E. J. Sukley's Purim, a multiple graded stakes winner on turf and dirt, pouncedd on the leader in the stretch en route to a 3 ¼-length victory in the inaugural $100,000 Avers Wexler Illinois Owners Stakes on Sunday at Arlington Park.
Robby Albarado came in from his Kentucky base to pilot the son of Dynaformer
who covered the 1 1/16 miles over good turf in 1:42.
The Wexler is restricted to horses owned by Illinois residents. Winning trainer Tom Proctor said he nearly missed nominating the 4-year-old colt for the race because he thought it was restricted to Illinois breds.
"I figured we'd be 3-5 in here and I wanted to get him back on the grass," Proctor said. "He relaxes a little more than he did last year. He'll run either turf or dirt. The main thing is to put him in where he can make money."
Purim, who won the Arlington Classic (gr. IIIT) on turf last year and the Razorback Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. III) on dirt at Oaklawn Park earlier this year, added $60,000 to elevate his career earnings to $409,543. He improved his overall record to six wins from 12 starts.
No Tolerance set the pace in the race and led by as many as seven lengths early through fractions of :24 1/5, :48 1/5 seconds and 1:12 1/5, but proved no match when collared by the winner in the lane. It was another head back to Major Rhythm. Scooter Roach, Home of Stars, Windigo, Nkosi Reigns and Mystery Giver completed the order.
Purim, the 7-10 favorite, paid $3.40, $2.60 and $2.20. No Tolerance returned $4.80 and $3.60. Major Rhythm paid $4.