| Contact: David Zenner
"SWORD" BLAZES TO WASHINGTON PARK VICTORY
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. --- Stonehedge Farm, Inc.'s Blazing Sword burst through on the rail in deep stretch to capture the Grade 2 Washington Park Handicap by a length Saturday at Arlington International Racecourse. The $250,000 Washington Park is the meet's richest main track race.
The six-year-old gelded son of Sword Dance covered the mile and an eighth in 1:50.59 and earned $150,000 to boost his lifetime bankroll to $1,158,128. His career ledger now shows 11 wins from 42 starts.
Nite Dreamer and Kimberlite Pipe made the pace for the fist mile, taking the field through fractions of 24.22 seconds for a quarter mile, 48.33 seconds for a half-mile, 1:11.95 for three-quarters of a mile and 1:37.64 for the mile.
After breaking alertly, Blazing Sword was taken back off the pace and was hemmed in along the rail, where he generally does not do his best running.
"They pushed me to the inside, so that's where I went," said winning jockey Jose Rivera II, in from Florida for the mount. "I guess when you have the horse, you can (run on the inside)."
"He's a tough horse to ride," said trainer Kathleen O'Connell. "He'll do anything you ask of him, but you have to ask him."
Mula Gula, the 8-5 favorite, was not far off the pace early and finished second in the eight-horse field. Nite Dreamer, the race's 116-pound highweight, ran third after setting the pace for a mile.
"I thought I had enough to hold on late," said Mark Guidry, who rode the runner-up. "We battled with Nite Dreamer, and Blazing Sword just snuck in on the inside."
"I tried to steal off," said Larry Melancon, who was astride Nite Dreamer. "We came off the rail a little bit turning for home. He dug in real good and just got beat."
Bright Valour, Midway Magistrate, Kimberlite Pipe, Deputy Flag and Tucuman completed the order of finish.
Blazing Sword paid $22.80, $7.00 and $4.40. Mula Gula paid $3.60 and $2.80. Nite Dreamer paid $3.80.
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