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Course Record Victory for Mr. Nightlinger

Churchill Downs Communications | 08/23/2008 #
  • Mr. Nightlinger wins the $200,000 Arlington Sprint in course record time of 1:01.89 for the 5 1/2 furlongs.

Martin Racing Stable and Carl Moore Management’s Mr. Nightlinger survived a claim of foul from the jockey of runner-up Starticus to prevail as the official victor in the $200,000 Arlington Sprint, getting the 5 ½ furlongs over “firm” turf in course record time of 1:01.89.

With Jamie Theriot in the irons, the Bret Calhoun-trained son of Indian Charlie broke alertly from the gate and was hustled to the rail while posting fractions of 21.80 seconds, 44.20 seconds and 55.70 seconds en route to the two-length victory, shaving .29 seconds off the previous standard for the distance.

“I’m just a passenger on him and I think it would take a real good horse to beat him right now,” said Theriot. “I think he’s the best of the best right now sprinting.”

The Arlington Sprint, previously a main track fixture, was moved to the turf for the first time this year and was selected as a Breeders’ Cup Challenge race. The “Win and You’re In” provision of that series guarantees the horse a berth in the newly created Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint subject to all pre-entry and entry fees for that race.

Since becoming a turf sprint specialist, the 4-year-old colt has rattled off five straight tallies including the $54,800 Taylor’s Special Stakes over this course last month. He picked up $114,000 for the Arlington Sprint score to boost his bankroll near the half-million dollar mark at $498,503 while bettering his overall record to nine wins from 18 starts.

Starticus was second throughout the race and his rider Junior Alvarado alleged interference at the half-mile pole, but the foul claim was disallowed.

“(Starticus) didn’t break as well as I wanted him to,” Alvarado said. “If he had, I would have been a lot closer at the finish. I can’t say for sure I would have beat him, but it would have been a lot closer.”

Prince Woodman finished third in the 10-horse field, followed by Fort Prado, Mighty Rule, Native Ruler, Dhanyata, John’s Road, Base Commander and Lovango.

Sent off at odds of 7-10, Mr. Nightlinger paid $3.40, $2.40 and $2.10. Starticus returned $4.80 and $3.80. Prince Woodman paid $3.20.