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Wigmore Hall takes second in Secretariat.

Byline: Dan Farley

ASIDE from Debussy, John Smith's Cup winner Wigmore Hall fared best of the rest from a handful of European runners in the States on Saturday when he finished second to top US turf performer Paddy O'Prado (Dale Romans/Kent Desormeaux) in the Secretariat Stakes.

Sent off the 3-1 second favourite for the Grade 1 event at Arlington, the Michael Bell-trained threeyear-old produced a gallant run in the straight in a paceless race that went to the 1-2 favourite.

Cherokee Lord, a 50-1 shot, set a crawling pace around the first turn and down the backstretch, with the winner third behind Workin For Hops.

The real running began once the field reached the top of the straight. Workin For Hops and Paddy O'Prado came outside the pacesetter, and it was clear the favourite was going best.

Romans said: "I never thought I'd see a horse as good as Kitten's Joy again, but I'm starting to think this one might be."

Ridden by Jamie Spencer, Wigmore Hall split horses soon after straightening and ran on well to finish nearly a length in front of Workin For Hops, who had just a neck on Cherokee Lord at the wire.

Spencer told the Daily Racing Form: "There are no excuses, the best horse won. I had plenty of time to get him in the straight. He needs a stronger pace."

Elsewhere on the Arlington Million card, the Gerard Butlertrained Pachattack was never a factor after missing the break in the Beverly D Stakes, in which she finished sixth under Kieren Fallon.

The Duchossois family, headed by patriarch Richard, usually present the trophy for this $750,000 contest, named in memory of the track chairman's late wife.

This time, however, the trophy stayed in the family as Duchossois's 6-1 chance Eclair De Lune (Ron McAnally/ Junior Alvarado) pulled clear in the final yards to claim her first Grade 1 victory.

"I would rather win this race than the Kentucky Derby," said Duchossois, 88, in the winner's circle. "It means more to me."

A pair of European raiders cut little ice in the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks won by Kentucky Oaks runner-up Evening Jewel (Jim Cassidy/Victor Espinoza), who charged down the rail to complete a graded stakes hat-trick.

The Ger Lyons-trained Berg Bahn was never a factor before finishing sixth of nine and the Bryan Smart-trained Distinctive faded to the rear. Both fillies will stay in California.

On the other side of the country at Saratoga, Kentucky Oaks winner Blind Luck (Jerry Hollendorfer/ Joel Rosario) stamped herself as unquestionably the top threeold-year filly in the nation with a decisive victory in the Alabama Stakes.

Billed as a clash between 9-5 second choice Blind Luck and leading east coast filly Devil May Care, the $500,000 contest never produced the expected showdown as the odds-on favourite faded in the stretch to finish a tepid fourth.

Blind Luck, on the other hand, rallied from fourth place to nail her fifth Grade 1 success in determined fashion by a neck over Havre De Grace.



Jamie Spencer: "no excuses for defeat"
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Aug 23, 2010
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