We are back at Arlington with Saturday’s eight-race card. Though we are off the turf for the three races originally scheduled for it, we still have some good fields, and some solid price plays.
Best Bets: Arch Rivalry (race 2), Reminisce (race 8)
Price Plays: Church Road (race 1), Manhattan Cat (race 6)
Without further ado, let’s get into the card!
Race 1: Allowance, three-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, non-winners of $9,800 once other than maiden, claiming, starter, or state-bred OR N2L, six furlongs on the polytrack, post time 1:15pm CDT
Selections: Church Road (5), Swanky Princess (7), Kitty’s Castle (6)
The chalk here is uninspiring, and there is a ton of early speed. So, off-pace type Church Road appeals at a price. She is in a bit tough here, and has not raced since October, but she has never missed the board in ten tries over the Arlington polytrack, and has finished in the money in seven of eleven at the distance. Swanky Princess has had a bit of second-itis lately, but is quite consistent, and in third off the lay. She has hit the board in eight of her ten career starts, and can stalk off the early going if need be. She also has a win over the polytrack. Kitty’s Castle is another who should be rallying late. She comes in off a lay since last fall, but ran a good second in her first start off her winter break last year. For a barn whose charges often don’t win first off a long lay, this is a positive sign.
Race 2: $16,000 claiming, three-year-olds and up, N2L, one and one sixteenth miles on the polytrack (originally carded for turf), post time 1:45pm CDT
Selections: Arch Rivalry (7), Slammer (5), Fort Dixie (6)
Arch Rivalry will be chalk, but he seems a logical single here. He is fast, likely lone speed, and in for trainer Michael Stidham, who typically has layoff runners cranked. He also won his only previous start over the Arlington main. Slammer has some early pace as well, and may get first run in the unlikely event Arch Rivalry falters. He also has some poly form to his credit. Finally, Fort Dixie should come in for a share. He hit the board against much better, rallying for third behind a loose leader and a true stakes horse. A repeat of that gets him a piece again today.
Race 3: $5,000 claiming, three-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, non-winners since January 1 OR N4L, races for claiming prices of $4,000 or less not considered in eligibility, six furlongs on the polytrack, post time 2:13pm CDT
Selections: Heat Transfer (1), Rocksie Lucie (5), Fleet Performer (11)
Heat Transfer has the hottest jockey on the grounds, Jose Valdivia, Jr., aboard. She drops in class to the lowest level of her career, going in for a tag for the first time. It worries a bit to see that class drop off the lay, but given that most of this runner’s good form has been on the softer Ohio circuit, the level makes sense. She should also be a price with Rocksie Lucie taking money. Rocksie Lucie is the class of the field. She is dropping in class from open claimers to beaten, and it’s hard not to respect a Wesley Ward shipper. Fleet Performer rallies from off the pace, and should get a lot to chase here. Polytrack is the question, since she has never raced on it, but she will be well set for a price if she takes to the footing.
Race 4: $5,000 starter allowance, three-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, starters for a claiming price of $5,000 or less since January 1, 2015, five furlongs on the polytrack (originally carded for turf), post time 2:43pm CDT
Selections: Nevrmesswithrichie (7), Mongol Voice (5), Crissy Field (2)
Nevrmesswithrichie is the speed of the speed, and she loves the polytrack. She also gets a key rider change back to E. T. Baird. Expect her to gun it, play catch-me-if-you-can, and leave everyone behind. Mongol Voice has no turf form whatsoever, but moves way up now that the race has been washed to polytrack. She has back form at Arlington, as well as recent form at Turfway. She also comes in second off the lay. Crissy Field has top rider Jose Valdivia, Jr. aboard, and also has a pair of polytrack wins in her back lines. She can also battle for the lead — she will be forward, but if Nevrmesswithrichie falters, she has a shot.
Race 5: Allowance, three-year-olds and up, non-winners of $9,800 once other than maiden, claiming, starter, or state-bred OR N2L, one mile on the polytrack, post time 3:14pm CDT
Selections: Alzanbaq (4), Empirestrikesagain (3), I Am Another (6)
Alzanbaq is ratable, a good thing in a race with so much speed. he comes in second off a layoff for trainer Louie Roussel, who has won both his starts so far this meet. He also gets a rider change to Jose Valdivia, Jr. Empirestrikesagain is also second off the lay. He has excellent pace versatility, and has a win and two seconds in five tries over the polytrack during his career. I Am Another scratched out of a race yesterday to go in this spot instead. He comes in first off a layoff, but has a good worktab, and trainer Wayne Catalano tends to have runners ready off of longer layoffs. With so much likely speed in front of him, if he can take to polytrack, he should be in for at least a share here.
Race 6: $7,500 claiming, three-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, N2L, five and a half furlongs on the polytrack, post time 3:46pm CDT
Selections: Manhattan Cat (10), Posh Ruler (7), Frisky Whiskey (11)
In a field of 10, Manhattan Cat will be a square price, and he has a huge shot. He is lightly raced, always a good thing in low-level N2Ls, and broke his maiden last out. Trainer Hugh Robertson’s chargers win next out after a maiden win a quarter of the time. He has hit the board twice at this distance on the main track, and with a bunch of runners in front of him who can’t win without the lead, his ability to pass horses will sever him well. Posh Ruler is another one who can rate and rally, and she finished third against tougher (and against males) last time out. Her only victory came at a dash distance, so today’s should suit. Frisky Whiskey has shown the ability to succeed on a contentious pace, and has Oaklawn form going for her. She also gets a change back to Julio Felix.
Race 7: $25,000 claiming, three-year-olds and up, N3L, races where entered for N2L or N3L for $20,000 or less not considered for eligibility, five furlongs on the polytrack (originally carded for turf), post time 4:18pm CDT
Selections: Nyoman (2), Moon Song (1), Tuff Red Stick (7)
In a field scratched down to five, Nyoman’s sharp speed makes him dangerous. He is first off the claim for Michael Stidham, a 35% winner in that circumstance, and has an all-weather win to his credit as well. Moon Song is the condition book horse, the only one in this field who has three wins to his name. His speeds are solid for the field, and he has recent Oaklawn form going for him as well. Tuff Red Stick takes a big class drop from allowance-optional company at Oaklawn in March, and runs for a trainer (Tom Swearingen) who does well with mid-length layoffs. All-weather is a question, but if he takes to it, his back form at main-track dash distances should get him a share at good odds.
Race 8: Maiden special weight, three-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, Illinois-bred, six furlongs on the polytrack, post time 4:47pm CDT
Selections: Reminisce (7), Pearl of Silk (10), Betruetoyourschool (3)
Reminisce, a first-time starter, should be ready to fire. Her recent worktab is strong, trainer Brian Williamson wins 19% of the time with first-time starters, and trainer Edgar Perez rides maidens very well. Sire Tizdejavu’s babies win 20% of the time first out, as well. Pearl of Silk goes out for another strong first-time starter trainer, Wayne Catalano. He also has the red-hot Jose Valdivia, Jr. aboard. Her works are strong, and it is a good sign that there are no gaps leading up to the race. Betruetoyourschool races for the first time in almost a year; she raced in Arlington’s first two-year-old race last year, was second, and then has not been seen since. Still, trainer Jim DiVito does well with maidens and with layoff runners, and her debut last year showed some polytrack prowess.