I've always had a soft spot for the two races that Arlington Park has as a double feature this Saturday.
During Arlington Million Week I admitted to not being a purebred Chicagoan. The first time I attended Arlington Park was Arlington-Washington Futurity Day, 2008. That year's Futurity featured a double disqualification (with an explanation of fouls on a telestrator!) on an entire card conducted in a day-long downpour. (And yet I keep coming back...)
Two years later, when the Futurity and Lassie occupied a common day (they didn't in 2008), I was back in Arlington Heights, this time organizing a group of fans while taking in a September day at Arlington. One of the event's perks was to have a race in the program in your namesake. The winner of the day's namesake race: Eddie Razo Jr.
One year ago, I had the opportunity to write about the Arlington-Washington Lassie for Iron Maidens. The success of that piece led to contributing role to WirePlayers, and to this space.
Like last week's feature, the races this week honor the former venues of Washington Park, first on the south side of Chicago and later in suburban Homewood. Prior Futurity/Lassie stakes winners honored with Arlington Stakes races include Meadowlake, Lisa M., and Mariah's Storm. Two-year-old champions who won the Futurity or Lassie include It's In The Air, Eliza, Gilded Time, and She Be Wild.
Wet or dry, happy or sad, The Arlington-Washington Futurity and Arlington-Washington Lassie have always been intertwined with personal milestones. Let's see what racing highlights, milestones, and (perhaps) stars of tomorrow emerge this year.
Arlington Park -- Race 7 -- G3 Arlingrton-Washington Futurity Stakes -- One mile (one turn) on polytrack -- post time 4:18 CT
$150,000 will be on the line. They'll go a single turn mile starting out of the backstretch chute.
Let's go back to the Tom Proctor well again with PATAKY KID. He won a seven furlong maiden special weight in 1:24 3/5. Compare that to MUPPET MAN, who won the local prep in 1:23 4/5 but on a track tightened up by rain (the card that day was delayed due to a storm). He caught a quick pace last time and may see it again here. He also gets a field of mostly horses like him who have only won maiden special weights. Garrett Gomez is lured in for the mount, he and Proctor as a team show a positive return. MUPPET MAN got a quick-playing polytrack when he won the Meadowlake Stakes a month ago at seven furlongs on this strip. DiVito's two year olds are almost always live (24% wins) and especially in maiden races, but, this isn't a maiden race. He'll need to demonstrate fight in the stretch, and he'll be tested sternly here. UBRAN RENEWAL ships in from the Ohio circuit. Second in a $50K Ohio-bred stakes last time in Cincinnati, he finished between two next out winners. By City Zip, polytrack should be a good fit and so should a mile (he's never been past six furlongs, so he'll be stretching out two extra ones here). You have to wonder what he's been facing in Ohio, but gets the services of meet-leading Cisco Torres.
#3 PATAKY KID (9/2)
#1 MUPPET MAN (2/1)
#6 URBAN RENEWAL (8/1)
Longshot: Two-year-old races at Arlington typically are won by Jim DiVito, his nephew Larry Rivelli, or Wayne Catalano. Yet Michael Reavis almost always has a good two year old worth following for late in the Arlington meet and into Hawthorne, typically in the statebred ranks. Presenting #5 GLENCO KID (10/1), who won at a today's single turn polytrack mile distance on August 4th. The trainer has nine money finishes in the last twelve starts, threw two post-race bullet workouts after stretching out to a mile, and will get a target to run at.
Arlington Park -- Race 8 -- G3 Arlington-Washington Lassie Stakes -- One mile (one turn) on polytrack -- post time 4:50 CT
The female-only complement to the Futurity has the same distance and purse. A full field of fourteen will see the starter. Miguel Mena was named Arlington Park's "jockey of the month" for August, and for good reason. Since coming north from Churchill, he's quietly been winning at an 18% winning clip while Cisco Torres and James Graham continue their battle for one-two atop the standings. Mena rides for Catalano on the Lassie pick, FLYING RAPUNZEL. A wire-to-wire victor going seven-eighths last out, she showed some acceleration that afternoon. True, she had every right to improve off a bumpy start in start one. But with solid connections (seven wins in last seventeen starts), and two recent bullet workouts she'll have every chance to progress again. GOLD EDGE won the local prep for this race, the Lisa M. at 17-10 odds on August4th. She pressed and moved forward to the winners' circle off a bumpy trip in her debut at Churchill. Chris Emigh retains the mount. The projected honest pace gives her a chance to repeat, and I don't think the speed figure regression from debut to stakes win is that big (the track was slower during her race than later in the day for Muppet Man, as dictated above). Last year, trainer Tom Amoss brought Shared Property in to win the local G3 Futurity. He's back this year with QUIET SUCCESS. Amoss is 25% wins on 45-90 days rest, and this one chased around Blueeyesintherein in the G3 Debutante at Churchill. Also, last out in Iowa, finished ahead of next out winner and fellow entrant DANCING ELLIEBELLE.
#12 FLYING RAPUNZEL (5/1)
#4 GOLD EDGE (9/2)
#10 QUIET SUCCESS (5/1)
Longshot: #9 AMERICAN SUGAR (30/1) cuts back from a two-turn mile on Prairie Meadows dirt to a one-turn mile on Arlington Park polytrack. This one switched trainers on the way in from Iowa, and the new trainer is 25% winners going from dirt to synthetic. The Harlan's Holiday-Harlan line is good on polytrack, and she didn't run all that badly to get third last time. Maybe one turn, where she was two wins, is what she needs.