecutive year the Michele Boyce-trained son of Stravinsky won the 5½-furlong grass dash with E. T. Baird in the irons.
        Sent right to the front by Baird, the 9-year-old gelding was never tested and covered the distance in 1:03.45 over a turf course rated "good" while setting fractions of 22.92 seconds for the quarter, a half-mile in 45.95 seconds and a five-furlong split of 57.42.  The winning margin was one length. "The strategy was 'go – just go'," Baird said. "He's 9-years-old. He just likes to show up. He just loves to run."
        A former $5,000 claimer, Saint Leon ended up with owner Margaret Burlingham prior to the start of the 2010 season.  Sent to Boyce, the longtime Chicago-based trainer was unsure if the horse would ever make it back to the track. "When I got him, he was injured," Boyce said. "I turned him out and said we may or may not bring him back. It would depend on what he tells us. We took it day by day and he's done nothing but improve."
        Under Boyce's tutelage Saint Leon has won 11 times, including five of six starts on the Arlington turf, to bring his overall record to 14 wins in 34 starts.  The $43,650 winner's share pushed his earnings to $370,122.  When asked if Saint Leon could attempt an unprecedented fourth straight victory in the Sprint next year, she didn't rule out the possibility and said, "Who Knows? Maybe."
        Saint Leon is the second horse in the 19 runnings of the Arlington Sprint to win three straight times.  David P. Holloway's Bet On Sunshine won the race in a dead-heat in 1997 and outright in 2000 and 2001 when it was a six-furlong dirt race. (There was no racing at Arlington in 1998 and 1999.)
        Positive Side made a late rally to finish second in the eight-horse field, a length clear of third-place runner Anyriderill Do.
"I had a good trip," said Emmanuel Esquivel who rode the runner-up.  "I got great position and he felt comfortable.  I had a lot of horse under me, but the winner was going easy.  The winner was just too hard to get at the end.  My horse tried really hard and is very classy."
The 19-10 post time favorite, Saint Leon paid $5.80, $3.60 and $3.  Positive Side returned $3.80 and $3.20.  Anyriderill Do paid $4.80.
El Seventeen, the filly Liz Pendens, Tell All You Know, Law Dog and Jasizzle completed the order of finish.
David ZennerSenior Manager of Communications
Arlington International Racecourse
2200 W. Euclid Ave. Arlington Heights IL 60006-0007
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