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ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, IL – It was none other than the 9-5 morning line favorite, Daddy’s Lil Darling, who broke free to win Saturday’s Grade 3, $100,000 Modesty Handicap at Arlington Park with impressive style. Her win today was the first of 2018 for the four-year-old daughter of Scat Daddy.
The large 12-horse field broke cleanly from the gate and the pair of Go Baby Run and Sully’s Dream took up the early lead. Meanwhile, it was Daddy’s Lil Darling who stalked the pace the entire race as the front-running pair set fractions of :22.71, :47.06 and 1:11.14. As they hit the final turn, Daddy’s Lil Darling showed that she was tired of sitting behind horses when she flew to the front with a not so modest burst of speed. Daddy’s Lil Darling cruised to an easy 2 1/4 length victory with jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. aboard.
“She was the class of the race,” said Hernandez. “The best thing to do with her today was just stay out of her way, let her find her rhythm, and that’s what she did. Kenny had her so prepared today that all I had to do was just kind of be a good passenger, and she’s a Grade I winner, she knows what she’s doing out there – I just let her do her thing.”
In the race for second, it was Prado’s Sweet Ride that got the best of the rest of the field. Sitting near the pack of the pack for most of the race, Prado’s Sweet Ride entered the stretch three-wide and dug in to finish second in front of Hallie Belle. Con Te Partio finished a distant fourth.
“I didn’t give (jockey Brian Hernandez, Jr.) any instructions,” said trainer Kenneth McPeek. “From the 13-hole it’s tricky and we’ve got complete confidence in Brian, whatever he decided. It was great that she showed early speed – she’s had some races where she kind of went too back and had a hard time getting through traffic, but I don’t know if it was the course or Brian’s hands or whatever, even the class of the race, but it’s a big deal to see her laying closer.”
Daddy’s Lil Darling returned $5.80 to win, $3.40 to place, and $2.80 to show. Prado’s Sweet Ride brought back $9.80 to place and $6.40 to show, while Hallie Belle paid $ to show.
Scratch: La Monta Gris
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