Racing & Wagering

More Than Able's Third-Place Finish a ‘Win' for Straight

| Churchill Downs Communications | 09/05/2009 #

Although it wasn't a win for trainer Jan Ely and owners Smile Stable, it was a win for the family of injured jockey Michael Straight. In Saturday's fourth race, More Than Able ran in the mile and sixteenth turf race for claimers with Matthew Straight, the twin brother to Michael, aboard. Michael had been in the irons for the horse's previous four starts including a win on June 7.

"I came up here the other day to be by my brother's side, so I wanted to get back in the saddle and see how I felt," said Matthew Straight.  "I'm riding a horse that Mike has ridden the past four times and recently won on. Hopefully, I can get a winner for him."

Matthew has recently started working horses in the morning at Arlington Park and plans to ride here for the remainder of the meet, which ends Sept. 27

"Once you get out there and get on the horses, you kind of clear your mind of everything," Matthew said this morning at the track's Breakfast at Arlington program. "Obviously, there were a few butterflies at first, and I'm sure there will be today, but it's what I want to do. It's what me and my brother both love to do. We all know what we are signing up for when we start riding."

More Than Able, sent off at odds of 5-1, was trailing the field early in the nine-horse contest. The More Than Ready gelding rallied when asked by Straight at the top of stretch and closed to finish third.

"There wasn't a lot of pace in the race but he came running when I asked him," he said after the race.  "We just couldn't get the job done for Mike."

The connections of More Than Able indicated they would donate a portion of the horse's earnings to a fund established to help the Straight Family defray medical costs for Michael.

The track's jockeys all donated a losing mount fee to the fund and participated in a day-long autograph signing session that earned $5,000 for the fund.