Stretch Run Gives Startac Narrow Victory in Secretariat Stakes

Startac came from far back to nip Strut the Stage in a photo finish Saturday to win the $400,000 Secretariat Stakes (gr. IT) by a nose at Arlington Park.

Startac, unraced since finishing 10th in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), was next to last in the field of 12 just before the turn for home and roared to the front under jockey Alex Solis to battle Strut the Stage in the final yards. The winner covered the 1 1/4 miles in 2:04.91 on the yielding turf and paid $24.40, $8.80, and $6.20.

"He came out of the Kentucky Derby in great shape, and I felt really comfortable with him coming into the race," winning trainer Simon Bray said.

Strut the Stage returned $6.40 and $4.40. Sharp Performance was third in the field of 3-year-olds and paid $3.60. The winning exacta combination returned $154.20.

Saint Damien, Navesink, Fan Club's Mister, Aldwych, Snowstorm, Package Store, Mizzen Mast, and Royal Spy completed the order of finish.

Bred by the late Allen Paulson and running in his colors, Startac earned $240,000 for the win, his fourth in nine career starts. After winning the Turf Paradise Derby in February, Startac disappointed on the Triple Crown trail finishing second in the El Camino Real Derby (gr. III) and fourth in the California Derby before venturing to Kentucky. As a 2-year-old, Startac (Theatrical--Tenga, by Mr. Prospector) won the Generous Stakes (gr. IIIT). (Chart, Equibase)