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Arlington Park: Jakkalberry runs down Ioya Bigtime in American St. Leger Stakes
By Marcus Hersh
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. – At one mile and 5 1/2 furlongs, the American St. Leger Stakes is a longer race than North American bettors are used to seeing. But they figured it out. Jakkalberry, the class of the field and the 8-5 favorite, ran down pacesetting Ioya Bigtime to capture the inaugural edition of the $400,000 turf race.
Racing midpack under Colm O’Donoghue, Jakkalberry stayed in fifth place as Ioya Bigtime set splits of 50.82 seconds for the first quarter-mile, 1:15.43 for six furlongs, and 1:41.30 for a mile. O’Donoghue moved up at the start of the last of three turns, reaching contention before the quarter pole, drawing abreast Ioya Bigtime at the three-sixteenths, and pushing past to score by 2 1/4 lengths.
Asked if she had any anxious moments during the race, Lucie Botti, assistant trainer and wife of trainer Marco Botti, replied in the negative.
“Things don’t always work out the way you planned, but that was the way we had planned it,” Botti said.
Jakkalberry’s third-place finish this spring in the $5 million Dubai Sheema Classic stamped him as a cut above the competition in the American St. Leger, and despite acting up in the paddock (“He always kicks,” Botti said), Jakkalberry went out and delivered. He paid $5.20 to win and was timed in 2:49.01 on good going, a time that means little, considering the lack of other Arlington races at the distance.
Ioya Bigtime, winner of the Stars and Stripes, clearly has found a niche in longer turf races, and he stayed on gamely to easily get second, more than six lengths in front of third-place Zuider Zee.
“He ran a great race,” jockey Jeffrey Sanchez said. “He gave me everything.”
There are big plans for Jakkalberry, who has Australian ownership. Botti said he goes into quarantine Sept. 21 in England in advance of a trip to Australia, where he will run in the Caulfield Cup and, if things go well, the Melbourne Cup.
Hatoof Stakes: Julia’s Star wins first division
Julia’s Star might not have been at her best over a wet Colonial Downs course when she finished fourth last month in the Virginia Oaks, but she handled a drier Arlington course just fine Saturday, winning the first division of the $66,800 Hatoof Stakes by a half-length over 7-5 favorite Nayarra.
Ridden by Julien Leparoux for trainer Joan Scott, who won two races on the Million Card, Julia’s Star rallied three wide after a stalking trip, finishing well enough to hold clear Nayarra, who came with her run while even wider on the course. Zapper Bell, who rallied up the rail, finished third, while pacesetting La Tia could only stay on for fourth.
The winner ran 1 1/16 miles over good turf in 1:44.01 and paid $21.60 to win.
Hatoof: Leading Astray noses out Freedom Reigns
Leading Astray got a perfect trip under Eddie Perez and held off hard-charging Freedom Reigns to win the second division of the $66,800 Hatoof.
Moving from a pair of Illinois-bred allowance races to an open overnight stakes, Leading Astray nailed down an ideal position at the rear of the lead pack as Soonerette and Lady Candidate slugged it out intemperately on the lead. Perez asked his mount to launch his bid at the quarter pole and Leading Astray seized command, finishing just well enough to hold Freedom Reigns by a nose. Drama Drama finished decently for third.
The winner, a Team Block homebred trained by Chris Block, paid $6.80 to win and was timed in 1:42.90 for 1 1/16 miles on good turf.
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