Another weekend of racing at Arlington is upon us. It is a cool and cloudy day, but any day is a good day to be out at the races. There is rain in the forecast, and it has been intermittently raining at Arlington. More may be on the way. However, as of now, all racing remains on grass rated good, so turf race picks are for turf.
Without further ado, let’s go to the races!
Race 1: Allowance ($25,000 purse), three-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, Illinois-bred, non-winners of $9,800 twice OR non-winners of two state-bred races other than maiden, claiming, or starter OR N4L, six furlongs on the poly
Selections: Laur Net (7), Karla With a K (1), Riches Sweetheart (6)
Richies Sweetheart is the class of the field, but destined to be a microscopic price. She may just be the fastest horse here, but she does her best work at dash distances — not six panels. E. T. Baird is hot, and she has done enough at six furlongs to make her a must-use defensively, but others are interesting at prices. Laur Net is the “Becker B” entry based on race record, though the fact that Becker’s A rider Chris Emigh picks her instead of Cow Catcher speaks loudly. Laur Net also showed improvement last out, and comes second off the lay here. She should be rolling late; if Richies Sweetheart falters or Canette gives her a little more up front than she can handle, Laur Net should pounce. Karla With a K has Vicente Gudiel on the rail, always a good thing given how well he rides it, and even better given how good the rail has been this meet. She has some solid back speed, and has won all three of her races going six furlongs. She is another who should sit a couple lengths off, and come in if Richies Sweetheart falters.
Race 2: Allowance optional claiming, three-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, non-winners of $9,800 once other than maiden, claiming, starter, state bred, or restricted OR N2L OR claiming price $16,000, six and a half furlongs on the polytrack
Selections: Luvnotionnumbernine (3), Summer Again (7), Silky Sami (5)
This race has no one who has shown much front-end aptitude. Countess Cashmere has a very early race, but her form has been so dodgy that she will have to be a very long price (15/1 or longer…) to be useful. The one to beat here is Luvnotionnumbernine, and she is fast enough that she could possibly just take the lead if no one else wants it. She finished a sharp second on debut behind the impressive House of Sole, and then crushed a field of maidens first-time polytrack and first-time Lasix. Either of those speeds would be good enough against this bunch, and Brian Williamson’s runners do not tend to bounce second-time Lasix. Summer Again should also be forwardly placed. Her polytrack form is a question, as she has only tried it once, but one of her better races makes her competitive here. Silky Sami, as befits her name, usually closes from the clouds. Two back, however, she won a race from a close-stalking spot, showing some new versatility. If Emmanuel Esquivel can try that with her, she could stay in range. She also races against a bit easier here, and the form of her last race was franked when Bella Ann went on to win easily last week.
Race 3: Maiden special weight, three-year-olds and up, six furlongs on the polytrack
Selections: Out of the Woods (1), Mean Intentions (4), Nite of the Hunter (9)
Out of the Woods comes in off a lay since October, but trainer Dale Bennett is 22% off these long lays, and he has been working up a storm at four and five furlongs. Bennett also hits at 22% in maiden specials, and the other winner out of this dam won third out for the same barn. His last out was a bust, but two back he ran well on the poly. HE should like the return to his best surface. Mean Intentions hasn’t raced since January, but he comes in for another layoff barn: Larry Rivelli, who wins at 27% off long lays. He has a long worktab, including a couple of five-furlong moves, and gets E. T. Baird aboard. As Mean Intentions showed speed on debut, this could end up a Baird On The Lead situation. Nite of the Hunter looks like a progressive type, having shown steady improvement in speeds in his three starts. He runs for 21% sprint trainer Hugh Robertson, and keeps Jose Valdivia in the irons. With a better start, he should show improvement from last out. One to swing against is Rippin Ranger (5). Though Wayne Catalano tends to do well with maidens and debuters, he is not well bred to win on debut, and even the Cat Man Factor has not helped his half siblings. Keep an eye on this full to Solitary Ranger with another start or two under his belt, but pass today.
Race 4: $7,500 claiming, three-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, N2L, six furlongs on the polytrack
Selections: Sunswept (9), Lil Heat (1), Yankee’slildarling (5)
With Jazzy Jan and Storm Blaiser out, there is far less early speed in this race than there had been. Sunswept may just be the fastest horse in the field, and the scratches help him significantly. His only win came on an easy lead, but he finished a decent third in the next start despite some pressure. He may still get some razzing on the front with the likes of Yankee’slittledarling and Dennie’s Dream, but the scratches put him in a better spot. Lil Heat comes in second off the lay, and has some back races that put her in very well with this group. Even with the scratches, there could still be plenty of speed for her to attack late, and the rail has been a good place to be this meet. Yankee’slildarling is another who benefits from the scratch of the other speedy types. She tries polytrack for the first time, and gets E. T. Baird aboard. If Sunswept can’t get the lead from the outside, it will probably be Yankee’slildarling who does it.
Race 5: $5,000 starter allowance, three-year-olds and up, starters for a claiming price of $5,000 or less since January 1, 2014, five and a half furlongs on the turf
Selections: Voodoo Spell (3), Luck With a Kiss (6), Hapman (2)
For my full analysis of this race, read the latest Chicago Railbird.
Race 6: $25,000 waiver claiming, three-year-olds and up, N2L, one mile on the turf
Selections: Exchanging Blows (4), Stockholder (1), Risk and Return (8), Spark Kit (6) for undersides only
Exchanging Blows is the speed of the speed, always good particularly when Baird is aboard. He also comes in here for his first race since being reported as a gelding. He stretches to a route for the first time, but being out of a Greinton mare, he should be able to handle two turns just fine. He tries grass for the first time, but his dam has produced two grass winners already, so he should handle it well. The scratch of Royal Warrant also eases the front end a bit for him. However, if Spark Kit sends and gives Exchanging Blows a bit too much to handle, look for Stockholder to run late. He has Gudiel in his favourite place, the rail, and does his best running from midpack. He ran fifth last out against tougher, but drops to a more realistic level here. He has hit the board two of three times on the turf, and ran well with some moisture in the ground at Hawthorne two back. Risk and Return comes in off of a lay since last August, but won over yielding Arlington turf in that last start. He comes into this race off a sharp five-furlong move, can press the pace, and should contend if he finds his form from last year. Spark Kit drops in class here, and was not terribly well beaten against much tougher last out. He will not likely get the speed here with Exchanging Blows in the field, leaving him to come from behind. He should run sharply, but has not shown the ability to complete the job from off the pace. Use him underneath.
Race 7: $16,000-$14,000 claiming, three-year-olds and up, five and a half furlongs on the turf
Selections: Uncle Jeep (3), Pirates Vow (4), Hothalfone (1)
For my full analysis of this race, read the latest Chicago Railbird.
Race 8: $16,000 claiming, three-year-olds and up, N2L, one mile on the turf
Selections: Hotter N Blazes (11), Chas Tom (3), Sweep E Prado (6)
Hotter N Blazes should beat this group soundly. He dropped in for the tag for the first time last out, stalked, and held sway. That race was franked, with third-place Away Westward graduating last weekend. He gets rider Jose Valdivia back from that effort, and his past races suggest he has room to progress second off the lay. Trainer Wayne Catalano wins at 20% second off the lay, and 18% with last-out maiden winners. With a pace likely to be neither crawling nor hot, his style should be perfect. Chas Tom should be the speed of the speed, and Gudiel will likely try to take him as far has he can go up front. He may not get all the way there, but with Dark Humorista likely to bounce and It’s a Great Life from such a questionable first-time route barn, Chas Tom has a shot to wire the nightcap at a huge price. Sweep E Prado will need some pace in front of him, but has shown the ability to close into moderate paces. He tries grass for the first time, but trainer Tammy Domenosky does well with her first-time turfers, and his breeding (Fort Prado out of an End Sweep mare) suggests he could wake up on the grass.