Lismore Knight Off Fence to Take Classic

J. J. Pletcher's Lismore Knight saved ground early and angled out for the drive en route to a three-quarter length victory in the $175,000 Arlington Classic (gr. IIT) Saturday at Arlington Park.

The Todd Pletcher-trained colt was ridden by Arlington Park's leading jockey Rene Douglas and went the 1 1/16 mile over firm turf in 1:42.73.

The Arlington Classic was the second straight win and fourth victory in seven starts for the son of Woodman, who earned $105,000 to elevate his bankroll to $380,600.

Tracking the leaders from the rail, Douglas was content to wait until the stretch to ask his horse for his best run . Once room was secured, Lismore Knight proved best and was drawing off at the finish.

"I was inside the whole way," said Douglas, who won this race last year aboard Mr. Mellon. "I was waiting for an opportunity (to let my horse run). I knew the horses in front of me were going slowly. There was a horse outside of me (Herculated) but I didn't think he had a shot. When we turned for home, the horse outside of me kind of died, and that gave me a chance to get my horse to the outside. I was running as hard as I could because I knew the horses up front had plenty left."

Remind set a leisurely pace in the race, posting fractions of :24.32, :48.86, 1:12.60 and a mile split of 1:36.58 before being overtaken by the eventual winner in mid-stretch.

"I had a good trip," said Cornelio Velasquez, who made the trip from Churchill Downs to ride Remind. "We had a nice slow pace, just the way we wanted, so everything went right. The last sixteenth of a mile, the other horse was better."

Irish bred Good Day Too, in his United States debut, raced up close throughout the race and finished third in the field of 10 sophomores.

"We had a very slow pace the first quarter," said Good Day Too's rider, Curt Bourque. "I think if it would have been a little quicker, it would have helped me. He gave me his all."

Scottago, Rapid Proof, Ontario, Distinguishable, Herculated, Lone Star Deputy and European completed the order of finish.

Lismore Knight paid $6.40, $3 and $2.60. Remind paid $3.60 and $2.80. Good Day Too paid $3.20.

Earlier in the day, Stonerside Stable LLC's Desert Gold engaged in a stretch long duel with Happily Unbridled and bested that rival by a neck in the $46,650 Mariah's Storm Stakes. Velasquez rode the Pat Byrne-trained daughter of Seeking the Gold who covered the 1 1/8 mile over a fast track in 1:51.25.

The 8-5 favorite earned $27,990 to boost his bankroll to $188,438 and paid $5.40, $2.30 and $2.40.

(Chart, Equibase)