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Andrew Bentley Stables LLC

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Hardest Core, Arlington Million S, Arlington Park, August 16th 2014

Trained by Edward Graham, Sire: Hard Spun. Dam: Lillybuster

Horseracing provided a thrill Andrew Bentley, who has Down Syndrome, could never have imagined. His dad, Gregory, purchased Hardest Core for $210,000 for his son’s 30th birthday at the November 2013 Keeneland Mixed Sale, hoping the three-year-old gelding, who had finished second in a $100,000 grass stakes at Saratoga, might prosper in steeplechase racing, where Gregory has had his most success as an owner in Unionville, Pa.

They’ll have to wait to find out. Hardest Core isn’t going to be converted to a jumper any time soon. The 2014 Arlington Million was a “Win and You’re In,” Breeders’ Cup stakes, meaning Hardest Core automatically gets into the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Santa Anita. Andrew said he’ll be able to handle that: “I only get excited,” he said. “Never nervous.”

His dad said, “I’m just proud of Andrew’s continued interest in racing. Andrew is our biggest racing fan. When he looks through the condition book, he can spot a race; and when he looks through the program, he can spot a winner in many cases. It’s just another example of believing in people and what they can accomplish, given the chance.”

Hardest Core won the Arlington Million by a length. And there in the winner’s circle afterwards, was Andrew Bentley receiving the winning trophy from former Chicago Bears Head Coach Mike Ditka. The smile on Andrew’s face told you all you needed to know about that moment.