Updated on 09/17/2011 10:10PM

Fifteen Rounds by a neck

Benoit Photo
Fifteen Rounds (inside) emerges victorious after engaging Elusive Jazz in a stretch-long duel to win the $150,000 Arlington Breeders' Cup Sprint by a neck in stakes-record time of 1:08.51 under jockey Chris Emigh.

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Fifteen Rounds had post 1 on Saturday in the Arlington Sprint Handicap, and nobody in his camp, Fifteen Rounds included, was happy about it.

"I didn't like it, he didn't like it," said jockey Chris Emigh.

But Fifteen Rounds is so good right now, so strong, that he won anyway, edging out the longest shot in the field, Elusive Jazz, by a neck while running six furlongs in a stakes-record 1:08.51.

The race lost its favorite Saturday morning when Wildcat Heir came up lame, apparently suffering from a bruised foot. His trainer, Ben Perkins, said the injury didn't seem severe.

While the favorite's defection made things easier on the six left in the Arlington Sprint, it would have been interesting to see how Fifteen Rounds stacked up against a Grade 1 winner, as powerful as his races have been here this summer. Trained by Christine Janks for Carson Springs Farm and Ken Meeker, Fifteen Rounds, a brilliantly fast 3-year-old two years ago, ran for a $50,000 claiming tag May 19 before hitting peak form the last two months.

"He used to go as fast as he could and then stop," said Emigh, who has worked in tandem with Team Janks to bring Fifteen Rounds to his best. "He's learned to relax."

Fifteen Rounds ($4.80) broke sharply in the Arlington Sprint, and though Emigh harbored hopes of steering to the outside, he never had a chance. Rodeo's Castle sprinted to the early lead, getting his opening quarter-mile in 22.29 seconds, with Fifteen Rounds battling head and head through a half-mile in 44.89. Fifteen Rounds shrugged off Rodeo's Castle, but Elusive Jazz quickly pounced.

"He put a head or neck in front of me, but Fifteen wouldn't give up," Emigh said.

Elusive Jazz had two lengths on Level Playingfield, who was followed by High Blitz, Rodeo's Castle, and Fire Slam.

Hatoof: Dearest Queen rallies

Earlier Saturday, Unbridled Danz's winning streak ended at three, as she finished third at odds of 3-5 behind Dearest Queen and Special Grayce in the $42,375 Hatoof Stakes. Dearest Queen, a 10-1 shot, rallied from last under Shaun Bridgmohan to win by four lengths.