07/11/2008 11:00PM

Stream Cat upsets Cosmonaut in comeback


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Stream Cat returned from an eight-month layoff looking better than ever, unleashing a powerful rally to win the Arlington Handicap by 3 3/4 lengths over heavily favored Cosmonaut.

Making his first start for trainer Rusty Arnold, Stream Cat gave jockey James Graham one of the biggest victories of his career, and marked himself as a possible contender in next month's Arlington Million.

Stream Cat ($7) finished a close fourth in the 2007 Million, made two more starts in the fall, and then went to the sidelines. Trained last year by Patrick Biancone, he was handed over to Arnold about a month and a half ago, and returned a sharp animal.

"Class horses make it look easy," Arnold said.

Cosmonaut was shooting for his third straight win in the Grade 3, $200,000 Arlington Handicap, and was favored at 1-2 to get it. The race's lone proven front-runner, he set moderately slow fractions of 24.34 for the quarter, 49.89 for the half, and 1:15.31 for six furlongs on a course rated soft. But Stream Cat was tucked in along the rail, well within striking range and traveling strongly.

"I just hoped I could find room," said Graham, who did after wheeling into the stretch. Stream Cat went past Cosmonaut in a flash, and ran alone at the finish, stopping the timer in 2:04.83 for 1 1/4 miles. Corrupt finished third, and Tiger Woodman last of four. Yates Black Cat and Distorted Reality were scratched.

Modesty: Communique gives Arnold a double

Arnold, the trainer, is based at Keeneland right now, but he basically owned Chicago on Saturday, capturing his second graded turf stakes of the day with Communique, who won the Grade 3 Modesty by 3 3/4 lengths. The margin of victory matched that of the Arnold-trained Stream Cat, who won the Arlington Handicap earlier on the card.

Communique had only three career wins to her credit coming into the $150,000 Modesty, and had finished fourth of six in a June 8 allowance race at Churchill Downs. But Arnold expressed serene confidence in his filly this week, saying the Churchill loss had merely been a Modesty prep, and sounding like a trainer with a live runner.

Indeed she was. Held up near the back of an 11-horse field by Rene Douglas, Communique launched her bid on the far turn of the 1 3/16-mile grass race, and went clear in late stretch, easily overpowering Kiss With a Twist, who had taken a brief lead.

Douglas had finished second in the Arlington Handicap, but hurt his ankle in the paddock before the seventh race, injured by a first-time starter trained by none other than Arnold. But he was back to give Communique a well-timed ride, leading a parade of outside-drawn top finishers. Behind Communique, who broke from post 8, came Kiss With a Twist, Ciao, and Lemon Chiffon. The latter, a California shipper, was the 2-1 favorite, but lost ground from post 11, and flattened out after making a run on the far turn.

Communique, bred and owned by G. Watts Humphrey, paid $9.80 to win, and was timed in 1:58.89 on soft turf.

American Derby: Tizdejavu cruises at 3-5

It was easy sailing for Tizdejavu and Douglas in the American Derby, with the 3-5 favorite running alone on a clear lead while barely getting out of a gallop. Never challenged in the 1 3/16-mile grass race for 3-year-olds, Tizdejavu won by 2 1/4 lengths over Sr. Henry, the longest shot in a field reduced to six when Blue Exit and Amazing Results were scratched.

Tizdejavu won his third straight graded stakes, and is unbeaten on turf, with wins in the American Turf and the Jefferson Cup at Churchill Downs preceding his easy victory Saturday in the Grade 2, $250,000 American Derby. Trained by Greg Fox for owners Michael Cooper and Pamela Ziebarth, Tizdejavu paid $3.40 to win, and was timed in 1:58.89 on soft turf.

This was the second off-course win for Tizdejavu, who was a 21-1 shot when he won over yielding grass on Kentucky Oaks Day. The grass course at Arlington was quite wet Saturday, but even taking that into account, Tizdejavu cut out glacial fractions of 25.39 seconds, 51.93, and 1:16.83 for six furlongs.

"He got a nice, comfortable lead, and that's something he enjoys," Fox said.

Sr. Henry was 35-1, but ran a creditable race to get second over 12-1 Ablaze With Spirit.