Gritty Eye of the Tiger Wins Washington Park

(from Arlington Park report)
A wide trip and a claim of foul couldn't keep John D. Gunther's Eye of the Tiger from reaching the winner's circle following the $350,000 Washington Park Handicap (gr. II) on Saturday at Arlington Park.

The homebred son of American Chance was clocked in 1:56.87 for the 1 3/16-mile event, the richest race on the Arlington main track.

Leaving from the outside post with local jockey Eusebio Razo Jr. in the five-horse field, Eye of the Tiger was wide throughout the race and brushed with Olmodavor near the top of the stretch. He was all out to win by a head in an exciting finish. He explained what led to the objection by John McKee, who rode Olmodavor.

"When I turned for home, I switched my stick to the left hand," said Razo, who enjoyed the biggest victory of his 11-year career. "I went to the outside a little bit but I straightened him out right away. I didn't think there was any problem with that but I was a little nervous for a while."

McKee was disappointed the foul was disallowed after a lengthy review by the Arlington Park stewards.

"He bumped me out coming out of the turn and cost me two or three lengths," said McKee, who was riding Olmodavor for the first time. "Absolutely, he cost me the race."

It was another length and a half farther back to third-place finisher Congrats, who faded late after setting the pace through a mile in 1:36.68.

For the Kiaran McLaughlin-trained Eye of the Tiger, the Washington Park Handicap was the second win in eight starts this year and his fifth in 18 trips to the post overall. The $210,000 winner's check boosted his bankroll past the half-million dollar mark to $532,779.

Sent off as the longest shot in the race at odds of nearly 7-1, he paid $15.60, $5.40 and $3.40.

Olmodavor paid $3.40 and $2.80. Congrats returned $3.20. Colonial Colony, the 8-5 favorite, and The Lady's Groom completed the order of finish.

(Chart, Equibase)