Updated on 09/18/2011 12:37AM

Suave cruises in record time

Email
Benoit Photo
Suave wins the Washington Park Handicap at Arlington Park on Saturday by five lengths.

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Suave returned to his best form from 2005, denying Perfect Drift a third victory in the at Arlington Park while setting a track record here on a steamy Saturday afternoon.

Suave rated just behind a fast pace set by the longshot Iosilver, took over coming into the stretch, and drew away late to score by five lengths, a performance that was as impressive against the clock as it was visually.

"I'd say it has to be right up there," said trainer Paul McGee, when asked if the Washington Park win was a career-best for Suave, whose victory last summer in the Grade 2 Saratoga Breeders' Cup Handicap probably was a high-water mark.

Perfect Drift was sent off the even-money favorite in the seven-horse Washington Park, a Grade 2 with a $300,000 purse, and he ran well enough in defeat. Perfect Drift was briefly hung up in some traffic just before the quarter pole; jockey Mark Guidry said he was merely beaten by a better horse on the day.

Calvin Borel, riding Suave for the first time, had no such trouble, hustling Suave out of the gate and getting a perfect spot in behind Iosilver.

"Calvin worked this horse a couple weeks ago, and he fell in love with him," said McGee, who trains Suave for the Jay Em Ess Stable.

Iosilver went fast, getting the half-mile in 46.02 seconds, and Suave was on hold until Second of June ranged up at the half-mile pole.

"When that horse came to him - zoom - he really took hold of the bit," Borel said.

And that, basically, was that. Suave, the second choice, paid $9.20 to win, and his time of 1:53.53 for the rarely run 1 3/16-mile distance was about four ticks faster than Perfect Drift clocked in a track-record-setting performance last year. Perfect Drift finished 2 1/4 lengths ahead of Second of June, who was followed by Nolan's Cat, O'Connell's, and Iosilver.

Three Hour Nap was pulled up on the backstretch with an injury to his foreleg. He walked under his own power into a horse ambulance, but apparently suffered a fracture and was sent to Kentucky for surgery.