On July 10, 1955, Nashua arrived at Arlington Park in advance of the Arlington Classic (1 mi.) on July 16. Three days later (July 13), he would head to the track for a routine six furlong workout that would ultimately be anything but routine.
While Nashua’s six furlong time was recorded in 1:09 ⅘ (only one second off the track record of 1:08 ⅘ set by Hill Gail on June 22, 1953), his five furlong time was clocked in :56 ⅗ – a time which would take ⅖ of a second off the official world record time of :57, set by Encantadora at Centennial Race Track in Denver, CO on August 9, 1951.
“Said Arcaro after he dismounted: ‘If I’d known he was going that fast I would have tried to slow him down. He fooled me, completely, for I didn’t even have to cluck at him.
My orders, however, came from Mr. Fitzsimmons, his trainer, and he told me to let him roll, that he wasn’t sending me 1,500 miles just to breeze the horse.’
Arcaro, who has ridden Nashua in 13 of his 16 starts, declared the colt is better than he was in the Kentucky Derby. ‘We had no excuses when Swaps beat us that day, but Nashua now is a great horse.’ “ (Maurice Shevlin / Chicago Daily Tribune, 07/14/1955)
When Arlington Classic day arrived, the race wouldn’t come as easy for the Nasrullah (GB) colt as his workout three days prior. After trailing by two lengths going into the stretch, Nashua would defeat the high-class Alibhai (GB) colt Traffic Judge by only a half-length for the win. His winning time of 1:35 ⅕ was almost a second off the track record of 1:34 ⅖, set by Equipoise in 1932.
After the race jockey Eddie Arcaro said, “This was not Nashua’s best effort, to say the least. He was not himself. He was all out and doing his best at the end.” (Chicago Daily Tribune, 07/17/1955)