Nine 3-year-old colts and geldings have been entered in the $150,000 Arlington Classic (gr. IIIT) at Arlington Park June 23.
Saturday’s 1 1/16th mile turf event is the first leg of the Mid-America Triple, which includes American Derby (gr. IIT) July 21 and the Secretariat Stakes (gr. IT), part of the Arlington International Festival of Racing August 11.
The morning-line favorite Vaunt still seeks his first stakes win but has been coming close in all of his North American starts. Vaunt has raced five times in the U.S., with a second, a third, and three fourth place finishes, all coming in stakes.
In his last start, Vaunt came closest to picking up his elusive first stakes win, finishing second by a neck in the six-furlong Harry Henson Stakes on turf at Hollywood Park April 27.
The Arlington Classic will be Vaunt’s first start for trainer Bill Mott and owners Preferred Pals, Brous Stable, Wachtel Stable, and Double S Stable. It will also be the first time Vaunt has raced outside of the Southern California circuit.
Mott has won the Arlington Classic three times with victories in 1996 (Trail City), 2000 (King Cugat), and 2001 (Baptize).
Vaunt, by Averti and bred by Lord Rothschild, raced five times in his native Britain. Vaunt had two wins and two seconds and $30,522 in earnings from those five starts.
Pleasant Strike enters the Arlington Classic off a 1 ¼ length victory in an entry-level allowance race at Arlington May 26. The race was scheduled to be contested over the turf but was transferred to Arlington’s Polytrack.
Pleasant Strike, by Smart Strike, finished third two races back in an entry-level allowance event at Keeneland. All of the top three finishers from that event returned to win their next race, including winner Inca King, who captured the Jefferson Cup Stakes (gr. IIII) by three lengths at Churchill Downs June 16.
Beta Capo will make his first start in Illinois in 9 ½ months, when he won a maiden special weight over Arlington’s old dirt track.
Beta Capo has since won two stakes, the Sportsman’s Paradise Stakes in the mud at Delta Downs and the Grand Prairie Turf Challenge Stakes at Lone Star Park. The Steve Asmussen trained song of Langfuhr finished third in the Pin Oak Stud USA stakes over a soft turf course at Lone Star Park May 28 in his last start.
Tom Archdeacon found a seam as he made his rally to win the Awad Stakes on turf at Arlington May 28 in his last race, defeating fellow Arlington Classic entrants Pirate Saint and Lovango.
Pirate Saint finished second in the Awad, three-quarters of a length behind Tom Archdeacon and one length clear of third place finisher Lovango. Both Pirate Saint, winner of the Shecky Green Stakes opening day, and Lovango experienced traffic problems in the Awad on the second turn.
Starbase will try to rebound off a sixth place finish in the Ohio Derby (gr. II). The D. Wayne Lukas trainee, second in the Lexington Stakes (gr. II) two back, will make his first start on turf since his debut, an eighth place finish at Saratoga last July.
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1-Vaunt, 119, Robby Albarado
2-Pleasant Strike, 119, Rene Douglas
3-Lovano, 119, Seth Martinez
4-Starbase, 119, Eusebio Razo Jr.
5-Quasicobra, 119, Julien Leparoux
6-Beta Capo, 121, Christopher Emigh
7-Riverside Rascal, 119, Shane Laviolette
8-Tom Archdeacon, 119, Larry Sterling Jr.
9-Pirate Saint, 119, Jose Ferrer