Fires Guides Major Rhythm to Stars & Stripes Victory

(from Arlington Park report)
No jockey has won more races at Arlington Park than Hall of Fame rider Earlie Fires, and the veteran added to his total with a well-timed come-from-behind upset victory by a head aboard Major Rhythm in Sunday's $195,500 Stars and Stripes Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IIIT).

The 7-year-old Rhythm gelding covered the 1 1/2-mile distance of Arlington's traditional Independence Day holiday weekend headliner over firm turf in 2:29.93.

James Messineo's Major Rhythm sat mid pack through the first mile of the 12-furlong marathon and was still fourth with less than a furlong to run in the race before making a furious rally out in the center of the course to prevail in the final strides.

"I was out there pretty wide, and I wasn't sure if we got there," Fires admitted. "He kept running pretty hard. I just kept on riding him. It was a good race for him, and I'm really glad for the owner and trainer."

Ed Beam trains Major Rhythm. The Stars and Stripes was the 10th win in 46 starts for Major Rhythm but the first since capturing the Edward DeBartolo Memorial Breeders' Cup Handicap at Remington Park in September 2004. The Stars and Stripes winner's share of $120,000 boosted his bankroll to $547,140.

Come On Jazz, a 16-1 shot, used a rail trip to finish second in the eight-horse field, a neck clear of Ascertain. Silver Whistle, Watershed Event, Dontbotherknocking, Dynalympic, and Dreadnaught completed the order of finish.

"He never saw the other horse coming on the outside until it was too late," said Come On Jazz's jockey Francisco Torres. "Once he did, he started running again."

Sent off as the longest price on the board at odds of more than 35-1, Major Rhythm returned $73.40, $24.40, and $7.40. Come On Jazz paid $15.20 and $7.40. Ascertain paid $5.80.

(Chart, Equibase)