ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. — With an unlikely assist from the postmaster in Centralia, Wash., Top Corsage won the $162,500 Arlington Oaks by 9 1/2 lengths over Lady Gallant Thursday before 11,529 fans at Arlington Park.
Dan Agnew, the Centralia lumberman who owns Top Corsage, mailed Arlington the $100 nomination fee for the Oaks Aug. 15, the day before the postmark deadline.
When Arlington's racing office received the nomination, it had two postmarks--Aug. 15 according to Agnew's office mailing machine and Aug. 18 by a post office near the track.
Arlington officials contacted the Centralia postmaster, who assured them that Agnew's postmark was correct.
Top Corsage, a 3-year-old daughter of Topsider-Corsage who cost Agnew $90,000 at a Keeneland yearling auction, paid $10 to win as the third betting choice in the 1 1/8-mile race. Lady Gallant finished second, 1 3/4 lengths ahead of favored Pamela Paul. The order after that was Ms. Eloise, Nymph of the Night, Bold N Special, Mille Et Une, Tricky Fingers, Asir and Barbarina.
Top Corsage broke slightly behind Bold N Special, the winner of Del Mar's Rancho Bernardo Stakes in her last start. Gary Stevens then moved Top Corsage into the lead after a quarter of a mile and she was never threatened. The winning time was 1:49 2/5, more than three seconds slower than Spectacular Bid's track record.
Top Corsage, who won the Pucker Up Stakes at Arlington a week ago, earned $67,500, increasing her career total to $296,000.
Jerry Fanning, who trains Top Corsage, had recommended to Agnew that they run the filly at Arlington rather than try to beat Hidden Light in last Sunday's Del Mar Oaks. Hidden Light won the California race, and Fanning believes that she is the leader in the highly competitive 3-year-old filly division.