Seven-year-old Ghost Hunter scored the 18th victory of his 46-race career in Saturday’s Grade 3 Arlington Handicap at Arlington Park, getting a ground-saving ride from Edwin Gonzalez and edging long shot Oak Brook at the wire. Kasaqui, the Argentine-bred who won the 2016 Arlington Handicap and finished a close second in the G1 Arlington Million, finished third, with second wagering chord Manitoulin fourth in the field of eight older runners.
Time for the 1 3/16 miles on firm turf was 1:55.86. Ghost Hunter is a gelding by Ghostzapper out of Hartfelt, by Kafwain. He was bred in Kentucky by Adena Springs.
Owned by Triple K Stables and trained by Jamie Ness, Ghost Hunter – a 12-1 outsider – saved ground throughout, sitting just behind Crewman, the long shot pacesetter who carved out fractions of :23.71, :48.61 1:14.43 and 1:38.86 for the opening mile.
Oak Brook, close up early, engaged the front runner to the outside turning into the stretch, with Gonzalez finding a narrow opening along the inside for Ghost Hunter. Kasaqui trailed early and came flying in the stretch but was too late.
Winner of the Presque Isle Mile Stakes in the middle of a six-race winning streak in 2016, Ghost Hunter was winning his first graded stakes in the Arlington Handicap. He carried 118 pounds, six pounds fewer than Kasaqui, the 124-pound high weight.
The Arlington Handicap was one of four graded stakes on the Arlington Park program, serving as preps for Arlington Million day on Aug. 12.
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