Merriefield Farm's favored Always First, second in his last two starts, fought pacesetter Cloudy's Knight in a long drive to the wire, prevailing in the final stride by a nose in the $200,000 Stars and Stripes Turf Handicap (gr. IIIT), the traditional Fourth of July headliner at Arlington Park.
Always First and Ramazutti, the second and third-place finishers in the Louisville Handicap (gr. IIIT) May 26 at Churchill Downs, top a competitive field of nine grass course specialists entered in Wednesday's $200,000 Stars and Stripes Turf Handicap (gr. IIT).
Swagger Stick, nominated to the Arlington Million (gr. IT) next month by trainer Graham Motion, gets the opportunity to prove himself on the Chicago-area track's turf course in Sunday's $200,000 Stars and Stripes Breeders' Cup Turf Handicap (gr. IIIT) at 12 furlongs.
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