(from Arlington Park report)
California invader Unusual Suspect heads the field for the $200,000 Washington Park Handicap (gr. III), which returns to the Arlington Park stakes schedule Sept. 5 after a one-year hiatus.
The 1 3/16-mile Polytrack event has an added the incentive. The race winner earns an automatic starting position in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) Nov. 7 at Santa Anita Park under the Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” format.
Eight are entered, including Dyan, David, and Barry Abrams’ Unusual Suspect, winner of the Cougar II Handicap over Del Mar’s Polytrack surface by a nose on Aug. 5. The homebred son of Unusual Heat is making a rapid turnaround for the Washington Park after posting a fifth-place finish, beaten only 2 1/2 lengths for all of it, in the Del Mar Handicap (gr. IIT) Aug. 30. The Barry Abrams-trained winner in eight of 39 starts will carry 118 pounds and be ridden by Arlington’s leading jockey, Junior Alvarado.
Also coming out of the Cougar II is third-place finisher Church Service, who races in the colors of Daniel Capen and Robert Tjosvold. The Pulpit gelding made a four-wide move into the stretch in that 1 1/2-mile affair and rallied late to get up for the show money. Previously, the Mike Mitchell-trained 6-year-old closed to finish second in the $100,000 Gallant Man Handicap over Hollywood Park’s Cushion Track. James Graham, currently second in the Arlington rider standings, gets the call. Church Service also carries 118.
Arriving from Canada is Haras Santa Maria de Aras S. A.’s Palladio, the 120-pound high weight who recently won the Seagram Cup (Can-III) over Woodbine’s Polytrack. The Roger Attfield-trained son of Lycius is a multiple graded stakes winner over that surface, having captured the Durham Cup (Can-III) there last October. Regular rider Richard Dos Ramos is expected to make the trip from Toronto to ride.
Alghuwayriyah Stable’s Eldaafer, winner of the Brooklyn Handicap (gr. II) by a nose on a sloppy track at Belmont Park in June, comes to Chicago after finishing third in the Greenwood Cup at Philadelphia Park on July 18. The Diane Alvarado-trained son of A. P. Indy has won five of 11 races in his career. The 4-year-old gelding has been assigned 118 pounds and will be ridden by Clinton Potts.
Gran Estreno, on a five-race win streak for Michael Stidham, returns to his home track after winning the $100,000 Claiming Crown Emerald over the Canterbury Park turf course in his last trip to post. The son of Lucky Roberto, who earlier this year was claimed for $20,000 in successive starts, now races for the Feel The Thunder Stable of Marty Nixon.
Completing the field: Tom Gregerson and Hicklin Farms' Let It Rock, Ashbrook Farm’s Wicked Style, and David P. Holloway Racing’s Dubious Miss.
The Washington Park Handicap is part of a Saturday stakes triple-header that also includes the meet’s signature events for 2-year-olds – the $150,000 Arlington-Washington Futurity and $150,000 Arlington-Washington Lassie (both gr. III).
$200,000 Washington Park Handicap (gr. III, Race 8, 4:28 p.m.), 3 & Up, 1 3/16 Miles (All Weather)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Palladio (FL), R A Dos Ramos, 120, R L Attfield
2. Eldaafer (KY), C L Potts, 118, D Alvarado
3. Let It Rock (FL), E Razo, Jr., 114, J A Hicklin
4. Unusual Suspect (CA), J Alvarado, 118, B Abrams
5. Wicked Style (FL), J L Castanon, 116, G R Arnold, II
6. Dubious Miss (KY), C A Emigh, 116, P J McGee
7. Church Service (KY), J Graham, 118, M R Mitchell
8. Gran Estreno (ARG), E T Baird, 115, M Stidham