Arnold Still Looking for Keeneland Fall Meet Winner

by Frank Angst

Where were you in 1986? This writer graduated from high school in the spring and entered college later that summer.

Trainer Rusty Arnold was earning his second Keeneland training title, securing a then-record 13 victories. Although he might not have guessed it, the trainer from Paris, Ky. also was beginning a long streak of success at the Lexington track.

According to Keeneland officials, Arnold has saddled at least one winner at Keeneland since the spring of 1986 except for one meet in the late 1980s where he did not start a horse. That would be 54 Keeneland meets where he has saddled at least one horse that Arnold has registered a victory.

But that number has not yet been extended to 55 at this meeting where after his two Sunday, Oct. 20 starters finished off the board, Arnold has saddled 22 starters without a win. He has two seconds and four thirds at the meet.

He will try to secure that first win in the meet’s four remaining race days, Oct. 23-26. Arnold does not have a horse entered on Wednesday, Oct. 23. He has one horse entered on the Thursday, Oct. 24 card: Alex Campbell Jr.’s Professor Midnight in a 1 1/16-mile maiden-claiming race scheduled as race nine on the card.

Of course Arnold has taken this streak to the wire before. In 2011 he registered a victory on the meet’s final day when Catching Reys scored an upset victory.

During the stretch Arnold has nailed down five grade I victories, breaking through with G. Watts Humphrey’s Clear Mandate in the 1997 Three Chimneys Spinster Stakes. He would follow with Ashbrook Farm’s Wicked Style in the 2007 Lane’s End Breeders’ Futurity, Green Lantern Stables’ Karelian in the 2010 Maker’s Mark Mile Stakes, Campbell’s Karlovy Vary in the 2012 Central Bank Ashland Stakes, and Humphrey’s Centre Court in the Jenny Wiley Stakes at this year’s spring meet.

Clear Mandate running in the 1997 Spinster at Keeneland.
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

In the spring Arnold also captured the Hilliard Lyons Doubledogdare Stakes (gr. III) with Ice Cream Silence, his 13th stakes win at Keeneland. His first Keeneland stakes score came in the 1986 fall meet when Leprechauns Wish scored in the Keeneland Breeders’ Cup Stakes.

Arnold’s roots in racing go back two generations to his grandfather, James Russell, who was broodmare foreman at Elmendorf Farm. His father, George R. Arnold Sr., owned 70-acre Fair Acres Farm near Lexington, where he bred horses to race or sell.  

Arnold’s Keeneland stakes wins
Year Stakes grade purse horse
2013 rd Lyons Doubledogdare Hillia III $100,000 Ice Cream Silence
2013 Jenny Wiley I $300,000 Centre Court
2012 Central Bank Ashland I $500,000 Karlovy Vary
2010 Maker’ Mark Mile I $300,000 Karelian
2008 Grey Goose Bewitch III $150,000 Communique
2007 Lane’s End Breeders’ Futurity I $500,000 Wicked Style
2004 Bourbon County L $100,000 Rey de Café
2002 Madison L $100,000 Victory Ride
1999 Dowager L $100,000 Moments of Magic
1999 Spinning World L $65,000 Storm Alert
1998 Doubledogdare L $65,000 Top Secret
1997 Three Chimneys Spinster   $500,000 Clear Mandate
1986 Keeneland Breeders’ Cup L $50,000 Leprechauns Wish

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