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Sir Anthony Shines in Bruce D. Memorial Stakes
Saturday’s International Festival of Racing kicked off with a bang as 35-1 upset Sir Anthony rolled in the 4th running of the $100,000 Bruce D. Memorial Stakes. The Illinois-bred son of Mineshaft got the better of eight 3-year-olds over the main track at Arlington International Racecourse under the confident handling of Florent Geroux.
“I had a great trip, a nice stalking position tucked in on the fence and saving ground,” said Geroux. “Once my horse saw the light he responded really well when I asked him.”
Trained by Tony Mitchell, for whom the horse is named, Sir Anthony broke well and settled a few lengths off the pace as frontrunner Navy Armed Guard set fractions of 23.40, 47.70 and 1:12.58 on the Polytrack. When the front runners began to tire, Geroux spurred his mount into action and the ridgling immediately responded with huge strides to burst to the front of the pack. Super XLIV’s Eric Heitzmann trainee Nobrag Justfact was steady throughout the race under Brian Hernandez, Jr., but moved late to the game and could only get within two lengths of the winner. Thomas Swearingen-trained P R Radio Star finished another ¾-lengths back in third under Jermaine Bridgmohan for Greco Racing Stable et al. at odds of 68-1.
“You know what was so good about it was just to see how much horse he had underneath him and he could go anytime,” said Mitchell. “When the gap opened up and he found the gear to go through but then he kept running. That’s what I’ve tried to get from him in his other races. And what’s ironic is his best races are stakes races, so maybe I’ll have to look for another stakes race. He just looked so powerful and ‘Frenchy’ did a helluva job. We knew this was a talented horse, he just hadn’t shown it in every race; today, he showed it.”
Owned and bred by Dick Otto, Sir Anthony covered the one-mile distance in 1:37.62. With the victor’s share of $57,600 the newly-minted stakes winner increased his career earnings to $109,760.
“It’s terrific to see not only a horse that you bred win, but to do it at Arlington, standing here with the Duchossois family,” said Otto. “We were good friends with Bruce and this is a special race. Of course, we had a wonderful rider, Florent Geoux, one of the best in the country, and that helped us out a lot.”
Winning for just the second time in his 11th career start, Sir Anthony rewarded his backers most handsomely with payouts of $72.20, $23 and $11.80. Nobrag Justfact paid $7.20 and $4.60, while P R Radio Star returned $19.20.
Navy Armed Guard, The Tabulator, Nottoway, Strollin the Bayou, Wile E Peyote and Chief Oakie Dokie completed the running order.