Arlington Picks and Analysis: 5.15.16

The second week of the Arlington racing meet draws to a close today.  Once again, we’re off the grass, but that only affects two of the eight races on the card.  As it stands, we have a short but strong three-year-old starter-optional to kick off the day, a pair of solid maiden races…and a visit from the venerable clown prince of the Chicago paddock, the one and only Hapman.

It should be an excellent day at the races, so let’s dive into the card!

Best Bets:  Honour Camp (race 1), Alyczara (race 3)

Price Play:  Stanley’s Friend (race 6)

Race 1: Starter optional claiming, three-year-olds, starters for a claiming price of $40,000 or less OR claiming price $75,000, six furlongs on the polytrack, post time 1:15pm CDT

Selections:  Honour Camp (3), I’m a Lawman (5), Rich E Z (4)

With the scratch of Uno Mas Modelo, the race is down to a field of just five — and a lone speed in Honour Camp.  Honour Camp won authoritatively at second asking over polytrack last summer, and made good account of himself in two starts at Oaklawn through the winter and spring.  Honour Camp is the class of this bunch, and should take this field wire to wire.  Single him.  I’m a Lawman is the one likely to be closest up to Honour Camp.  He posted a win at the Fair Grounds last out, and trainer Hugh Robertson is a 24% winner with last-out maiden winners.  Expect him to be cranked for this — running down Honour Camp will be a tall task, but if anyone does it, it’s most likely I’m a Lawman.  Rich E Z gets a rider change to the hottest rider here, Jose Valdivia.  Allowance company at Oaklawn was a bit over his head, but the speeds he mustered there will make him competitive here.  His midpack style will be a liability behind lone speed, but he should be fast enough to get up for a share underneath.

Race 2: $7,500 claiming, three-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, N3L OR three years old, races where entered for non-winners of 2 or 3 for $5,000 or less not considered for eligibility, six furlongs on the polytrack, post time 1:43pm CDT

Selections:  Love the Beach (7), Kris Road (8), Da’blues Dancer (5)

Love the Beach is the speed of the speed, a strong threat to wire this field.  She is also lightly raced, an asset in these lower-level N3X type races.  As long as she can handle the polytrack, she will be tough to beat if she can run in any way like she did in Louisiana, where she has acquitted herself well in all four starts against state-breds there.  Kris Road will be a long shot, but has quite a bit to recommend her.  She can run forward and pass horses, giving her a good chance to get first run on Love the Beach.  She also has a 4-1-1-1 career line over the Arlington main track.  Da’blues Dancer’s recent form fits this race very well.  She broke her maiden from relatively close to the pace, though has been further off in her more recent efforts.  That includes a last-out win in $10,000 N2L company at Hawthorne, in which she rallied from midpack to take top honours.  Trainer Hugh Robertson does well with last-out winners — a 22% winner in that circumstance.

Race 3: Starter allowance, three-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, starters for a claiming price of $5,000 or less since January 1, 2015, one mile on the polytrack (originally carded for turf), post time 2:11pm CDT

Selections:  Alyczara (2), Nikaluk (7), Royal Seven (1)

Alyczara has been as consistent as you can ask from a horse at any level — she has crossed the wire first or second in her last ten starts (though she has been disqualified twice in that time).  This includes wins in her last two starts.  She has a win and two seconds in four races on all-weather — with her only off-board finish being a DQ at Turfway this winter.  Those three exacta finishes were all at Arlington.  She should take this from gate to wire, but if either Nikaluk or Lifelong Dream sends hard, Alyczara can also stalk.  Alyczara’s most likely threat comes from her stablemate in the Manny Perez barn, Nikaluk.  She has a solid 14-3-3-2 line over the all-weather, and has a similar versatility as her stablemate, the ability to send or sit just off.  She is third off the lay here, and also gets a change back to Julio Felix, with whom she has had success in the past.  In this off-turf race, the only one other than the Perez pair who has real polytrack form is Royal Seven.  In 13 starts over a synthetic, she has three wins, and three more money finishes.  Though her closing style may be a liability in this short field, if things get a little hotter than expected up front, she should be rallying very nicely.

Race 4: $7,500 maiden claiming, three-year-olds and up, one mile on the polytrack, post time 2:40pm CDT

Selections:  Handsome Sean (3), Safe At Sea (6), Aggro Crag (8)

For detailed analysis of this race, read the latest Chicago Railbird.

Guard Your Grill, the original top selection, has scratched.  With that, Handsome Sean moves way, way up.  No one else has really shown early speed in this field, and with putative Rivelli Speedball Guard Your Grill out, Handsome Sean could be well set to lead them all the way around here.

Race 5: Maiden special weight, three-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, six furlongs on the polytrack, post time 3:09pm CDT

Selections:  Su Say Socks (3), Danceinthewind (7), Una Mac Cool (6)

For detailed analysis of this race, read the latest Chicago Railbird.

Race 6: $7,500 claiming, three-year-olds and up, non-winners of two races in 2016 OR N4L, six furlongs on the polytrack, post time 3:38pm CDT

Selections:  Stanley’s Friend (4), Valid Commander (3), Matar (2)

For detailed analysis of this race, read the latest Chicago Railbird.

Race 7: Starter Allowance, three-year-olds and up, starters for a claiming price of $5,000 or less since January 1, 2015, one mile on the polytrack (originally carded for turf), post time 4:07pm CDT

Selections:  Hollywood Script (8), Eternal Ruler (4), Hapman (1)

With Flathead River bringing no poly form of which to speak, there is a good chance Hollywood Script will get going sharply early, and be able to take the field all the way around.  He was vanned off after his last start at the Fair Grounds, but returned to the worktab quickly, and has posted several since.  He has solid Arlington polytrack form from last year, and has also shown the ability to sit just off if Flathead River does find brief early foot over the poly.  Eternal Ruler loves polytrack — in six starts between Arlington and Turfway, he has never been out of the exacta.  That includes some one-turn mile form here.  His polytrack speed figures are good, and he has shown the ability to rally into paces that are not blindingly fast.  Hapman can run on anything, including poly; he is 13-3-2-2 lifetime over the synthetic.  He also has one-turn mile form; last summer, he won a washed-off one-turn mile over the aforementioned Eternal Ruler.  He is another who hopes for Hollywood Script and Flathead River to get locked up a bit, but if they do, the ageless eleven-year-old is in the right form to threaten.

Race 8: Maiden special weight, three-year-olds and up, Illinois-bred, six furlongs on the polytrack, post time 4:36pm CDT

Selections:  Unscathed (2), Whateverybodywants (11), Scitech (7)

Though many have a chance in this field, Unscathed has just about everything one would ever want to see in a first-start maiden.  One of my favourite angles for a first-time starter is seeing a horse whose trainer sent a half-sibling out to a first-out victory.  Unscathed is full to Hollarforadollar, who trainer Larry Rivelli sent out to a win at first asking.  Rivelli wins 27% of the time with first-time starters, and sire Bring the Heat wins 24% of the time with debut runners.  Add strong maiden rider E. T. Baird to the mix…and, though Unscathed will likely go off favoured, this seems one of those “if you can’t beat them, join them” times.  Whateverybodywants starts for the second time, after a third-place finish last October against open maiden special weight company at Indiana Grand last year.  Trainer Kellyn Gorder wins at 21% with shippers, and he gets the services of the hottest rider here, Jose Valdivia.  The worktab is solid, too.  If you cannot help but to oppose Unscathed, here’s your horse.  Scitech had some solid Fair Grounds form over the winter.  He faltered last out, but that was after getting loose in the post parade.  Assuming he behaves better before today’s race, he should turn in a better effort.  He also goes first-time blinkers on, a strong move for trainer Carlos Silva.

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