2011 CLN TURF CUP WINNER RAHYSTRADA WINS ARLINGTON HANDICAP AGAIN

(Coady Photography)

(Coady Photography)

(Churchill Downs/Arlington Park) At nine years of age, Robert Courtney Jr.’s  2011 Colonial Turf Cup winner Rahystrada became not only the oldest horse to win the Arlington Handicap but also the first horse to win the Grade III turf race three times after having previously taken the 2010 and 2012 renewals of the mile and a quarter race.  Rosie Napravnik was aboard the son of Rahy who was clocked in 2:01.66 over firm going.

“We’re as amazed as anybody,” said trainer Byron “Scooter” Hughes. “He keeps telling us he wants to go, so we go.  Great ride by Rosie. She had it all in hand. It was great.”

Never far off the pace, Rahystrada tracked leader Beer Garden who took the field of seven older runners through early splits of 24.56 seconds, 49.47 seconds and 1:13.86 before fading to last.

Rahystrada took the lead approaching the top of the stretch and though he drifted out a bit in the lane, he was able to hold off a late bid by Temeraine to win by a half-length.  “He’s very talented. He’s got as much heart as any of them,” said Napravnik, who won her second graded stakes of the afternoon after previously capturing the Stars and Stripes Stakes aboard Dark Cove.

The veteran performer added $117,600 to his career earnings which now stands at $1,371,750 and more importantly will have his entry and start fees waived for the Grade I Arlington Million on Aug. 17 should his connections decide to return in five weeks.  Rahystrada has made three previous starts in the Arlington Million, finishing fourth in 2010, fifth in 2011 and third last year.

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