Illinois Owners' Day Preview

Sometimes the conditions of a race (printed at the top of a program or past performance sheet) look strange. Sometimes, they can be quite telling. This week's stakes pair at Arlington Park is a case where reading the conditions gives  a good picture of what horses you'll see.  Here's how the conditions read:

Purse $100,000.For Three-Year-Olds And Upward, Where At Least 51% Of The Horses' Recorded Ownership Is Registered To An Owner Whose Illinois Racing Board License Registration Reflects An Address In The State Of Illinois And Said Horse's Illinois Owner Must Have Owned At Least 51% Of The Horse Prior To February 17, 2012 In Order To Be Eligible To Run In The Race.One And One Sixteenth Miles.

The purse, age restriction, and distance are given. What about the rest? Well, if at least 51% (that is, a majorty)of the ownership is based in Illinois, the horse qualifies for this race. If the horse's sole owner is Illinois-based, that is enough to grant entry. If a majority of the ownership group (or syndicate) is Illinois-based, they qualify. Breeding location (Illinois-bred, Kentucky-bred) is not the qualifier. (HOOH WHY, in the 8th race for females, is a Florida-bred but qualifies based on ownership).

It's a restricted race, sure. But it's different from a state-bred race in that the ownership, not the breeding location, is the determinant.

Therefore, with the ownership being Illinois-based, this Saturday's card has a local flair to it.

Do note both of the Owners Stakes carry a purse of $100,000. Race 5 is for either gender (though males will start) and Race 8 is only for females.

Arlington Park -- Race 5 -- Illinois Owners Stakes -- 1 1/16 miles on turf -- post time 2:59 CT

"Picks and Ponderings" liked MR. MISCHIEF as a Longshot to watch on June 16th in the Black Tie Affair for State-Breds, where he went wire to wire at 5-1 odds. Could it happen again? It's very possible as he's going to be the only controlling speed in this stakes, he won't be drawn to the far outside (which was the case last time in an upper-level allowance), and the shorter field all play to his favor. Losing to G2 winner Willcox Inn who was the best sophomore turfer on the grounds last year and is eyeing a G1 or G2 stakes for his next start, can't be held against him. Let's hope E. T. Baird puts him on the lead and nurses him home. PRINCEVILLE CONDO returns in his first start of the year. When last seen, it was across town in the Carey Memorial on the Gold Cup undercard. He got the win in a roughly-run race, closing off a moderate pace that autumn day. He's fired fresh before (second in this same Owners race two years back off a winter layoff, 3rd in an AOC last year) and he's shown an ability to close regardless of the speed of the front pace. Fits at this level. SUNTRACER chased around Willcox Inn in the three year old ranks last year, then ran well from the clouds to close for third in the G3 Stars & Stripes. His early starts in the year were injury plagued (an eye injury in New Orleans in the Bradley) and he'll be going third start off the layoff. The Block/Perez trainer/jockey team in the last two weeks have twelve starts, three wins, five seconds. Cuts back to the distance he last won at.

#3 MR. MISCHIEF (5/2)


#1 SUNTRACER (3/1)

Longshot: Here, let's look at a Chris Block-trained horse that is dropping in class and cutting back in distance, having last faced the big guns in a G3 on Arlington Million Preview Day and now racing in a restricted stakes. Wait, is this about Suntracer again? Nope. Look to the outside post with #7 MAVERICKING (6/1). Rider J. Sanchez has quietly had a solid meeting, especially in stakes races. This one was last in the gate in the Arlington Handicap, and was walloped by solid G3ers Boisterous and Rahystrada, the latter of which is slated to make his 3rd Million appearance.  Think the Arlington Handicap was much stronger than the Stars & Stripes, so maybe his drop is more of a double drop. A double drop at double the price of SUNTRACER? Hmmmm.

Arlington Park -- Race 8 -- Illinois Owners Stakes -- 1 1/16 miles on turf -- post time 4:29 CT

One more time with the lime. CUMULONIMBLE retains the services of one of the best finishers on the grounds (James Graham in the irons), and will get pace to chase (HOOH WHY, KATIE THE LADY, PATHWAY). It's an advantageous pace scenario for her, and shows a solid recent workout over the turf course, and she worked a bullet after the Prairie State win, indicating that she's still likely on cue. PEYOTE PATTY has kicked around the statebred/listed stakes level for a while, cashing checks and at times dropping to allowance company to pounce on some easier foes. After a four length win last time going a mile in an N3X/N1Y/$80K AOC, she's back in stakes company. If the pace gets too fast (which could happen), she could rate and close as she did last fall at Hawthorne on Illinois Festival Day. HOOH WHY set the pace last time in the G3 Ontario Matron before yielding to Beverly D. possiblity Stars to Shine. She does her best work when setting the pace or being close to it, and those tactics weren't used when she clunked up for third last time at Indiana Downs. Back at Arlington after a third two back in an okay renewal of the Arlington Matron, she will acquire the services of R. Homeister, Jr. for this restricted stakes. A good field for this level.



#2 HOOH WHY (3/1)

Longshot: #5 ONE LAST DANCE (12/1) doesn't have a great turf record (two starts with a third and a ninth), but does have a nice record on the tighter-turned Aqueduct Inner Dirt Track that's more similar to turf than Hawthorne or Aqueduct's main track (AQU IDT record: three starts, two wins, a fourth to a G2 winner). Trainer Michael Reavis (who also has HOOH WHY), is winning at 18% in a horse's second start with him.  Toss out the last two dirt efforts, including a sixth in the Sixty Sails on the south side, and she fits. The work pattern of progressively longer distances before a recent bullet work is also a positive sign. Has a solid chance if the hot pace as advertised develops.


Sunday features the third and final installment of the "Breakfast at Arlington" series. See here for details.

And next Monday is the start of Arlington Million Week, culminating in the 30th running of the Arlington Million on August 18. Look for a full schedule (and full round of posts) nearly every day up to, and including, the Million. Look for more Million news on Twitter, too.


Good Luck!

(Updated Thursday 8/9 to include morning line odds.)

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