Arlington Picks and Analysis: 8.24.14

After the rainstorm that cancelled the third and fourth races at Arlington yesterday, the racing is off the turf again today.  Six of the races were originally carded for the poly anyway, and two of the three washed-off races actually kept most of their fields, though became interesting questions due to the issue of surface.  The only one that was massively affected by scratches was the last, in which a field of twelve scratched down to four.

With that out of the way, let’s dive into the card!

Race 1: $7,500 claiming, three-year-olds and up, N2L, six furlongs on the synthetic

Selections: Ucanchangethename (5), Mop (3), Bellodini (1)

My biggest opinion in this race is that it looks extremely not formful even for a $7,500 N2L claimer (quite possibly the least formful level of racing on the Arlington circuit), and hauling out the dartboard would be as good as hauling out the past performances.  I’m stubborn, and delved in anyway…though Blinkers Off would not blame any of you for passing, especially since it is not part of a Pick 4 or Pick 5.

Ucanchangethename comes in here on the drop to the lowest class level of his career, and has enough speed to beat the field.  His one career win did come over the polytrack, though at a shorter distance: a 4 1/2 furlong baby race on the poly, the type that his trainer James DiVito wins with reckless abandon.  He has hit the board twice in five attempts at six furlongs on the main.  The biggest drawback is that he has not won since his first time out: he has ten straight losses, and is flirting with career N2L.  However, on the class drop and the strong polytrack trainer, he stands out.  Mop is likely the speed of the speed, and make no mistake about it: Mop will be sent.  The question is whether he will fade.  Last out he lost a bit of steam late, and finished third at this level by a neck all told.  That race was at seven furlongs; he cuts back to six here.  The trouble on Mop is the price: he is 8/5 on the morning line, and it’s hard to trust this one at such low odds.  Bellodini tried polytrack for the first time last out, and finished second.  Santo Sanjur, who rode him then, rides again.  That was also his first race off of a lay of almost four months.  Any improvement on that effort makes him very competitive here.

Race 2: Allowance ($33,000 purse), three-year-olds and up, Illinois-bred, fillies and mares, non-winners of $8,800 once other than maiden, claiming, or starter OR N2L, six and a half furlongs over the synthetic

Selections: Read to Me (6), Marvelous Molly (1), Che Serai (3)

Read to Me loves the polytrack: in eight races over it, she has won twice and been third three teims.  She has also won two of five at six and a half furlongs.  There should be enough pace up front for her to attack early.  She finished only 2 1/2 lengths behind Brazyn Appeal — a much better horse than anyone in this field — last out.  If she stays near her 6/1 morning line, she is the clear value of this field.  Marvelous Molly, half of the Doug Matthews entry, has never run a bad race on the polytrack.  She is another off-the-pace type who should benefit from the hot pace — a pace to which her entrymate, Oh Susanna, will almost certainly contribute.  Apprentice Rolondo Aragon, who is finally starting to find a stride here, rides; she gets a seven-pound weight break.  Che Serai is a complete form play.  She has gone on an improbable run: she won one of her first forty starts, but has then won her last three outings.  She steps up in class here.  But, all for of her wins have been on polytrack, at distances ranging from six furlongs to a mile.  Santo Sanjur, who has ridden her in all three of those recent wins, returns.  Her speeds are competitive, and she showed two starts back that she can stalk off the pace.

Race 3: Maiden special weight ($33,000 purse), two-year-olds, Illinois-bred, six furlongs on the synthetic

Selections: Strolling Steve (6), Chicago Son (1), Fort Dixie (4)

Strolling Steve made the slightly perplexing step from maiden claiming back up to maiden special weight company last out, but once again hit the board.  He has not missed the board in four starts.  His third was distant last time, behind runaway Rivelli firstie Dom The Bomb as well as Chicago Son.  Still, it was not bad for a speed horse who had no way of getting his speed with Dom The Bomb in the field.  This time out, he gets a key upgrade: E. T. Baird will be in the irons, and he is a sparkling 24% with frontrunning types.  That may be what he needs to graduate today.  The aforementioned Chicago Son was the only one in the same ZIP code as the winner last time out, and makes his second career start today.  He stretches out a bit from that start, but six furlongs should be right within the purview of a Sharp Humor colt out of a Malibu Moon mare.  He keeps Emmanuel Esquivel from that last ride, and Esquivel and trainer Michael Reavis have been in the money in six of their seven starts together in the last two months.  Reavis also wins at 19% with second-time starters.  Fort Dixie is a first-time starter.  He is from a Brian Williamson barn that isn’t generally all that hot with first-timers, but has several things to recommend him here.  He has a worktab stretching back to June, with plenty of four- and five-furlong workouts to suggest he is fit.  His sire, Fort Prado, does win at 12% with first time starters.  Finally, jockey Florent Geroux rides.  Geroux and Williamson have won with four of their eight in the last two months.

Race 4: $5,000 claiming, three-year-olds and up, non-winners since February 24 OR N4L, one mile on the synthetic

Selections: Hapman (7), Garryowen (2), Score Baby Score (1)

This race leaves two courses of action: single Hapman, or push the ALL button.  Hapman scratched out of a race yesterday to run today instead, and towers over this field.  He drops to the lowest level of his career, and is second off of a long lay.  His run last out was not shabby given that he had not run in eleven months: he finished only 3 1/4 lengths beaten in a $12,500 race, and put up a speed that was not only competitive with this bunch, but also better than what he was putting up before his lay.  Hapman has won on the polytrack before, and has a put up two works since his last race.  Beyond him, there is not much.  Garryowen, at least, won his last attempt at the one-turn mile over the Arlington polytrack.  He can push the pace, or stalk off of it; given this field, with several types who may go on the lead or not, this versatility helps.  The biggest drawback is how quickly they are wheeling him back: he just raced on August 14.  Score Baby Score faltered last out at a mile and a sixteenth, but cuts back here.  He likes the polytrack a lot: all five of his career wins have come over it, and six of his eight other on-the-board finishes have as well.  He came close (third beaten 3/4 length) against similar company four back after bobbling at the start, suggesting he can still show up sometimes.  If he stays at or near the longest shot in the field, and looks good in the paddock, he could be an interesting price play based on his affinity for the track.

Ideal Alluvial deserves a note.  For intra-race exotics, use him in the second and third rungs.  However, he is a clear pass for the win rung as well as any multi-race wagers or win wagers: he has a consistent pattern of getting near, but not being able to seal the deal.

Race 5: $25,000 claiming, three-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, N3L OR three years old, five and a half furlongs on the synthetic

Selections: Reinvested (8), Rum Therapy (6), Bump Bump (3)

This race should have plenty of horses vying for the front, with Lavender Patch and Nowthatsalady being can’t-rate types.  Reinvested can run from anywhere as long as it’s not right smack on the front end: making her perfectly suited for this pace scenariou.  Her trainer Dale Bennett is extremely strong at placing his horses within the claiming ranks, wins claiming races 23% of the time, and wins at 29% on synthetic surfaces.  She drops into here from allowance company, and returns to the six-furlong distance at which she won two starts back.  This seems a perfect spot for getting her back on track.  Rum Therapy moves here from allowance company as well; last out she won an N1X over the dirt at Prairie Meadows.  She tries all-weather for the first time here.  However, if she can translate her speed to the surface, she is a contender: is another off-the-pace type who will appreciate the action on the front end, and she takes strong sprint jockey Rosemary Homeister, Jr.  Bump Bump finished fourth last out, but that “beaten 9 3/4 lengths” line is not as bad as it looks, especially given the class drop she is taking here.  Her last race, she ran into a beast named Richies Sweetheart: a filly who set the track record in that outing, and then won an allowance at the Spa next out.  Bump Bump was only two lengths behind second-place Look Who’s Here.  This is her first try on the Arlington poly, but she has a second-place finish on the Woodbine poly.  She has also won at five and a half furlongs over the grass, suggesting the distance is right in her range.  Pacewise, she can sit either close to the pace or close from farther out.

Race 6: $25,000 claiming, three-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, N2L, 1 1/16 miles on the synthetic (originally turf)

Selections: Cindy’s Uproar (5), Expressly Yours (1), Arden Natalie (2)

There is no early speed in this race.  None.  One of the stalkers will default to the speed, and Cindy’s Uproar seems the most likely candidate.  Cindy’s Uproar has only run on polytrack twice, but one of those runs was her sole career win, at this very distance.  She has the team of trainer Ingrid Mason and jockey Julio Felix behind her; though it was Homeister who rode her to her win, Felix got her within half a length in the start before that win, suggesting he should be able to ride her as well.  She takes a tick up from $16,000 company last out, but if she can rebound from her disappointing last start, she could go wire-to-wire at a price.  Expressly Yours comes in here on a drop from $50,000 company, and should appreciate the class relief.  She has not been too far up the track in those last two starts against tougher, and has also had softer turf to deal with.  Here she returns to polytrack; her one career win was over the poly at Woodbine at this distance.  James Graham rides; he is particularly strong at routes, and is also three-for-seven with trainer Louie Roussel in the last two months.  Arden Natalie is another possible candidate for defaulting into the front end, which makes her interesting at a price, especially since strong speed jockey Tim Thornton rides.  She has only tried one turn on the poly, and mustered a second-place finish (albeit a distant one) last out.  Her win, which was on the grass, was two turns.  There is a chance she can improve going two turns on the poly, especially with the lack of early speed.  She looks like the price here.

Race 7: Starter optional claiming, three-year-olds, starters for a claiming price of $50,000 or less OR $80,000 claiming price, 1 1/16 miles on the synthetic (originally turf)

Selections: Broadway Missile (3), Ghost to Ghost (7), Bold Rally (4)

There are no can’t-rate types in this field, though there are several who will run fine on the lead if they get it.  Broadway Missile looks like the likely speed-of-the-speed.  He faltered badly in an allowance optional at Indiana Downs last out, but it was his first race since November.  In that last race, he stored in a listed stakes at Retama by a nose, at a mile over the grass.  He has only raced on the synthetic once, but he made it count: he went wire-to-wire in a $30,000 maiden claimer at Keeneland at this very distance.  James Graham, a strong route jockey, rides.  If he finds his form again second off the lay, he is the one to bear.  Ghost to Ghost is a polytrack aficionado: though he has only run on it for three of his thirteen starts, those three starts include a win and a second.  He would not stand out in this field if the race had stayed on the grass, but his speed is better on the polytrack, and he will benefit immensely from the race being rained off.  The biggest drawback to Ghost to Ghost is the short rest — he is wheeling back on just nine days’ rest.  Bold Rally faltered in his only attempt on polytrack, but that can be forgiven: the start was his career debut.  He has gathered some more seasoning, and become a strong allowance-level contender on the turf.  The distance should be no problem; he won at 1 1/8 miles last out, and also has a win at a mile.  Eduardo Perez, who has been a good fit for him in his last two, rides again.

Race 8: $15,000-$10,000 maiden claiming, three-year-olds and up, Illinois-bred, six furlongs on the synthetic

Selections: Dr. Clark (7), Bullet Bob (9), Smoke Daddy (1)

Dr. Clark comes here on the drop from maiden special into maiden claiming.  He tried three times in state-bred maiden special company, finishing up the track in each.  This is a far more realistic placing given those performances, and he should find the company in a lower-level state-bred maiden claimer more to his liking.  James Graham rides, and Graham and Dorris have combined for two wins and two further on-the-board finishes in their five recent starts — with a positive ROI.  They have sent some bombs, and with 10/1 on the morning line for this one dropping in from maiden special, this could be one more bomb.  Bullet Bob stayes at this level after a third-place finish last out.  He gets a jockey switch from Channing Hill to Florent Geroux.  Though Hill may be trainer Wayne Catalano’s go-to jockey, he gives Geroux live mounts as well, and Geroux has been head-and-head with James Graham for top in the colony.  He cuts back to six furlongs here, a distance at which Bullet Bob missed by less than a length three starts back.  Smoke Daddy is third off the lay, and drops here from maiden special to maiden claiming.  He was third two back behind Slip Kid and Five Green Stars, far better horses than he faces here.  He faltered last out, though, and trainer Frank Kirby logically seeks easier company.  He also switches to a new jockey, Sheldon Russell.  Seeing changes can be helpful at this level; between the class drop and the jockey change, this may be enough to get Smoke Daddy on track.

Race 9: $12,500-$10,000 claiming, three-year-olds and up, 1 1/16 miles on the synthetic (originally turf)

Selections: Ratatat (6), Greytap (9), Ultimate X. (11)

The ALL button was made for this race.

This race was absolutely decimated by scratches.  The original race included a field of twelve, but it has scratched down to a field of four.  The only horse left who even resembles a toss is Kamchatka, as he is a can’t rate type, and both Ratatat and Greytap are likely to get up front ahead of him.  Ratatat gets a slight nod because even though he has not races on poly in a very long time, he has done well when he has: four of his eight career wins are over poly, though only seven of his thirty career starts are.  Greytap has plenty of speed to contend, and can rate — a good thing, since Ratatat probably has a bit more out of the gate than he does.  He has no wins on poly, though three seconds in six starts over it.  Second-itis does seem to be a bit of a trend with him, though: this year he has run six times, been on the board five of them, but not been able to get it all the way done.  If Ratatat, Greytap, and Kamchatka end up getting into an ill-advised fight on the front end, it could be Ultimate X. up to pick up the pieces.  He is the only later-running type left in the field.  He is questionable on the poly — he has only raced over it four times, with two thirds and two off-the-board finishes.  His last attempt on poly was a washed-off race in May against this sort of company, where he stalked a little closer than usual before fading to third.

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