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General Elections Gets the Vote in the Arlington Classic
WinStar Farm’s General Election survived an eventful stretch drive and a claim of foul to prevail by a length in the Grade III $150,000 Arlington Classic for trainer Kellyn Gorder and jockey Joe Rocco, Jr. in 1:45.48 for the mile and a sixteenth on turf.
Jockey Rosemary Homeister, Jr., aboard Olympia Star, Inc.’s Gennadi Dorochenko-trained Gefest lodged a claim of foul against both the winner and the third-place finisher, Terry Hamilton’s Mike Stidham-trained Dorsett for contact in impeding contact in deep stretch. Trainer Dorochenko subsequently launched a trainer’s claim of foul in support of his jockey’s objection.
In deep stretch, Gefest, Dorsett and General Election were rallying in tandem. Dorsett appeared to come and bump Gefest at around the same time contact was made with General Election. “I felt it hindered my horse more than he hindered others because when they contacted him, it turned my horse’s butt sideways. I feel like we were going to draw off from there, but it made him pause - then he went on from it. I think all the pressure was from the outside (Dorsett),” explained Rocco Jr.
The stewards disallowed the claim against the winner, but took down Dorsett, under jockey James Graham, and placed the colt behind Gefest. Finishing in a wide and flying second under jockey Mike Smith was Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Mike Maker-trained race favorite Admiral Kitten, who completely avoided the contact inside of him.
“They went slow that second quarter. They finally did pick it up, I was able to sit behind and wheel out down the lane. But, again, it hurt me when they slowed it down because I'm out of position, out on the track, and I'm going to have to make a six, seven-wide move and it's going to be early,” Smith reported.
As for the winner, assistant trainer John Ortiz was very pleased after the horse was ruled the winner. “We came into this race very confident. He’s a smart horse; very sensible. He trains unbelievable. He does whatever you ask him to do.”
The drama of the following minutes of the race did not take away from a highly competitive edition of the first leg of the Mid-America Triple, which saw the first five horses finish within two lengths of one another. Following the aforementioned top four were Procurement, Whiskey Bravo, Bells Big Bernie, Yorkshire Icon, Brown Almighty, Bambazonki, Bobo and Fordubai.
General Election paid $28.20, $10.40 and $8.20. Admiral Kitten returned $3.60 and $3.20. The moved-up Gefest paid $15.60. The second leg of the Mid-America Triple is the American Derby on July 13 at 1 3/16 miles on Arlington’s world-renowned turf course.