full-card Arlington picks and analysis: 9.5.15

The stakes season at Arlington is over, but the racing continues for another month.  The feature on today’s card is an interesting allowance race with a mix of new shooters and salty horses.  The card also features a pair of maiden races, including an opener for juvenile fillies.

Without further ado, let’s delve into the card!

Race 1: $25,000-$20,000 maiden claiming, two-year-old fillies, five and a half furlongs on the polytrack, post time 1:15pm CDT

Selections: Native Indy (4), Appollos Baby Girl (5), Be Good to Us (1)

In this race, the road to the winners’ circle runs through Ingrid Mason’s barn.  Native Indy is a first-time starter, but she has a long and regular worktab without any gaps to suggest recent issues.  Mason’s first-call rider this meet, Julio Felix, gets the leg up/ Mason and Felix have fired at 32% over the last two months.  Mason’s first-timers win 22% of the time (including in last week’s Arlington-Washington Lassie…), and Native Indy has a half-sibling named Native Hatchet who won first out.  Appollos Baby Girl, the Mason B entry, gets a drop in class and a change to rider Rosemary Homeister, Jr.  This filly also gets blinkers on for the first time.  Her company lines are full of far tougher than she faces today: Delicate Lady, Silver Lode, Moonlitediscretion.  With a fast work leading into this race, she could wake up here.  Outside of the Mason barn, first-timer Be Good to Us intrigues as a long shot.  Three Hour Nap babies win first out a quarter of the time, making them almost always interesting bets at a price.  The last work leading into this race was very sharp, and rider Edgar Perez tends to ride inexperienced horses very well.

Race 2: $5,000 claiming, three-year-olds and up, one and one sixteenth miles on the turf, post time 1:46pm CDT

Selections:  Exchanging Kisses (2), Snapped (6), Hapman (5)

Exchanging Kisses is the speed of the speed on a turf course that has been very kind to speed lately.  He gets E. T. Baird in the irons, another plus point for a speed horse.  He drops from being close a few times in $8,000 company, and his last race (in which he was beaten just a length and a quarter) was franked when Montana Kid returned to beat tougher.  Snapped loses Jose Valdivia to Kentucky Downs, but gets Chris Emigh back in the irons.  Emigh has been as wily as anyone this meet when it comes to adapting to how a track plays.  Snapped should be relatively forwardly placed, and dhes his best work going two turns over the Arlington grass.  He steps up from $4,000 company last out, but that was on the poly; he should be better on turf.  Hapman drops to his lowest level in a long time.  Though he is an off-pace type, he has shown the ability to rally into a pace that is not exceedingly hot.  He stretches to a mile and a sixteenth for the first time since April, but has hit the board in half of his ten tries at the distance.  A win may be tough, but he fires consistently enough to fill the exotics underneath.

Race 3: $12,500 claiming, three-year-olds and up, three years old OR N3L, one and one sixteenth miles on the polytrack, post time 2:17pm CDT

Selections:  Disorderly Conduct (1), Two Costly Bullets (3), Buzzy (2)

Disorderly Conduct does his best work on the front.  He gets a rider change to E. T. Baird; Baird on the speed of the speed is always dangerous.  The only real threat on the front end is Buzzy, who Emmanuel Esquivel had been sending regularly.  However, Buzzy gets a change to Rosemary Homeister, Jr., which leaves some question as to what she will do with such a versatile runner.  Buzzy could get home if Disorderly Conduct starts poorly, or inexplicably can’t stay the distance, but Disorderly Conduct is the best horse near the lead, and the best in the field.  Two Costly Bullets has been streaking; though against weaker, he has won his last three.  Trainer Terrel Gore is best on dirt, but he has gotten three wins this meet — all with this horse.  His speeds are improving into the range he needs to be competitive here, and he benefits if Disorderly Conduct and Buzzy lock into it.  It also speaks well of Two Costly Bullets’s chances that Emmanuel Esquivel hops off Buzzy to ride this one.

Race 4: $16,000-$14,000 claiming, three-year-olds and up, one and one sixteenth miles on the turf, post time 2:48pm CDT

Selections:  Jukebox Johnny (6), Kids Rule (2), Boss Alley (4)

Class-droppers Jukebox Johnny and Kids rule tower over this bunch.  Jukebox Johnny gets the nod, since he has such a good shot of being alone on the lead over the speed-friendly grass.  He takes a big (even suspicious) class drop from an allowance win last out, but he is not the first horse trainer Scott Becker has made these big class drops with over the last week or two — see the likes of W W Afleet and Away Westward.  His big class droppers have been winning, and this one should as well.  Kids Rule faltered last out against much harder at Woodbine, but finished fourth beaten less than a length against that sort of company two back there.  In the spring, he rattled off some wins at Hawthorne and Arlington against better locals than these.  His speeds are very strong for the field, and he gets a strong rider in Mitchell Murrill.  Murrill is particularly live with trainer Michael Stidham; they have been strong all meet.  The biggest question about Kids Rule is the pace; he tends to rally from well off, making Jukebox Johnny on the front a tough proposition for him to beat.  Beyond the obvious two, Boss Alley has some appeal on pace.  He is the only one in the field other than Jukebox Johnny who has shown much propensity to be anywhere near the lead.  Though he faced weaker (open $8,000) company last out, he set the fractions and held on for third, hitting the board for the first time since September of 2013.  Perhaps he has remembered how to be a racehorse.

Race 5: $16,000 claiming, three-year-olds and up, N2L, five furlongs on the turf, post time 3:19pm CDT

Selections:  Gray Mensch (1), Greeley’s Special (6), Sweep E Prado (3 – underneath)

Gray Mensch was second beaten only half a length at this level last out.  Since Chas Tom does not tend to force the pace in turf dashes (only in races going a bit longer, suggesting he doesn’t have true sprinter speed), Gray Mensch stands to be the one calling the shots.  With as good as the rail draw was yesterday, and as well as speed has held on the turf lately, he stands to go wire-to-wire.  Greeley’s Special has done his best work by far over the grass, and finally broke his maiden last out in a tight, game effort.  He should be stalking relatively close to the pace again this time, and be in reasonable range to make a run on Gray Mensch late.  Sweep E Prado is probably the best and fastest horse in this field, but he has a little issue with finding ways not to win horse races.  He has found his niche this summer doing turf sprints, but it’s hard to take a short price on top with a horse who hasn’t won in almost two years.  Key him underneath, but consider the others on top.

Race 6: Allowance ($22,050 purse), three-year-olds and up, non-winners of $9,800 once other than maiden, claiming, starter, or state-bred allowance OR N2L, six furlongs on the polytrack, post time 3:50pm CDT

Selections: Bumpy Cat (6), Western Country (4), Compass Stone (3)

For my detailed analysis, read the latest Chicago Railbird.

Race 7: $15,000-$10,000 maiden claiming, three-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, five furlongs on the turf, post time 4:21pm CDT

Selections:  Due to Grace (2), Praise the Kitten (1), Chosen Tune (3)

This race features a familiar game over the last couple of seasons on the Chicago circuit: who’s going to beat second-itis horse Nelyn’s Flyer?  Due to Grace is, admittedly, a swing for the fences — some gossamer threads on a long price in a bad field.  She goes first-time turf, and cuts to the shortest distance of her career.  Last time out she set the pace early before fading down the stretch.  Here she cuts back from seven furlongs to five, on a course in which speed has been holding nicely.  If Santo Sanjur sends her again, and she takes well to the grass, perhaps she will hold on as the longest shot on the board.  Praise the Kitten has only hit the board once in eleven starts, but that lone third-place finish came last out — against this level, in her first try at a turf dash.  She gets Chris Emigh back from that previous effort, and dashes on grass again today.  The off-pace style may not be the best, given how the turf is playing, but she could be closer early if she has a better start than she did last time out.  Chosen Tune is the most lightly-raced runner in the field; she has run just once before.  She finished second in state-bred maiden $15,000 company behind Canadian Candy, a speedy filly in a short field.  The experience may help her, and the cut back to five furlongs could help as well.  The trainer is a bit of a worry, as Kirby’s 7% strike rate going first-time turf is not great…but in a field with so many career maidens, being the newest face (and finishing on the board last out, to boot!) carries a lot of weight.

Race 8: $4,000 claiming, three-year-olds and up, non-winners of a race since January 1 OR N4L, seven furlongs on the polytrack, post time 4:52pm CDT

Selections:  Cardston (4), U Step Aside (7), Costly King (9)

With the scratch of Flathead River, Cardston looks likely to get a free ride on the front end.  Though he was a well-beaten fourth last out, he did not get the lead in that race, and the race was well franked by the next-out performances of Tattaglia and Devil and a Half.  He has never tried seven furlongs before, but has hit the board in five of nine over the Arlington polytrack.  U Step Aside comes into the race third off a long layoff, and has the best speed figures of the group.  He does have three wins over Arlington polytrack, as well as a win in his only try at the distance.  The pace is not the best for him, as he is a midpack type, but he may be put a little closer to the lead with the rider switch to E. T. Baird.  Costly King, the other Rivelli (U Step Aside is a Rivelli as well), comes in third off the lay and does his best work on the poly.  He has not won since November, but has hit the board in six of his nine starts after that win, and has not faced a field this soft.  Given his competitive polytrack tries at six and six and a half furlongs, stretching out to seven against this soft a field does not seem out of range for what he can do.  On class and surface aptitude, Costly King should at least rally for a share.

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