WinStar Farm and Tom VanMeter's Mr. Mellon scored his second career stakes victory June 29 with a stout finish in the Arlington Classic (gr. IIT) at Arlington Park. Waiting patiently until midstretch to make his move, Mr. Mellon just caught leader Doc Holliday to win the $175,000 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds by a neck. Seainksy, longest price on the board at 56-1, finished third, 1 3/4 lengths back.
Trained by Elliott Walden, Mr. Mellon had previously won the Rushaway Stakes at Turfway Park back in March before a sixth-place finish as the favorite in the Arkansas Derby (gr. II). His first turf effort came on June 8 at Churchill Downs in the Jefferson Cup (gr. IIIT) in which he finished second to Orchard Park.
Mr. Mellon returned $6.80 as the second choice. Favored Jeremiah Jack finished fourth. The exacta (3-8) with Doc Holiday returned $33.60. The Arlington Classic was the middle leg of the NTRA Pick Three that paid $277 with Atelier winning the Molly Pitcher Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) at Monmouth Park and Nonsuch Bay taking the Mother Goose (gr. I) at Belmont Park.
Sitting chilly along the hedge early, Mr. Mellon and Rene Douglas bided their time as Cappuchino carved out early splits of :23.52, :47.73, and 1:11.71 over Arlington turf layout. Doc Holliday, who had tracked Cappuchino grabbed the lead turning for home as Mr.Mellon looked for room. Douglas swung his mount out turning for home, but saw a seam back on the rail and went for it. Once clear, he came off the hedge to run down Doc Holliday in the final 100 yards. Final time was 1:41.95.
"It was the plan (to stay inside," Douglas said. "Mr. Walden is a great trainer. I just followed his instructions and it worked out perfectly. You have to be patient."
"He's starting to figure it out," Walden said. "He only started twice at 2. We got a little behind on him as far as the Triple Crown and tried to play catch up. He definitely has a turf pedigree, but I like to keep both avenues open (dirt and turf). We'll point for the Jim Dandy (gr. II, Saratoga, Aug. 4) but I expect to back for the Secretariat (gr. IT, Aug. 17, Arlington).
Mr. Mellon is a son of Red Ransom out of the Summer Squall mare Mackie. Mr. Mellon was bred by VanMeter and Vinery. (Chart, Equibase