Arlington 'Cap Decision to Senor Swinger

(from Arlington Park report)
Robert and Beverly Lewis' Senor Swinger, ridden by Brice Blanc, captured a roughly run edition of the Arlington Handicap (gr. IIT) by a head Saturday at Arlington Park Saturday.

The final time for the 1 1/4-mile test over firm turf was 2:03.38.

Chris Block, the trainer of runner-up Mystery Giver, claimed foul against the winner alleging interference at the start. Meanwhile Rene Douglas, who rode third-place finisher Ballingarry, claimed foul against Mystery Giver saying he interfered in the stretch. The Arlington Park stewards disallowed both claims.

Steadied at the start while breaking from the rail in the seven-horse field, the Bob Baffert-trained Senor Swinger was never too far off a very slow pace set by On The Course, who crawled through three-quarters of a mile in 1:15.16. Senor Singer stayed cool while saving ground on the inside on both turns. He squeezed through along the rail in the stretch and get up for a narrow decision over a late-flying Mystery Giver.

"He broke OK, but on the second jump, he tried to look into the infield," Blanc said. "I tried to grab him as soon as I could. ( On The Course) was getting out all the way and intimidated everything. It made the whole thing a little scary.

The $250,000 Arlington Handicap, the final local prep for the 1 1/4-mile Arlington Million (gr. IT) to be run on Aug. 14. It, was the third win in seven starts this year for the son of El Prado, who captured the $100,000 Opening Verse Handicap at Churchill Downs last month before being placed third in the Firecracker Breeders' Cup (gr. IIT) in his most recent start. He earned $150,000 to push his bankroll to $670,688.

"There's a possibility he'll come back in (three) weeks for the Arlington Million," said Mick Jenner, an assistant to Baffert. "We'll see how he comes out of the race and go from there."

Mystery Giver, the 2002 Illinois Horse of the Year, was involved in the bumping at the start. He was far back early before rallying five wide into the stretch but came up a head short at the finish.

Ballingarry, the 17-10 post time favorite, was involved in both the rough start and the claim of foul in the stretch, but ran a creditable third in the seven-horse field.

"My horse ran a big race," said Douglas. "He ran really hard. (Mystery Giver) came out on me a little bit in the stretch and it cost me, but my horse ran very game race."

Senor Swinger, second choice in the wagering at odds of 9-5, paid $5.60, $3.20 and $2.20. Mystery Giver returned $4.60 and $2.60. Ballingarry paid $2.10. On the Course, Rowans Park, Sharbayan and Grey Beard completed the order of finish.

(Chart, Equibase)

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