Springfield Stakes Day at Arlington

Today is the first day of state-bred stakes action at Arlington Park.  The showcase 8th race today is the Springfield Stakes, for Illinois-bred three-year-olds at a one-turn mile over the synthetic track.  There’s a full card of eleven races, though, so let’s dive in!

Race 1: Starter optional claiming  ($19,500 purse), three-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, started for a claiming price of $10,000 since May 31, 2012 OR claiming price $20,000, six furlongs on the synthetic

Selections:  Masquerade Fashion (3), Mr. Mabee’s Baby (5), Remembermealways (1)

Much of this field likes to be on or near the pace, which suggests that a closer may have something to close into as the field turns for home.  The only horse in the field who likes to come from very far off is Masquerade Fashion.  Masquerade Fashion is cutting back from a mile last out, and is 21-3-2-4 at this distance.  She has some aptitude, and the pace should be good for her.  Mr. Mabee’s Baby will probably be close to the pace, but tends to rate from a length or so off; she doesn’t have to get the early lead.  She loves this distance (4-3-0-0 career), and hit the board last out on her first attempt on synthetic.  Remembermealways (1) has the rail, which has been good for speed horses like her, and has speed figures good for the field.  She also has two career wins over an all-weather track.

Race 2: $16,000 claiming, three-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, N2L, five and a half furlongs on the synthetic

Selections:  Fast Alice (7), Misty Castle (1), She’s Lit Up (4)

This entire field is desperate for the speed except for Fast Alice (7).  She is the only one who has shown any ability to win from anywhere off the pace, which should give her an advantage her.  She is also on a class drop, coming in here from the $25,000 level.  Misty Castle is also in here on a class drop; she raced in state-bred allowance company her last two times out after breaking her maiden in special weight company at Hawthorne.  She was overmatched there, but cuts in class and distance here.  She also showed in her maiden win that she can survive an early speed duel.  She’s Lit Up comes in here second off the lay with speeds consistently good for the field, and has never missed the board on synthetic surfaces (or ever).  She is also trained by red-hot Larry Rivelli.

Race 3: Maiden special weight ($36,000 purse), three-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, six and a half furlongs on the synthetic

Selections:  Adellusion (1), Pirate’s Trove (5), Gumdrop (6)

Adellusion comes in here second off the lay, and has finished three times on synthetic surfaces.  Michael Stidham trains and James Graham rides; these have been very strong connections, and Stidham wins maiden specials at a 20% rate.  Pirate’s Trove is a first-time starter, but has good sprint blood as a daughter of Speightstown.  She is another Stidham trainee, and has current jockey leader Florent Geroux aboard.  Gumdrop (6) drops in class here from a $75,000 maiden special at Aqueduct last out, and faced some tough company last summer at Arlington.  She cuts back to the shortest distance of her career, and has been doing some long works this month.  Trainer Richard Scherer also hits at a 29% rate when moving horses from turf to all-weather.

Race 4: $25,000 claiming, three-year-olds and up, N3L OR three years old, six furlongs on the synthetic

Selections:  Devils Tower (7), Son of Pearl (6), Simon Eyes (4)

Devils Tower is second off the lay, and returning to his best surface.  He had some disappointing runs on the Hawthorne dirt over the winter, but ran well last summer on the Arlington poly compared to what this field has been able to put up.  There should be more than enough pace for him to close into here.  Son of Pearl (6) is one of the many speed horses in this race, but the best among them.  He likes the synthetic, being 8-4-0-2 over the Arlington poly in his career.  His speeds are solid, and if he doesn’t get the early lead to himself, he can stalk from close off.  Finally, his last few works over the Arlington poly have been strong.  Simon Eyes is another horse who can stalk off this hot pace, and pounce turning for hime.  He won last out in a $40,000 at Keeneland, and should face easier here.  He is 7-2-2-0 career on the synthetic, third off the lay, and running for the sharp connections of trainer Wesley Ward and jockey Florent Geroux.

Race 5: $25,000-$20,000 maiden claiming, three-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, 1 1/8 miles on the turf

Selections:  Fifth and Market (3), So Good to Go (5), Backseat Romance (2)

Fifth and Market is a strong choice here, and a good candidate as a single in a multi-race wager covering this race.  She drops in from special weight company, and her speeds are trending up without such a sharp increase as to suggest a bounce.  She is working very strongly at Arlington, and her breeding suggests she should be able to handle the mile and an eighth.  So Good to Go is in here on her first drop from special weight to claiming company, and stretching to a route for the first time.  Being out of a son of Easy Goer, she has a good chance to handle the distance.  Backseat Romance has actually raced at 1 1/8 miles and finished second, and has hit the board in two of her six starts on turf.  She may have a bit of second-itis, and is coming in here off a lay, but she is a good option for lower rungs of exotics.

Race 6: Allowance ($38,500 purse), three-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, Illinois-bred, non-winners of $8,800 once other than maiden, claiming, or starter OR N2L, six furlongs on the synthetic

Selections:  Sunny Suprise (6), Three Cat Rules (1), Oh Suzanna (2)

Sunny Suprise comes in here second off the lay, and should have plenty to close into given that the field consists of four one-dimensional speed horses.  She does hit the board a lot on the synthetic, being 9-1-2-3 over the Arlington poly to date.  If she is ever going to graduate from N2L company, today is the day.  If one of the speedsters carries the day, it will likely be either Three Cat Rules or Oh Suzanna.  Three Cat Rules has the rail, which has been great lately, and the Steve Manley trainee has put up some nice speeds given the company.  However, if she bounces, Oh Suzanna could be right there.  In three starts on synthetic Oh Suzanna has a first and a second, and she comes in here second off the winter lay.  Finally, she has Florent Geroux aboard.

Race 7: $25,000-$20,000 maiden claiming, three-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, 1 mile on the turf

Selections:  Kana (5), Betty Grables Legs (4), Calico Queen (1)

Kana comes in here off a nose loss at this level on the turf, and cuts from 1 1/16 miles in that outing to just a mile here.  Her performance was so much better there than on any of her dirt starts that this suggests that the green stuff will be her surface.  Betty Grables Legs takes the bliners off here, a tactic that trainer James DiVito has seen success with in the past.  This is her second race off a two-month lay, and if she runs back to the speed she was showing in maiden special company over the winter, she will threaten.  She is also working well over the Arlington oval.  Finally, Calico Queen comes in here on the drop from special weight company.  She broke poorly and never caught up last out, but if she can break well and try to get to the lead, she could bring back a nice price.  She is a bad bet if she gets bet down too much, but if she looks good in the paddock and is anywhere near her 10/1 morning line, she is a nice price play.

Race 8: Springfield Stakes, three-year-olds, Illinois-bred, 1 mile on the synthetic

Selections:  Rambling Richie (3), Prado U (6), Easy Solution (8)

For detailed discussion of this race, read this weekend’s edition of Chicago Railbird.

Race 9: Allowance ($36,500 purse), three-year-olds and up, non-winners of $8,800 once other than maiden, claiming, starter, or state-bred allowance OR N2L, 1 1/16 miles on the turf

Selections:  Primo (10), He’s Dann Good (5), Fighter Squadron (3)

Primo looks to be the speed of the early speed, and in a race without a ton of speed, that could be gold.  He won a confidence builder at the $20,000 level at Tampa last out, so he is moving up in class here, but his speeds fit right in with the field.  Trainer Rick Slomkowski has been hitting at a 26% clip in allowances and a 22% rate over the turf, and this horse is 5-2-2-0 lifetime over the Arlington green.  He’s Dann Good is coming in here first off the winter lay, but has been putting in five- and six-furlong works over the Arlington oval through the month.  He is 5-3-2-0 at 1 1/16 miles on the turf, and if he takes a stalking trip, he could threaten.  Fighter Squadron is only in his third race on this side of the pond, but is dropping in class from an allowance at Keeneland last out.  Trainer Michael Stidham hits at a 23% rate with horses third off the lay, and jockey James Graham has been riding strongly over the turf.

Race 10: Allowance optional claiming ($37,500 purse), three-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, non-winners of $8,800 twice other than maiden, claiming, starter, or state-bred allowance OR N3L OR claiming price $40,000, 1 1/8 miles on the turf

Selections:  Merilore (9), Thecushmaker (4), Fine Assay (1)

Merilore comes in here on a class drop from a $62,000 allowance at Keeneland.  She was outclassed there, but runs fast enough to threaten this crowd.  She has also been working sharply and frequently at Arlington.  There isn’t a crazy amount of early speed in this race, so she should be in a good spot if she gets her usual stalking place.  Thecushmaker stretches out here from her last start, but two starts ago she finished third at 1 3/8 miles, and has won at 1 1/8 before.  Trainer David Hinsley hasn’t raced many horses here yet, but who he has raced have generally done well: he is 8-3-1-1 for the meet.  If she runs the way she has her last few times out, and stays a bit closer to the speed, she could threaten.  Fine Assay, another stalking type, looks great on paper.  Her speeds are good, and she won an allowance last out.  She is strong enough compared to the rest of the field that I wouldn’t leave her off of a multi-race wager or exotic.  However, she did run so well last out on May 17 that she may be a bounce risk.  It isn’t likely that the bettors will ignore a Catalano/Graham horse like this, so the price likely won’t be right for a straight win bet.

Race 11: $5,000 claiming, three-year-olds and up, non-winners since November 30, 2013 OR N4L, 1 1/16 miles on the synthetic

Selections:  Bluedacious (6), Ideal Alluvial (11), Reggiville (9)

Bluedacious drops in here from $10,000 beaten company at Oaklawn, and will be the speed of the speed.  If he gets too loose on it, it may be over.  He comes from the strong Tammy Domenosky barn, and is 16-5-3-2 career over synthetic tracks.  Ideal Alluvial will likely stalk close to the speed.  He likely won’t have quite as much early as Bluedacious, but will have more late if the top choice is a little rusty off the lay.  He is working well, and has shown an aptitude to run well despite drawing an outside gate like he did here.  Reggiville is not a particularly good shot to win, since he is a closer in a race where the pace is not likely to collapse spectacularly.  However, he does like synthetic surfaces significantly more than others — suggesting that he could at least hit the board here on surface aptitude alone.  He’s not a great bet for the win, but he is good for lower rungs of exotics.

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