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Tuscan Evening Wins Grade III Modesty Handicap
William Deburgh's Tuscan Evening kept her 2010 record intact with a front-stepping half-length victory at Arlington Park in the Grade III $150,000 Modesty Handicap, one of three graded stakes that makes up the track's annual Million Preview Day card.
Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, the Irish-bred daughter of Oasis Dream was ridden by Rafael Bejarano and covered the mile and three-sixteenths over firm turf in 1:55.11 after posting soft fractions 25.25 seconds, 51.00 seconds, 1:14.93 and 1:38.22 en route to the final clocking.
"I'm glad I didn't see too much speed in the race," Bejarano said. "She was really comfortable on the lead and set the pace. When I saw the other horse getting close to me at the half-mile, I still had a lot of horse so I just kept running. In the stretch she showed me a big kick and just had to hit her one time and she took off. She deserved to win."
With the victory, her sixth in as many starts this year and her 12th in 27 starts overall, Tuscan Evening earns an automatic berth and will have her entry and starting fees waived for the Grade I Beverly D. which will be run here Aug. 21.
"I would love to come back for the Beverly D.," Hollendorfer said. "That's why we came here today to see if she likes the course and to see if she would ship well. We'd like to come back for that if she comes out of the race well."
Longshot Éclair de Lune, owned by track chairman Richard L. Duchossois, chased the winner throughout and by virtue of her runner-up finish also earns a berth in the Beverly D., named for Duchossois' late wife.
"She ran a great race," said her rider, Junior Alvarado. "I was supposed to wait and take her back but no one was going to run with her, so I had to take a chance and chase her (Tuscan Evening)."
Hot Cha Cha, winner of the Grade III Pucker Up over this course last year, finished third in the six-horse field. Rainbow View, Askbut I Won'ttell and Single Solution completed the order of finish.
The heavy choice in the wagering, Tuscan Evening returned $3.60, $2.60 and $2.10. Éclair de Lune paid $7.60 and $4.20. Hot Cha Cha paid $2.80.