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Lord Carmen Rallies for Upset Win in James Tafel Illinois Owners Stakes
J David Banks & Hondo Ranch Inc.'s Lord Carmen circled the field entering the stretch, took the lead inside the furlong grounds and drew clear to win the $100,000 James B. Tafel Illinois Owners Stakes by two lengths over favored Fort Prado on Saturday at Arlington Park. Ramsey Zimmerman was astride the Frank Kirby-trained son of Ordway who covered the mile and a sixteenth over soft turf in 1:50.76.
The Tafel is restricted to horses where at least 51% of the ownership is registered to an owner whose Illinois Racing Board license registration reflects an Illinois address.
"The track played into this result quite a lot," said Kirby. "(Lord Carmen) really likes soft turf and he's always really liked the Arlington course. And I'm grateful that (jockey) Ramsey Zimmerman decided to come back to Arlington this summer. He's rode a lot of really nice winners for me."
Kirby and Zimmerman teamed up to take the Grade I Canadian International at Woodbine last October, giving both trainer and jockey their biggest win.
Lord Carmen earned $60,000 for the victory to boost his bankroll to $331,868 while bettering his record to seven wins from 37 starts overall and five for 10 over the Arlington turf.
Fort Prado, two-time Illinois Horse of the Year, had all sorts of trouble in the stretch before finally getting clear to take home second money of $20,000 to pass the million-dollar mark at $1,008,051.
"It's a tough way to become a millionaire, but this is a tough business," acknowledged Fort Prado's trainer Chris Block. "We'll just try 'em again next time. (He had a) horrible trip. This was a case of bad racing luck - plain and simple."
Rey Del Sol was third in the nine-horse field, followed by Chief Thief, Major Rhythm, Wildrally, Brothers Nicholas, Rector and Ravensworth.
Lord Carmen returned $19, $5.80 and $4.60. Fort Prado returned $2.80 and $2.60. Rey Del Sol paid $4.
Earlier in the day, a Tafel-owned horse , Coragil Cat, posted a big upset in the $53,000 Timeless Native Stakes, scoring in Polytrack-record time of 1:33.55 under jockey Diego Sanchez. Trained by Greg Geier, the son of Forest WIldcat paid $24.60, $7.40 and $3 as the longest price on the board.