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Middie Pulls 14-1 Upset in Grade III Washington Park Handicap in Track Record Time
G. Watts Humphrey Jr. & St. George Farm Racing's Middie split horses at the three-eighths pole and quickly drew off to post a 3 ¾-length victory under jockey Francisco Torres in the $150,000 Grade III Washington Park Handicap in track-record time 1:49.27 for the mile and an eighth over Polytrack.
"The thing about (Arlington's Polytrack) is when it rains, it tightens up the racetrack and you'll see faster times," Torres explained. "Around the three-eighths pole, I had so much horse. Everybody looked like they were just waiting for someone to move. When I found a seam between the horse in front of me and the horse outside of me, I went ahead and stole it. I got out, opened up and held on."
The previous standard for nine furlongs over Arlington's Polytrack was 1:49.30 set by On Safari on Aug. 25, 2007, the first year the synthetic surface was in place at Arlington. The fastest mile and an eighth ever run at Arlington Park was set by Spectacular Bid, who won the 1980 Washington Park Handicap in 1:46 1/5.
The Washington Park Handicap was the second win in seven starts this year for the 4-year-old son of Officer. He earned $88,200 for the victory to boost his bankroll to $208,643 and improving his overall record to four wins from 16 trips to the post.
Defending champion Mister Marti Gras rallied from toward the back of the pack to get up for second, well clear of third-place finisher Pool Play. Hattash, Workin for Hops and favored Prayer for Relief completed the order of finish. Ballyjamesdoyle was eased under the wire but walked off the track under his own power.
"We got a good trip," said Mister Marti Gras jockey Eduardo Perez. "We were just second best."
Trainer Chris Block, speaking to jockey Eduardo Perez, added, "We ran into a buzz saw right there. That one just ran away from us."
Prompted by longshot Ballyjamesduff, multiple graded stakes winner Workin for Hops set the pace of 24.65 seconds, 48.88 seconds and 1:13.65 before fading.
Dispatched at odds of more than 14-1, Middie paid $30.80, $11.20 and $4.60. Mister Marti Gras paid $4 and $2.60. Pool Play paid $3.80.