The Arlington track has a firm base. Trainers believe it is safe, because it is uniformly firm instead of being dotted with soft spots. Nevertheless, Hanford warned, "This track is so fast you can hear the horses rattle."
They rattled, all right, when the gate latch was sprung at 5:54 p.m. on a glorious, cloudless day. Impressive, under Jockey Kenny Knapp, followed orders faithfully, darting from his outside post position into an immediate lead. First Pretense tried to stay with him, and then He Jr. took up the chase. Kauai King was having his troubles and stumbling, but already everyone's attention was focused on Buckpasser, who was trailing Impressive by 10 lengths on the backstretch. On the front end, his stable-mate was flying. Impressive ticked off the first quarter in 22[1/5] and the half in 43[3/5] (beating the official four-furlong world record of 45). "He's going to steal it," people began to murmur, as Impressive rolled on at a pace never seen before. The electric lights of the Visumatic timer on the tote board blinked again: six furlongs in 1:06[4/5]. The world record, set by Crazy Kid at Del Mar in 1962 and equaled three years later at Golden Gate Fields by Admirably, is 1:07[4/5]. But now the big horse—which is the way horsemen refer to the star performer of any stable—was getting into the act.
"I hit Buckpasser once going into the far turn," said Baeza, "and he started to roll. I hit him again at the quarter pole and once more at the 16th pole, just as we took the lead." Buckpasser was a magnificent sight in his memorable run down the stretch. On his own he had run three quarters in a shade over 1:08, and now he and Baeza paid Impressive back for his early work by pounding out the last quarter in 24 seconds flat. Creme dela Creme, highly regarded after his victory in the Jersey Derby, was second, beaten only a length and three-quarters. Surprisingly, He Jr. hung on for third, another three-quarters back, just necking out Impressive, who had a length and a half on Kauai King. Behind them came Eladio, Crown Land and Pretense.
As the time of 1:32[3/5] shone on the tote board it brought a roar of excited comment from the crowd. Chicagoans had not been that impressed when Buckpasser visited their town last September and won the Arlington-Washington Futurity. But they will never forget him now. Their old hero had been Graustark, undefeated at Arlington in three starts. The greatest compliment a Chicagoan could give Buckpasser was heard during the rush for the parking lots: "Even Graustark would never have beaten this colt today."