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Pachattack Wins Arlington Matron; Willcox Inn Takes Arlington Classic

| Churchill Downs Communications | 05/28/2011 #
  • Michael Deegan's Pachattack cruises to a six-length win the Grade III Arlington Matron on May 28.

Trainer Gerard Butler sent a string of six horses from his English home base to Arlington Park this summer with eyes on taking down some of the track’s graded stakes races.  It didn’t take long for Butler to accomplish that goal as he saddled Michael Deegan’s Pachattack to a six-length victory in the Grade III $100,000 Arlington Matron Saturday. 

With jockey Junior Alvarado on the sidelines after breaking his collar bone Friday in a racing accident, Florent Geroux picked up the mount aboard the daughter of Pulpit, who covered the mile and an eighth over Polytrack in 1:49.64.

The 5-year-old mare took the lead on the second turn after sitting some five lengths behind the pace of longshot Santina Dond who led through a half-mile in 49.09 seconds.

“She did it (make the lead) on her own,” said Geroux.  “I pushed her just a little bit because I didn’t want to get trapped behind horses that had absolutely no chance. I think I had the best (mare) in the race so I wanted to go faster. These horses from Europe can go all day.”

Pachattack, who ran sixth in the Grade I Beverly D. here last summer, picked up $57,600 to boost her earnings to $361,393 while bettering her record to five wins from 22 starts.  She paid $8.40, $5.60 and $4.40.

“We knew when she was sitting mid-division and coming to the final turn that she had plenty in the tank,” said owner Michael Deegan.  “So we were quite confident, but you never know who might come after you in the homestretch.  I think she’s definitely stronger (than she was last year) and more mature.  The Beverly D. wasn’t her best race. But she’s come along and trained very well.  Gerard (trainer Butler) and the team are doing a smashing job.”

La Gran Bailadora ($9.60 and $6) finished second in the nine-horse field and it was another three-quarters of a length back to third-place runner Home’s the Best ($16.40).  Upperline, the 2-1 favorite and winner of the Grade III Arlington Oaks over this track last year, reported home fourth.

“I had a good trip,” said Robby Albarado, who rode the beaten favorite. “I was sitting pretty, right where I wanted to be but at the half-mile pole, the winner came up along side of me and then I ran out of horse.”

Barely half an hour later, Albarado made amends for the Matron defeat by guiding All In Stable’s Willcox Inn to a 2 ½-length victory in the $100,000 Arlington Classic.  The Mike Stidham-trained son on Harlan’s Holiday covered the mile and a sixteenth over yielding turf in 1:49.51.

“He broke really aggressive,” Albarado said.  “It was his first time with blinkers today and I kind of put him in the race up the backside.  He may have been a little too keen today but when he settled midway he was fine and he came home very nice.  I thought the pace was pedestrian.  We were walking up the backside. I knew we’d finish up well it was just a matter if we were going to get by the other horse. He gave me every indication he was ready.”

The pace was set by Crimson Knight, who led through fractions of 25.42 seconds, 51.88 seconds and 1:17.63 before giving way to finish fourth.

The Arlington Classic was the second victory for Willcox Inn, who broke his maiden here last year under the late Michael Baze, beating eventual Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom in the process.

“(Today’s win) was kind of special because Michael Baze broke his maiden on him first time out and we rode with his girths today,” Albarado added.

Willcox Inn earned $57,600 for the Arlington Classic to push his bankroll to $227,543.

Suntracer was second in the nine-horse field, finishing a head clear of Extensive.  Crimson Knight, Pulpitarian, Legendary King, Forbidden Forest, Fort Larned and Sandys Diamond completed the order of finish.

Willcox inn, the 3-2 favorite, paid $5, $2.80 an $2.40.  Suntracer returned $4.20 and $2.80. Extensive paid $2.80.