Updated on 09/18/2011 1:30AM

Casino Evil holds off Barely Union

David Zenner
Casino Evil and Cisco Torres (inside) win the $100,000 Round Table at Arlington Park on Saturday.

Casino Evil and jockey Cisco Torres clung to the rail, saving ground all the way in the Round Table Stakes at Arlington Park - and they needed every inch of it.

Casino Evil pushed past his pace challenger Barely Union Scale in upper stretch, but Barely Union Scale stayed on, was coming back in deep stretch, and missed by the narrowest of margins. Casino Evil, trained by Mike Tomlinson for Paul Hanifl, paid $9.60 to win, running 1 1/8 miles in a solid 1:50.12, winning the first stakes race of his career.

There was no real speed in the $100,000 Round Table, and Casino Evil, breaking from the rail, made the early lead by default. The opening quarter-mile was slow, 24.94 seconds, and soon, jockey Eddie Perez let Barely Union Scale range up to challenge Casino Evil for the lead, the two loping through an opening half in 48.90. Meanwhile, favored Admiral's Arch was having a more difficult time; though he moved into post 9 with the early scratch of Bright One, Admiral's Arch still was hung four wide around the first turn. He raced in the second flight of horses down the backstretch, but had nothing in the stretch, winding up fifth.

In fact, this was a two-horse race most of the way. Torres waited patiently while holding his inside position around the far turn, and he asked Casino Evil to take the lead at the top of the stretch. Casino Evil did, but could not shake Barely Union Scale through the length of the stretch, and the two hit the wire together. It was 3 1/4 lengths back to the third-place finisher, High Blues, who had edged Casino Evil when they met June 9 at Arlington.