The 89-day meeting at Arlington Park ended Sunday, September 29, with trainer Wayne Catalano earning his 11th Arlington crown while owners Midwest Thoroughbreds of Richard & Karen Papiese took down their second consecutive Arlington title. Apprentice jockey Emmanuel Esquivel was leading jockey and he is believed to be the first ‘bug-boy’ to win an Arlington riding title since Wendell Eads in 1940.
Catalano’s 11th title was memorable as his starters earned a single-season Arlington record $2,060,909 including 70 winners topped by stakes scores in the Grade III $175,000 Pucker Up Stakes with Hit the Board Stables’ I’m Already Sexy, who also won a division of the $75,000 Hatoof Stakes; the Grade III $150,000 Arlington-Washington Futurity with Susan Moulton’s Solitary Ranger; and state-bred restricted stakes with Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey’s Bold Kitten in the $87,025 Purple Violet Stakes and with the Ramseys’ Coalport in the $87,850 Black Tie Affair Handicap.
The prolific operation of Richard and Karen Papiese’s Midwest Thoroughbreds adds a second Arlington title to the long list of racetracks where the couple has taken home a title.
The 2012 national champions in races won with 542 victories as well as in money earned with more than $10 million in purse earnings, Midwest Thoroughbred starters visited the winner’s circle on 31 occasions from 113 starts. The operation outpaced 2011 leading owner William Stiritz, who had 16 victories here this year.
Though their horses earned a solid $699,318 in purses here, that was only good enough for second behind the Ramsey juggernaut whose starters banked $1,456,717 topped by a pair of Grade I tallies at the International Festival of Racing capturing the $500,000 Secretariat Stakes with Admiral Kitten and being awarded the victory in Arlington Million XXXI with Real Solution following the disqualification of Essafinaat Limited’s The Apache.
Esquivel battled 2011 jockey champion James Graham for the top spot most of the meet but pulled away in the final two weeks of the season to capture the title by a count of 83-79. Graham did take the top spot in purse money with his mounts earning $2,310,086.
For the third consecutive year, the Arlington Million was televised nationally by WGN-America, which is available in more than 72 million homes.
In addition, Arlington boasted an aggressive promotional calendar in 2013 that included special days saluting Northwestern University, the Chicago Bears, the Chicago White Sox and Chicago Cubs; fireworks on July 4 which were enjoyed by a crowd in excess of 37,000; and events such as a Food Truck Festival, Girls Day Out, Guys Day Out, College Day and Binny’s Taste of the Track helped expose Arlington to a wider audience.
On the track, Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey’s Real Solution was awarded the victory in Arlington Million XXXI after original winner Essafinaat Limited’s The Apache was determined to have caused interference in the stretch and was disqualified. The 4-year-old Kitten’s Joy colt gave both trainer Chad Brown and jockey Alan Garcia their first Million score before a crowd of 34,222.
In the remaining International Festival headliners James Wigan’s Dank, trained by Sir Michael Stoute and ridden by Ryan Moore captured the Grade I $750,000 Beverly D. Stakes; the Ramseys’ Admiral Kitten, trained by Mike Maker and ridden by Rosie Napravnik took the Grade I $500,000 Secretariat Stakes; and Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock’s Irish-bred Dandino won the second running of the $400,000 American St. Leger Stakes for trainer Marco Botti and jockey Ryan Moore.
Other impressive on-track performances included a record third victory in the Grade III Arlington Handicap by Robert Courtney Jr.’s Rahystrada, who also became the race’s oldest winner as a 9-year-old; Lael Stable and All In Stable’s Willcox Inn, who transferred his graded stakes winning form to Polytrack in taking the Grade III $150,000 Washington Park Handicap; WinStar Farm’s General Election’s tally in the Grade III $150,000 Arlington Classic; Team Valor International’s Infinite Magic in the Grade III $200,000 American Derby; Shadwell Stable’s Ausus in the Grade III $200,000 Modesty Handicap; Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey’s Dark Cove in the Grade III $150,000 Stars and Stripes; and Susan Moulton’s Solitary Ranger in the Grade III $150,000 Arlington-Washington Futurity.
With a carryover pool of $759,941 heading into the last day of the meet and triggering a mandatory payoff, more than $700,000 additional was bet into the 10-cent JackPOT Pick 9 wager resulting in a payoff of $75,830.88 to 14 ticket holders who selected all nine winners. There was a consolation payoff of $648.79 to ticket holders with eight of nine.
Arlington International Racecourse – the Chicago area’s premier Thoroughbred racetrack located in Arlington Heights, Ill. – will open its 2014 meet on Friday, May 2. Arlington International Racecourse, whose parent company is Churchill Downs Incorporated (Nasdaq: CHDN), also operates 11 off-track, simulcast-wagering facilities in Arlington Heights, Aurora, Chicago, East Moline, Waukegan, Villa Park, Rockford, South Elgin, McHenry, Orland Hills and Hodgkins. Information on Arlington International Racecourse and Trackside OTB can be found online at www.arlingtonpark.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/arlingtonpark and www.facebook.com/tracksideotb, and on Twitter at @Arlington_Park for the latest happenings, @arlingtonracing for the latest racing news and @tracksideotb for all things pertaining to off-track wagering.
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