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Silverfoot, Douglas perfect fit in Grade III Stars and Stripes
By John Leusch | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 7/5/2008 12:33 AM

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Since last visiting the winner's circle May 29, 2006, Silverfoot had not been better than fourth in 10 races.

But with a new "man" in the saddle for Friday's $175,000 Grade III Stars and Stripes Handicap, Silverfoot had the fleetest foot in the 77th running of the mile-and-half turf classic at Arlington Park.

The "man," Arlington leading jockey Rene Douglas, charged the 8-year old gray to the lead at the ths pole.

The duo never looked back to win by 2 lengths over 14-1 runner-up Telling and 35-1 longshot Canela.

"It was kind of risky moving from last (after a half-mile) and then take the lead at the ths pole," Douglas said. "But he (5-1 third favorite Silverfoot) was like 'I'm the Man and I can do this.' And I wanted to give him a chance to win."

Longshot Rumor Has It seemed to have a chance at winning at odds of 45-1 when he led by as many as 12 lengths after about one mile.

Jockey Eduardo Perez got the 7-year old to the half in 49.2 and 6 furlongs in 1:14.1.

Meanwhile, Douglas provided Silverfoot with a rail-saving trip after starting from the outside post in a field of nine.

"I had been looking at his past races, trying to see if there was some way this horse likes to run," Douglas said. "Because sometimes when horses get older they don't give you that something little extra to win a race.

"I noticed a race two years back when Mark Guidry rode him. He kept him on the rail all the way around and he ran well."

That approach paid off handsomely Saturday for Douglas, trainer Dallas Stewart and owner Stephanie Clark, who operates the Chrysalis Stables in Kentucky.

Silverfoot's $102,000 payday increased his lifetime earnings to nearly $850,000. The son of With Approval won for the 10th time in 31 starts.

It also was a big payday for bettors who selected the perfecta ($131.40), trifecta ($3,258) or superfecta ($10,125.40).

Cloudy's Knight, the 2-1 second choice and 2007 Stars and Stripes runner-up by a nose, ran fourth.

Leigh Bentley, who trains eight horses at Arlington, oversees the horses that Stewart ships to run locally.

"When I saw the slow fractions (by Rumor Has It), I was a little concerned," said Bentley, a former assistant to Wayne D. Lukas.

"He was like a pony to ride," Douglas said. "He was going easy. But I thought to myself that horse in front of us (Rumor Has It) is going to be dead. It was kind of risky to make that first move (at the ths pole), but I said I wasn't going to wait for someone else to.

"I wasn't going to get beat that way. And this way, no one can blame me if we get beat. He was a champion today."

He was the man.