Racing & Wagering

Cosmonaut to Defend Title in Arlington Handicap

Churchill Downs Communications | 07/09/2008 #

Two-time defending champion Cosmonaut, who races in the colors of Flying Zee Stable, has accepted top impost of 118 pounds and will head to post Saturday as the 7-5 morning-line favorite in the 73rd running of the $200,000 Arlington Handicap.

The Grade III race serves as the final local prep for the Grade I Arlington Million, which will be held August 9, and will be run at the Million’s distance of a mile and a quarter over Arlington’s world famous turf course.

The Arlington Handicap is one of three graded stakes races that comprise the track’s Million Preview Day program. In addition to the Arlington Handicap, the 12-race card includes the Grade II $250,000 American Derby and the Grade III $150,000 Modesty Handicap.

Saturday’s card also includes a $100,000 guaranteed Late Pick 4 pool covering races nine through 12 and the guarantee is only valid should all carded turf races included in the Late Pick 4 sequence remain on the turf.

Since becoming only the second back-to-back Arlington Handicap winner last summer, Cosmonaut has been competitive in graded stakes company including a third-place finish, beaten only two lengths for all of it, in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Mile at Monmouth Park last October. In three starts this year, the Carlos Martin-trained son of Lemon Drop Kid has a win in the $150,000 Tampa Bay Stakes in February, a fourth in the Grade I Maker’s Mark Mile at Keeneland in April and a second beaten only a nose in the $75,000 Scottish Monk at Belmont Park last month. Leading rider Rene Douglas gets the mount Saturday.

Fab Oak Stable, Robert Hurley & John Goldthorpe’s Stream Cat is the 5-2 second choice despite not starting since October of last year. The son of Black Minnaloushe finished fourth, beaten only a length, in the Arlington Million before finishing out his season with a third in the Grade II Kentucky Cup Classic at Turfway Park and a second in the Grade III Fayette Stakes at Keeneland. James Graham gets the call from trainer “Rusty” Arnold.

Completing the field for the Arlington Handicap are: Centaur Farm Inc.’s Distorted Reality (Jose Velez Jr.), winner of the $75,000 Academy Award Stakes at Belmont Park in June; W. S. Farish & Team Block’s Corrupt (Shaun Bridgmohan), third in the $100,000 Opening Verse Handicap at Churchill Downs in May; Jerry Crawford, Wachtel Stable & Brous Stable’s Yate’s Black Cat (Miguel Mena), winner of a Churchill Downs turf allowance race last month; and Devil Eleven Stable & John Goldthorpe’s Tiger Woodman (Jesse Campbell), winner of an allowance race over the Keeneland turf in April.