Suave Strolls to Easy Washington Park Victory

(from Arlington Park report)
Jay Em Ess Stable's homebred Suave took the lead turning for home and drew off to an emphatic five-length victory in the $300,000 Washington Park Handicap (gr. II) in an Arlington Park track record time of 1:53.53 for the 1 3/16-mile distance over a fast track.

The previous mark of 1:54.27 was set in this race last year by Perfect Drift, who finished second in Saturday's renewal while vying for his third win in the Washington Park as the even-money choice.

Suave had a perfect trip stalking pacesetter Iosilver from mid-pack along the inside. He advanced on the turn to take the lead in the stretch, opening up a three-length advantage a furlong from home and finishing with interest.

"(The race) set up like I thought it would," said winning jockey Calvin Borel, who was aboard the Paul McGee-trained son of A. P. Indy for the first time in the Washington Park. "I thought (Iosilver) had a little cheap speed. We went the first quarter pretty easy and, on the backside, I let him get away a little bit.

Borel said he was waiting for Second of June and Perfect Drift, a challenge that never came.

"When I asked him at about the quarter pole, he went on about his business. He didn't pull up or anything. He was just waiting for someone to come to him."

Iosilver led through fractions of :23.16, :46.02 and 1:09.40 before fading in the stretch. Suave accelerated quickly on the final turn and was never challenged in the lane. Perfect Drift finished 1 1/4 lengths clear of Second of June. Nolan's Cat, O'Connell's, and Iosilver followed. Three Hour Nap was pulled up after a half-mile and vanned off.

The win was the second straight for Suave, who captured an allowance race over Second of June by a nose at Churchill Downs June 16. He earned $180,000 for the Washington Park victory, his seventh in 25 starts overall, to swell his bankroll to $1,345,923. Suave is out of Urbane, by Citidancer.

Perfect Drift, who also scored in the 2003 edition of the Washington Park and has earned more than $4.5 million, made a mild rally in the stretch but was no threat to the winner.

"He ran great," said jockey Mark Guidry of the beaten favorite. "I just sat still in the turn and put him in right behind (Suave). He ran a hard race and had a tremendous finish. He just couldn't catch the winner."

Suave, second choice in the wagering, paid $9.20, $4, and $3.40. Perfect Drift returned $2.60 and $2.20. Second of June, ridden by Robby Albarado, paid $3.20.

(Chart, Equibase)