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Aug 15, 2008

French horse captures Arlington Million XXVI


Arlington Heights, IL (Sports Network) - European invader Spirit One went wire-to-wire to win Saturday's 26th running of the Arlington Million at Arlington Park. The victory in the 1 1/4 mile grass race, part of the "Win and You're In" Breeders' Cup program, gives Spirit One automatic entry into the $3 million Breeders' Cup Turf.

Ridden by Ioritz Mendizabal, Spirit One took the lead in the race shortly after the start to take the seven-horse field around the first turn and into the backstretch. Running in second was Mount Nelson followed by 6-5 favorite Archipenko with Stream Cat in fourth.

The first four runners kept their positions into the far turn on the firm turf course. On the turn for the home Einstein, the top American horse, began to rally after breaking poorly from the gate.

At the top of the stretch Spirit One remained the leader as Archipenko was rallying on the inside and Mount Nelson was trying gain on the outside. Archipenko and jockey Kevin Shea got past Mount Nelson, but couldn't overtake the leader. Einstein failed to advance down the stretch.

Spirit One hit the wire three-quarters of a length ahead of Archipenko with Mount Nelson finishing third. Completing the order of finish was Silverfoot, Einstein, Stream Cat and Cloudy's Knight.

Sudan was withdrawn early Friday with a tendon injury.

The time for the Arlington Million was 2:02.17

Spirit One is a four-year-old colt owned by Kamel Chehboub and trained by Philippe Demercastel. Saturday's win was worth $594,000 to bring Spirit One's career earnings to a little more than $1.1 million.

"We didn't make this trip for nothing," said the trainer, speaking through translator Francois Dupuis on Thursday. "The horse looks very happy, so we're very happy."

A winner of five of 18 lifetime starts, Spirit One most recently finished second in Longchamp's La Coupe Stakes on June 14. He captured the Prix Exbury at Saint-Cloud in France on March 15.

Sent off as a 13-1 longshot, Spirit One returned $29.40, $10.20 and $6.00. Archipenko paid $3.40 and $2.60, and Mount Nelson paid $4.00 to show.

Gaining a spot into the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf was Mauralakana. She rallied down the stretch to take the $750,000 Beverly D. Stakes on the grass. Ridden by Kent Desormeaux, Mauralakana covered the 1 3/16 miles in 1:55.18. Sent off as the 2-1 second choice in the nine-horse field, Mauralakana paid $6.80 to win.

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