Updated on 09/17/2011 10:46PM

Classic win keeps Purim perfect

Benoit Photo
Purim stalks a quick pace before striking to the lead in the stretch en route to a 2 1/2 length victory in the Grade III $150,000 Arlington Classic.

There was a good reason jockey Mark Guidry ventured north from Churchill Downs to Arlington Park on Saturday, and his name is Purim.

Purim had won each of his first two starts by 2 3/4 lengths, and he was only slightly less dominant in the Grade 3, $150,000 , beating the longshot United by 2 1/2 lengths in a sharp performance. The jump from an entry-level allowance to a graded stakes, as well as his first experience shipping, didn't phase Purim, who sat just off the pace, made the lead in the stretch, and finished well for a convincing victory.

Things were less peachy for favored Guillaume Tell, who, along with Cosmic Kris, was wiped out at the start when Southern Africa made a right turn leaving the gate. Guillaume Tell turned rank after the bump, had to be guided wide around the far turn, and never was a factor, finishing last of nine.

United and Earlie Fires carved out somewhat quick fractions, but still had the lead around the far turn, with only Purim seeming to have much run. Guidry eased Purim into contention coming off the turn, and Purim accelerated past United, who ran on well to hold off late-running Cosmic Kris for second. Purim, bet heavily throughout the wagering, paid $8.20 to win and was timed in 1:42.65 for 1 1/16 miles over firm turf.

Trained by Tom Proctor for owner-breeder E. J. Sukley, Purim is a flashy dark bay by Dynaformer who has the classic neck and head of his grandsire, Lord at War. He has done everything easily so far and appears to have a bright future, but Proctor hesitated to commit to any future races, though two - the American Derby and the Secretariat at Arlington - are coming up soon.

"We're going to sit back and enjoy this one right now," said Proctor.