Updated on 09/17/2011 10:44AM

Rock Slide takes Sea o'Erin

David Zenner
Rock Slide ($9.40) wins the Sea o'Erin Breeders' Cup Mile Handicap by a nose on Sunday at Arlington.

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - A day after his younger brother Mineshaft came out on the wrong end of a photo finish, Rock Slide won the Sea o'Erin Breeders' Cup Mile Handicap by a nose on Sunday at Arlington.

A huge Father's Day crowd of 26,101 came to Arlington on one of the first summery days of the season, and they were treated to a rousing finish in the $160,650 Sea o'Erin. Miesque's Approval slipped through traffic at the top of the stretch and charged home up the rail, but Rock Slide had a little too much, edging Miesque's Approval by a nose and stretch-running Package Store by a half-length.

Mineshaft was the big favorite Saturday at Churchill in the $750,000 Stephen Foster, but finished second, outgunned in the stretch by Perfect Drift. So the weekend belonged to Rock Slide, older by a year at age 5.

Robby Albarado's Saturday ended darkly with Mineshaft's loss, but he shook off the defeat and gave Rock Slide a textbook ride Sunday. Captain Nicholas left the gate running and ran an opening quarter mile in 24.30 seconds. Rock Slide ranged up to test Captain Nicholas as the horses turned onto the backstretch, but jockey Frank Lovato let Captain Nicholas out a notch and he dashed back into the clear, going a half-mile in 48.03 seconds, with Rock Slide and Albarado back to a stalking position.

There he stayed into the stretch, as Captain Nicholas lost his lead and Miesque's Approval made his move on the inside. Rock Slide held his position, began running in earnest at about the furlong pole, and was terrifically game to post a narrow win. The leaders came home in 23 seconds and change for the final quarter mile, and the top three all were flying.

"Rock Slide is known for a fight late in the race, and whenever you come up to him, he's determined to win," Albarado said.

Rock Slide, who paid $9.40 to won, ran a mile on firm turf in a strong 1:35.85. Neil Howard, who trains Rock Slide for owners Will Farish, James Elkins, and Temple Webber, said earlier this week that Rock Slide was being pointed for the Firecracker Breeders' Cup at Churchill.