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Arklow Finally Returns a Winner in Joe Hirsch

Arklow Finally Returns a Winner in Joe Hirsch

ELMONT, NY – After coming up just short in his past four starts this year, trainer Brad Cox’s Arklow finally returned home a winner after gamely defeating Channel Maker and Sadler’s Joy in Saturday’s $500,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park.

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Breaking from post 5 under Junior Alvarado at 4/1 odds, Arklow raced three-wide into the clubhouse turn behind Channel Maker, who zoomed out of post 7 and crossed over to secure command. Under a hold, Channel Maker patiently posted fractions of :25.14, :50.85, 1:16.13, and 1:40.31 through the opening mile.

Ranging up to run three-wide in the far turn along the outside of Channel Maker and Sadler’s Joy, Arklow straightened for home fighting hard. Digging in under a drive, Arklow surged forward in the final jumps to win by a 1/2-length in a final time of 2:27.34 for the 1 1/2-mile event over the firm outer turf course.

“Every race, I try to do my homework, and sometimes, you just have to go with how the race is developing,” Alvarado said. “One thing I was sure of was that I didn’t want to get in his way. I wanted to save ground, since it’s a mile and 1/2 race. Coming by the wire at the first turn, I knew we were going a little slow. I didn’t want to go in behind those horses and then never be able to catch the front-runner, so I just lost a little ground into the first turn but I never got in his way. I let him find his rhythm and he was there for me the whole way around.”

Despite losing the lead in the shadow of the wire, Channel Maker headed the 5/2 favorite Sadler’s Joy for second. Channel Cat necked out Cross Border for fourth, while behind them came Zulu Alpha and Ya Primo to complete the order of finish.

Arklow’s win was his first since winning last year’s Kentucky Turf Cup Stakes (G3) at Kentucky Downs and improved his record to 23-6-6-2. The 5-year-old son of Arch has now bankrolled $1,776,382 for co-owners Donegal Racing, Joseph Bulger, and Peter Coneway.

“It’s been a long journey to get there, but he finally got it done,” said assistant trainer Dustin Dugas. “He’s had enough seconds in a row. He’s a cool horse. He’s a hard knocker for all of us. It’s fun. The guys in Kentucky did a great job with him. They had him on point and ready to run today.”

Arklow returned $10 to win, $4.30 to place, and $3 to show. Channel Maker brought back $4.40 to place and $2.90 to show, while Sadler’s Joy paid $2.50 to show.

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