Euphony and Vacation earned their first graded wins on a big stakes day at Arlington Park May 23.
Pin Oak Stable's Euphony, ridden by Cliff Berry, won the $150,000 Arlington Matron Handicap (gr. III) (VIDEO) by three-quarters of a length for her fifth consecutive victory for trainer Donnie Von Hemel.
In the $100,000 Hanshin Cup Handicap (gr. III) (VIDEO), Phipps Stable's Vacation got away in the homestretch to score by 2 1/4 lengths with John Velazquez aboard.
Two races earlier, Phipps Stable, trainer Shug McGaughey and Velazquez teamed with favored Consequence to win the most lucrative race on the card, the $200,000 American 1000 Guineas (VIDEO) for 3-year-old fillies on the turf.
The final stakes of the day, the $150,000 Arlington Classic (VIDEO), was captured by Virginia H. Tarra Trust's homebred Giant Oak.
Euphony, a 4-year-old filly by Forest Wildcat, made her winning move along the inside in upper stretch to draw clear in the final furlong. Under urging from Berry, she held sway over the fast-closing Kiss With a Twist, ridden by Miguel Mena. It was 2 1/2 lengths back to 4-5 favorite Indescribable, who was looking for a repeat victory in the Matron with jockey Kent Desormeaux. After rallying into contention, Indescribable ducked inward to the rail in the stretch before running on. Home's Best, Sky Mom, Serenading, Boudoir and Gloria Goodbody followed. The winning time for the 1 1/8-mile Polytrack test for older fillies and mares was 1:50.72.
In a tightly-packed bunch, a boxed in Born to Be, ridden by Rene Douglas, clipped heels and fell in upper stretch. Douglas, who was conscious and alert after being thrown, was taken directly to Northwest Community Hospital after complaining of back pain and soreness in his neck. No further information was available on Douglas’ condition. No information was released on Born to Be, a 4-year-old daughter of A.P. Indy.
Sky Mom, who finished fifth, was disqualified for interfering with Born to Be and was placed last.
"She’s a smart horse and she knew what she was doing," Berry said of Euphony. "I had to use her a little bit going into the turn, to help save my position, other than that everything went great."
Euphony led through an opening quarter mile of :25.19 and was close to the 93-1 pacesetter Boudoir through a half-mile of :49.75 and six furlongs in 1:14.54.
Coming off a victory in the Bayakoa Stakes at Oaklawn Park for Berry on April 8, Euphony won for the eighth time in 10 starts and increased her earnings to $373,600. The dark bay has never finished out of the money.
“She is just a wonderful filly," Von Hemel said. "I thought she might be behind a few more horses, but the way she broke, and the way the pace was, he (Berry) did what a good rider does in a race and took advantage of it.”
Sent off as the fourth choice, the winner paid $17.80, $8.20 and $3.60. Kiss With a Twist returned $5.20 and $3. Indescribable was $2.10 to show.
In the Hanshin Cup, Phipps Stable's Vacation, a 4-year-old son of Dynaformer, rallied five wide around the turn and progressed steadily for Velazquez to draw clear. Dominican, ridden by Mena, was forced to check and alter course in the stretch before rallying late to get the runner-up spot by 1 3/4 lengths over lukewarm favorite Cherokee Artist and Jeremy Rose.
Vacation settled in behind the pacesetters as Spotsgone led the opening quarter-mile in :24 flat before Voy Por Uno Mas was rushed up and took command through a half-mile in :46.80 and six furlongs in 1:10.99. Voy Por Uno Mas led into the stretch before fading. Vacation took over in the final furlong and held off an unlucky Dominican. The winning time for the one-mile Polytrack test for older horses was 1:36.56.
“He broke really well, so I wanted to get position and keep him closer than normal," Velazquez said of the winner. "Then when I was ready to go I asked him and he responded."
Mena was disappointed. “I ran into traffic turning for home. It made me check pretty good. I was on the best horse; I should have won the race."
Vacation, coming off a close third-place finish in an allowance race on the Keeneland Polytrack April 17, won for just the third time in a 19-race career. He earned $58,200 for the victory, boosting his career bankroll to $484,863.
The third choice in the field of eight, Vacation paid $9.20, $6.20 and $4. Dominican returned $5.80 and $3.60. Cherokee Artist was $3.20 to show. Then came Amazing Results, Stonehouse, Voy Por Uno Mas, Spotsgone and Coragil Cat, who was bidding for a repeat victory in the Hanshin Cup but trailed throughout.
In the second running of the American 1000 Guineas, Phipps Stable’s Consequence split horses mid-stretch and held off a late rally by Excelente to win by a half-length on the turf. Velazquez guided the McGaughey-trained daughter of El Prado, who covered the one mile over firm turf in 1:37.59.
“I was proud of the way the filly sprinted home,” said Velazquez.
The win for the 3-year-old filly was the first since she broke her maiden last summer at Saratoga Race Course. She had finished third in the Beaumont (gr. II) over Polytrack at Keeneland in her most recent trip to post. She earned $117,600 to boost her bankroll to $197,860.
Excelente made a late run on the outside but was unable to get to the winner while pacesetter Afternoon Stroll faded to third in the seven-horse lineup.
The 6-5 favorite, Consequence paid $4.40, $3.40 and $2.40. Excelente returned $9.60 and $5.60. Afternoon Stroll paid $4.80. Prytania, Hot Cha Cha, Obsequious and Peach Brew completed the order of finish.
The late-running Giant Oak rallied between horses in the homestretch and powered home under Eusebio Razo Jr., to score by one length in the Arlington Classic for 3-year-olds on the grass.
No Inflation, ridden by Desormeaux, finished second by 1 3/4 lengths over El Crespo and James Graham. It was three-quarters of a length to fourth-place finisher Golden Mexico, the 2-1 favorite in the field of nine.
Chris Block trains the winner, an Illinois-bred chestnut son of Giant's Causeway --Crafty Oak, by Crafty Prospector.
The second choice, Giant Oak ran the 1 1/16-mile distance in 1:43.59 on firm turf and paid $7.40, $4.20 and $3. No Inflation returned $14 and $6.80. El Crespo was $3.60 to show.
Giant Oak earned $86,400 for his third win eight starts, boosting his career total to $304,796.