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Art Official Qualifies

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Published: May 27, 2009 4:31 pm ET

Last Comment: May 27, 2009 7:59 pm ET | 1 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Meadowlands Pace winner Art Official, who saw his 2008 season cut short by a torn muscle, returned to action Wednesday in a qualifier at Balmoral Park in Chicago. The four-year-old, trained by Joe Seekman and driven by Travis Seekman, won by a length in 1:55.4.

Art Official's first stakes race is schedule to be the William R. Haughton Memorial at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Eliminations are July 4 and the final is July 11.

“I haven’t talked to Travis yet, but my wife (Tina) called and said he went real good,” said Joe Seekman, who conditions the horse for Sawgrass Farms. “We’ll qualify him two or three more times on our way to the July 4 weekend. He came through the winter good. He gained some weight and just looks great.”

Art Official won 13 of 20 starts and earned $1.5 million last season. He won eight of his last nine races, with his only setback being a third-place finish in the Little Brown Jug. In addition to the $1.1 million Meadowlands Pace, where he handed Horse of the Year Somebeachsomewhere his only career defeat in a then-world-record 1:47 mile, Art Official’s victories included the $500,000 Hoosier Cup, the $392,850 Cane Pace, and divisions of the Tattersalls and Bluegrass stakes.

His final start was October 4 in the Tattersalls at Lexington’s Red Mile. He won in 1:48.3.

“He had stall rest because of his injury and then we slow-jogged him all winter,” Seekman said. “We looked at coming back in May, but when we took a good hard look at the stakes schedule, we thought there was no real reason to come back until July. (The injury) is always in the back of your mind, but, knock on wood, he’s been real good.”

(Harness Racing Communications)

May 27, 2009 - 7:59 pmGood luck folks and drive on

Good luck folks and drive on Art Official, we'll be cheering :)


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