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Much Obliged, Meal Penalty, Coragil Cat prevail
Special to the Daily Herald
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Published: 5/25/2008 12:01 AM

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A favorite and two longshots combined to take the three stakes races that comprised Saturday's card at Arlington Park.

Kicking things off was Much Obliged ($7.20, $3.80 and $2.80), who rallied down the center of the turf course to get up in the waning stages of the $200,000 American 1000 Guineas.

"When she turned for home she accelerated and I was just following Rene Douglas (aboard Scolara)," said jockey Chris Emigh, who rode the 3-year-old filly for the first time. "I was pretty positive and she just ran right by them pretty easily, actually."

Scolara, the second choice in the wagering, rallied from far back and took a brief lead in midstretch before being caught late. Seemingly closed from last to finish third in the 10-horse field.

Thirty minutes later, Meal Penalty dashed to the front from the start and never looked back to take the $150,000 Arlington Classic on the turf.

"He was very sharp coming off the three-quarters of a mile race," said winning jockey Jose Velez Jr. "They came to me at the top of the stretch, and when I asked him to go, he responded pretty good."

Picking up his fifth win in nine starts overall, Meal Penalty paid $16.60, $10.20 and $8.40. Prime Realestate finished a neck ahead of 55-1 outsider Mr. Mischief for second.

Finally, Coragil Cat burst through in midstretch and drew off to win the Grade III, $100,000 Hanshin Stakes by 3 lengths.

"I had a lot of confidence the last time I rode him and more confidence today," jockey Diego Sanchez said of the Greg Geier trainee.

Coragil Cat returned $24.20, $10.40 and $5.60. Morada Key ($28.60 to place) and Steve's Double rounded out the top three.