What appeared to be an evenly matched heat on paper turned into a romp when Head of Plains Partners’ and Cheyenne Stables’ Cowboy Culture drew away for a 5¾-length victory in Saturday’s 82nd running of the Grade III $ 100,000 Arlington Classic at Arlington International Racecourse.
Trained by Brad Cox, Cowboy Culture settled in midpack early under Shaun Bridgmohan behind splits of 24.68, 49.97 and 1:15.15 set by Fast and Accurate. Angled out turning for home, he easily handled his fellow 3-year-olds in a final time of 1:46.81 for the 1 1/16-miles trip over yielding ground. It was the second career stakes win, and first graded score, for the son of Quality Road, who captured the Keith Gee Memorial at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots in February but had gone winless in two previous graded stakes tries.
Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey’s Mike Maker trainee Gorgeous Kitten was last on the run up the backstretch but was able to pick his way through traffic in the lane under Chris Emigh to grab second. Another half-length behind was Anderson Thoroughbreds’ Eddie Kenneally-trained Parlor, who made a menacing move in hand on the far turn under Jesus Castanon before flattening out in the final eighth of a mile.
“He was very straightforward to ride, I had an opportunity to work him on Tuesday and he worked very well,” Bridgmohan said. “He was saving ground in the first [turn] and I got him out in the second turn and he just took off.”
“With the first two shipments [for graded stakes], especially the Gulfstream one, he didn’t really handle traveling too well,” said Ricky Giannini, assistant trainer to Brad Cox. “He’s just matured over the last six or seven weeks that he’s had between races and he’s hopefully making that graduation step.”
“I got a good trip,” Emigh said. “The horse was nice and relaxed. I thought I was really loaded. I started to go outside [entering the stretch], and everyone spread out so I went and ducked to the inside, then back to the outside down the lane but [Cowboy Culture] was gone.”
“We came out of the gate and got a little bumped,” Castanon said. “It didn’t really bother me, and I was able to kind of sit right off of [the field]. I don’t know, I thought I was going to be right there at the finish, but he just kind of tired. The surface didn’t really seem an issue; it was good.”
Cowboy Culture won for the fourth time in six lifetime starts and earned $ 59,400 to boost his career bankroll to $ 150,580. He returned $ 7, $ 5 and $ 3 as the post-time favorite, with Gorgeous Kitten paying $ 6 and $ 3.40 and Parlor returning $ 2.80.
Fast and Accurate, Sakonnet and Giant Payday completed the order of finish. Don’t Split Tens, Mas Mischief, Prize Fight and Red Corvette were scratched.
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