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Arson Squad scores in Alysheba

Arson Squad scored his second straight with new jockey Paco Lopez (Neville Hopwood/Horsephotos.com)

Jay Em Ess Stable's ARSON SQUAD (Brahms) bided his time in Friday's $169,650 Alysheba S. (G3) at Churchill Downs, saving his best run for the stretch of the 1 1/16-mile test, and pulled away to score by 2 1/4 lengths with jockey Paco Lopez guiding him to a second straight win. Trained by Richard Dutrow Jr., the seven-year-old gelding stopped the clock in 1:43 1/5 to return $9.80, $5.40 and $4.20 as the 7-2 second choice while keying the $128 exacta and $1,108 trifecta.

Friesan Fire (A.P. Indy) went up to lead the field through splits of :24 4/5 and :48 4/5 with Enriched (High Brite) keeping in close attendance to his outside. Cool Coal Man (Mineshaft) was racing just in behind those two, and Arson Squad was tracking in fourth on the backstretch. Friesan Fire couldn't sustain his momentum into the stretch, backing up along the rail, and the race suddenly opened up as the rest of the field caught up with the front runners. Arson Squad burst through from between horses to grab command and easily withstood the rallies of Flying Private (Fusaichi Pegasus) and Enriched while adding a fifth graded win to his resume.

"It was an easy race," Lopez stated. "(Trainer Rick Dutrow) said, 'Paco, you know how to ride this horse. You won on this horse at Gulfstream. He won easy.'"

"This jockey must get along great with this horse," Dutrow said. "Arson Squad usually comes from way off of it and with this rider -- I don't know if the horse puts him there or the jock puts him there and I'm going to try to find out -- but he's just run so big these last two times with this rider when he's been close to the pace.

Arson Squad will stay under the Twin Spires for the Stephen Foster (EquiSport Photos)

"I told Sam (Samantha Siegel) that if does run big in here, we'll just keep him here and run him in the June 12 Stephen Foster (G1) because the horse does get along good with this track. And it is very good timing for his next race. We expect him to show up. It looks like he's turning the tables. He's run big twice and this jock really gets along with him."

Flying Private was the 11-1 seventh pick in the field to pay $9.80 and $6.60 for holding 15-1 longshot Enriched by 1 1/2 lengths on the wire. Show gave back $8.20, and it was another half-length back to Prom Shoes (Include), who ended the 7-8-9-5 superfecta that was worth $16,122. Chocolate Candy (Candy Ride [Arg]), Cool Coal Man, Macho Again (Macho Uno), Friesan Fire and Bullsbay (Tiznow) completed the order of finish.

The veteran Arson Squad hasn't lost a step, now showing wins in the 2006 Swaps S. (G2) and San Pedro S., 2007 Strub S. (G2), 2008 Meadowlands Cup S. (G2) and this season's Skip Away S. (G3). The dark bay has also placed in three other black-type tests, including the 2006 Lazaro Barrera Memorial S. (G2) and Affirmed H. (G2), and shows numerous close fourth-placings, including last year's Stephen Foster. Trained by Bruce Headley up through the fall of 2008, Arson Squad now boasts a 27-8-1-4 lifetime mark to go along with $1,108,164 in accumulated earnings.

Bred by E&D Enterprises, the Pennsylvania-bred toured the sales ring twice, bringing $20,000 as a Fasig-Tipton Kentucky November weanling and $100,000 from his current owners as a Fasig-Tipton July yearling. Arson Squad is out of the winning Green Dancer mare Majestic Fire, who is also the dam of the stakes-placed gelding Southern Rebel (Southern Halo). Others of note in this female family include Grade/Group 1 winners Sakhee's Secret (Sakhee), Ermine (Exchange Rate), Royal and Regal (*Vaguely Noble) as well as 1966 Kentucky Oaks heroine Native Street (Native Dancer).


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