Arlington pulled together a solid card today. In addition to the anchor race, the Grade III Chicago Handicap, the rest of the day features full fields and solid horses. There’s a pair of maiden special weights, including one for two-year-olds. There are several salty $25,000 claiming races. Top to bottom, it should be a fun card, with some good betting opportunities.
Without further ado, let’s get into the card!
Best Bets: Boom Box (race 5), You Bought Her (race 6)
Longshots of the Day: Sacred Canyon (race 4), Event Of Default (race 8)
Race 1: $7,500 claiming, N2L, fillies and mares, three-year-olds and up, five and one half furlongs on the polytrack, post time 1:15pm CDT
Selections: Frisky Whiskey (6), Eva’s Sugarloaf (1), Brittney On Blades (5)
Speed is an asset in these dashes, but with Discreet Charm, Brittney On Blades, and La Candelita all likely need-to-lead types, a horse who can come from just off looks good here. That’s Frisky Whiskey. She was second at the level and distance last out, and gets a rider upgrade to Jose Valdivia, Jr. Eva’s Sugarloaf drops in class here, to the softest foes of her career. She could get some pace to chase, and if this first-time polytrack runner takes to it, she could be rallying best late. Brittney On Blades is part of the speed contingent, but looks like the speed of the speed here. If she clears Discreet Charm and La Candelita early, a repeat of her last effort could make her hard to beat here.
Race 2: Maiden special weight, two-year-old fillies, four and a half furlongs on the polytrack, post time 1:47pm CDT
Selections: Babybluesbdancing (4), She’s Fine Tuned (7), My Darling Sofia (6)
With no clear standout, as long as she looks good in the paddock, Babybluesbdancing warrants a swing. Trainer Terrel Gore does not always get first-timers home, but when he does, his positive ROI with debut maiden special weight runners suggests they get home at a price. She is sired by solid two-year-old stallion Sky Mesa, and her dam Bluesbdancing won first time out. Her last two works were also longer than this race. She’s Fine Tuned is one of two entries from the Mike Stidham barn. She gets the nod between the two because she has a work longer than this race, and her dam Ms. Lydonia won first out. She is also by first-crop sire Maclean’s Music, who has had a few first-out winners already. My Darling Sofia comes from the barn of Larry Rivelli, always dangerous with two-year-olds. She has some sharp three-furlong works, making her a decent candidate for the old Rivelli “send and wire”. She also gets the services of top rider Jose Valdivia, Jr.
Race 3: $25,000 claiming, three years old OR N3L, races where entered for non-winners of two or three for $20,000 or less not included in eligibility, fillies and mares, three-year-olds and up, one and one sixteenth miles on the turf, post time 2:19pm CDT
Selections: Arabian Queen (4), Go Bonnie Go (6), Flight Pattern (7)
With need-the-lead types Jennifer J. and Socialized in the field, the pace could shake out to be hot, hot, hot. Arabian Queen is a closer, second off the lay here, with strong late pace in her better efforts. She drops in class from starter company last out, and has faced tougher than this through much of her career. She also reverts to having Jose Valdivia, Jr. in the irons. Go Bonnie Go sprung the upset against $16,000 beaten company last out, and steps up in class here. She does her better work going long on the grass, and her running style should benefit from the speed duel in front of her. She also does well with a bit of give in the ground. Flight Pattern is first off the claim for trainer Michael Reavis, and second off the lay. She finished third behind Smiling Gambler last out; Smiling Gambler franked that form last weekend with a third-place run against Illinois-bred stakes company. She has two wins over the Arlington course, and been in the money for five of seven starts over the course. Finally, note that all three horses mentioned here have three wins, while the rest have two. They are condition book horses, always a good point in a horse’s favour.
Race 4: $25,000 claiming, N2L, fillies and mares, three-year-olds and up, six and a half furlongs on the polytrack, post time 2:51pm CST
Selections: Sacred Canyon (4), Silver Kitty (8), Fashion Hill (2)
Sacred Canyon is exactly the kind of horse you want to take at a price here. She broke her maiden last out, in her first try at six and a half furlongs, and returns to that specialty distance today. Her polytrack form has been solid, and her form when up for a tag has been solid. She has to take another step forward today to win this, but at boxcar odds, you’ll get the right price to bet that this is her niche. Silver Kitty drops back into claiming company after an ambitious try against Illinois-bred stakes company last fall. That was in December, but trainer Wayne Catalano has his chargets ready to fire off long lays. He is also excellent going blinkers-off, a move he makes here. She does her better work stalking relatively close to the pace, a plus here. Six and a half furlongs is a question, since she broke her maiden going longer. But, enough else weighs in favour to make her attractive at a square price. Fashion Hill benefits from the scratch of G P’s Girl. She may have American Merlot to contend with on the front end, but she did show some game when she graduated last out. That victory came at seven furlongs on the polytrack, making this race likely to suit.
Race 5: $25,000 claiming, three years old OR N3L, races where entered for non-winners of two or three for $20,000 or less not included in eligibility, three-year-olds and up, five furlongs on the turf, post time 3:23pm CDT
Selections: Boom Box (1), Soprano’s Sonata (9), Be Nice Coach (3)
Boom Box is a versatile sort — in a race with a lot of possible speed with no clearly controlling speed, that is a major point in his favour. He comes in third off the lay, returns to turf, and should appreciate a bit of cut in the ground. Boom Box likes turf dashes, as evidenced by his 6-2-1-1 line. He is also a condition book horse here, with three wins to his name, but some of that work done under the eligibility threshold price. Soprano’s Sonata drops back into the right class here after some tries against state-bred allowance company. he has never tried a turf dash before, but does have five-furlong form on dirt. He has tactical speed, and if he takes to the footing, he has a shot. Be Nice Coach is a longshot — 20/1 on the morning line, and should be all that and more come post time. But, he has a few things in his favour. He is a frontrunner with excellent front-end jockey Francisco Torres in the irons. He goes blinkers-off, a strong move for new trainer Tammy Domenosky, and has some sharp works leading into this race. He tries a turf dash for the first time, and if he likes it, he could at least make the exotics interesting.
Race 6: Chicago Handicap (GIII), three-year-olds and up, seven furlongs on the polytrack, post time 3:55pm CDT
Selections: You Bought Her (3), Sarah Sis (5), Sweetsoutherndame (4)
For my full analysis, read the latest Chicago Railbird. Note that one of my longer shots, Athena, has scratched.
Race 7: $16,000 claiming, N2L, three-year-olds and up, one mile on the turf, post time 4:27pm CDT
Selections: Mostly Mozart (4), Reap (6), Stealin’ Summer (7)
Mostly Mozart has some speed, but also some ability to rate. He has a win over the course, and though he is only 1-10 in turf miles, most of that work has come against tougher company than he faces today. He has decent recent form against $16,000 N2L company on polytrack this meet, and should improve further with the move back to the grass. Beyond him, consider the pair from Larry Rivelli’s barn. Reap looks a bit better, particularly since he has known turf mile form over ground with some give in it. He comes in third off the lay, and makes his first turf try against winners. With the move back to his preferred surface, he could improve off that fourth-place effort at this level last out. Stealin’ Summer makes his first try over the grass. But, he drips in class, and comes in second off the layoff. She stretches to a route for the first time, but trainer Larry Rivelli has a surprisingly good first-time route stat: 31% in his last 35 starts, with a positive ROI. He could get some pace to chase, and if he handles the grass, he has a shot at boxcar odds.
Race 8: Maiden special weight, three-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, five furlongs on the turf, post time 4:57pm CDT
Selections: Event of Default (2), Reminisce (11), Allaire (1)
Sashay will be the favourite here — but with her 9-0-5-1 career line and her 4-0-4-0 record in turf dashes, she has shown us everything we need to know, at least until she drops down against maiden claimers. Use her underneath, even key her in second, but look elsewhere for your winner.
Event of Default comes in second off the lay, and was fifth beten just a length in a maiden special weight turf dash at Indiana Grand last out. She goes blinkers-on for the first time, a 25% winner for trainer Roger Brueggemann, and keeps Francisco Torres in the irons. Reminisce was well-beaten first-out, but makes a few changes. She goes first-time Lasix, cuts back to a dash, and moves to the turf. She is half to a turf dash winner, Edging, suggesting that she too may like turf. Sire Tizdejavu also wins 17% of the time with first-time grass. Allaire is built like a sprinter, and has done some of her better work in turf dashes. She had a troubled trip last out at this level, and though the rail draw does not help that much, perhaps new rider Chris Emigh can carve out a bit better trip. She has some speed, but has also shown an ability to rally, something helpful to have in her arsenal.