Juddmonte Farms, Inc.'s Chiselling staged a furious late rally, closing from last place with a quarter mile remaining, and got up in the final jump to nip Jazz Beat by a nose and claim the victory in Saturday's grade I, $400,000 Secretariat Stakes at Arlington Park.
The win, Chiselling's second in a row and third in seven career outings, was worth $240,000 and elevated his earnings to $383,760. The aptly named Chiselling is by Woodman, out of the El Gran Senor mare Toussaud, making Chiselling a half-brother to 2000 Arlington Million winner Chester House, who was sired by Mr. Prospector. Breaking from post position three in the seven-horse field, Chiselling lagged at or near the rear of the pack, biding his time behind the tepid early fractions set down by Extra Check. But despite the splits of 24.74 seconds for the quarter mile, 49.09 for the half, 1:13.81 for six furlongs and 1:38.55 for the mile, Chiselling was still able to uncork a powerful late kick that carried him past everyone to victory.
"I was never certain I was going to get there until the last 50 yards," said winning rider Kent Desormeaux. "It was a great day for him to shine."
For the second straight start, Chiselling acted up prior to entering the starting gate. In the July 14 Lexington Stakes at Belmont Park--a race that Chiselling also won by a nose--Chiselling's trainer Bobby Frankel thought his colt was handled somewhat roughly by the Belmont Park gate crew. Today, however, he was quick to point out the different treatment afforded Chiselling at Arlington Park. "The gate crew did a fabulous job with him today," said Frankel. "They deserve a lot of credit for this. They handled him gently, which is exactly what this horse needs. In a race that ends this close, there are so many things that can make the difference between winning and losing."
"He's ornery," said Desormeaux of Chiselling. "If you try to fight him, he's got a fight for you. But if you give him a second, he's all right. The patience of the gate crew showed it was true."
The win capped a terrific day for both Frankel and Juddmonte Farms, Inc., who also captured the Arlington Million earlier in the afternoon with Beat Hollow in a similarly close race decided by a head. Total purse winnings for Juddmonte Farms in the two races amounts to $840,000.
Mananan McLir, Love Regardless and Orchard Park completed the order of finish. Orchard Park's last-place finish was particularly puzzling, given his status as the 7-5 betting favorite in the Secretariat Stakes. "I was completely empty throughout the race," said Orchard Park's jockey Jerry Bailey. "I just had no horse."Chiselling paid $9.20, $4.60 and $3.60. Jazz Beat returned $5.60 and $3.80. Extra Check paid $5.40 to show. Chiselling's next race is undecided. The Frankel camp did indicate, however, that the horse would soon be shipped to Saratoga to join Frankel there. Rider Kent Desormeaux said that a start in the 1 1/2-mile John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf at Arlington Park on Oct. 26 was not beyond the realm of possibility. "If he stays at his current rate of improvement, and given how he loves to go long, I can't sit here and tell you he doesn't deserve a shot in that race." (Chart, Equibase)