Feb. 1, 2014

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HOT SPRINGS, AR (Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014) – Ivan Dalos’ Aragorn Ami, making just her second career start, survived a rider’s objection to earn her first career stakes victory in Saturday’s $100,000 Martha Washington Stakes.

With leading rider Norberto Arroyo Jr. in the irons, Aragorn Ami assumed a stalking position in third behind the front-running Euphrosyne through an opening quarter mile in 23 3/5, moved into second before a half mile in 49 and drew off from her rival to win by 1 ½ lengths after gaining the lead at the top of the stretch.  The winner drifted in slightly late, but the stewards found no reason for disqualification. She completed the one mile in 1:41 over a fast track. 

“He (Arroyo) came down a little; enough to stop my filly’s forward momentum,” said Euphrosyne’s jockey Channing Hill. “It was just the greenness of the two fillies.”

“I did what I was told to do and laid right off the pace,” said Arroyo. “I worked this filly three times in the morning so I really got to know her.”

Ireland, the $2.60-to-1 second choice, rallied from ninth to finish third. She was followed by Cow Catcher, Redgrass Cat, Cheerful Contender, $2.50-to-1 favorite Kiss Moon, Xray Vision, Racing Holiday and Street Story.

Aragorn Ami was the second starter and first winner this meet for trainer Josie Carroll, who has a string in Hot Springs for the first time. She returned $28.80, $11.20 and $7 at odds of 13-1.

“For her first time on that track, I thought it was an extremely good performance,” said Carroll, who had to pull over her car to watch the race on her way to Hot Springs from her Canadian base. “It’s a little bit of a tiring track, and I thought for her to win in that company first time on that track really showed her class. This filly from the start has done everything right and I didn’t see any reason not to go in there.”

I’ll talk to Mr. Dalos about the Honeybee (Stakes March 8), but right now he’s just over the moon. He’s so happy because it’s four generations of his breeding which is especially nice. But, I’d say there’s a very good possibility we’d go in the series there.”

Live racing at Oaklawn continues Sunday with a special 1 p.m. first post for Super Bowl Sunday.