Updated on 09/16/2011 8:27AM

Fires, 'Zydeco' finish with flourish


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Earlie Fires is the all-time leading jockey at Arlington for several reasons, chief among them his ability to finish strongly. Even at 55, Fires has not lost that knack. Passed in midstretch, Fires roused Zydeco Dancer again in the final half-furlong, regained the lead just before the wire, and won the $75,000 by a neck for his 100th Arlington Stakes win.

For 2-year-olds at a mile on turf, the Manila had the East Coast shipper Newsbreak as a heavy favorite, but Newsbreak never got involved in the race, eventually winding up sixth. For Zydeco Affair, winner of the $100,000 El Joven Stakes at Retama Park, the race unfolded much differently. Zydeco Dancer broke sharply under Fires, contesting a moderate pace with Del Diablo and High Octave, racing to his outside. Getting trapped along the rail did not bother Zydeco Dancer, who seized the lead coming off the far turn. Meanwhile, Larry B, last in the early going, launched a wide sustained run around the far turn and headed Zydeco Dancer at the stretch call. But there was Fires, never giving up with his mount, who responded with a game win.

Trained by Tony Richey, Zydeco Dancer paid $23.60 to win and was timed in 1:38.53 over firm turf. Dr Phil was second.