The previews for the stakes are taken from the piece "Arlington Matron Day Stakes Preview" and all material was originally submitted for Danonymous Racing.
Arlington's (perhaps) best card to date is so good, "Picks and Ponderings" is looking at every race on the card. At publish time, the turf rail is set to Lane 2.
Race 1 -- $25K N2L Waiver Claiming -- 6 furlongs on polytrack -- post time 1:00 PM CT.
On paper, I liked LA PINATA's race last time. He took wonderfully to the polytrack and won at 10-1 odds. The price will be up considering he won for $12,500 last time and he triple-jumps in class, moving to the N2L rung. On figures, a repeat of the graduation race makes him a player in this race where morning line favorite SACRED RANGE is 1-14 in the career and appears vulnerable. Anne Smith sends out the only horse to utilize the "waiver" in this race, LITTLE KINKAID. Toss out the last start before the layoff at Hawthorne as perhaps that was a track too tight and speed favoring for this stalker/presser type. Even better, that excusable third was at today's conditions: N2L claimer, $25K tag. Homeister climbs aboard, and she was aboard when LITTLE KINKAID was third three back. Shows a quick (with respect to the stopwatch) May 19 workout leading into this claimer. IMPETUOUS POWER may get the pace setup he needs, as he pressed wide to win his only career start over this polytrack Double-drops in class to the $25K N2L level, a 20% winning situation for the trainer. It also helps that he's retaining jockey K. Desormeaux. Was facing way better horses in West Virginia.
#6 LA PINATA (6/1)
#2 LITTLE KINKAID (9/2)
#8 IMPETUOUS POWER (8/1)
Longshot: Ever get one of those races where it looks like there is a ton of speed and then everyone puts the brakes on and one horse is left in front? If that's the case, then #1 I'M OLD SCHOOL (12/1) will be on the engine. He does his best running when he gets the lead and has an inside draw, as he won and finished second behind a runaway winner given that combination. Rider Baird has quietly put himself on the jockey leaderboard. And Baird will make other riders pay (see: last year's Lincoln Heritage) if left alone on the lead.
Race 2 -- Maiden Special Weight -- 4 1/2 furlongs on polytrack -- post time 1:32 PM CT
The year's first two year old race. Trainer Larry Rivelli is usually a solid force in early two-year-old races, and he sends out RICHIES SWEETHEART in this frosh filly race. A first time starter by Bring The Heat out of an Officer mare, she has Tim Thornton aboard and the Thornton/Rivelli team has four money finishes in the last five starts. IT'S DELECTABLE had a ground saving trip in the career debut last time at Calder. Goes to polytrack, which the pedigree for isn't that sterling. However, he ran well enough that he might be able to get something out of that South Florida race this time around, and he has a license to improve. Trainer has a 25% strike rate in juvenile races. ELUSIVE COWGIRL may have the best "fire early" and polytrack pedigree in the field, being by Broken Vow. The rub on him is that his trainer is 3-50 strike rate with first time starters and didn't get any of them to graduate last year at first asking until Brown Almighty did on the grass on Preview Day in July. Think this one nibbles but doesn't get the whole pie.
#6 RICHIES SWEETHEART(2/1)
#2 IT'S DELECTABLE (10/1)
#4 ELUSIVE COWGIRL (4/1)
Longshot: #5 GO GO BOOTS (5/1) is the "other" Rivelli horse, that has similar workouts to the aforementioned RICHIES SWEETHEART. Having an out-of-town jockey from Brazil by way of Singapore could make him ignored in the wagering. His breeding, by Irish Road (himself by Unbridled's Song) out of a Cat Thief Mare, may be as good as any for sprinting and for polytrack. And we know of the trainer's early season successes.
Race 3 - - $25K Starter Allowance -- 1 mile on turf -- post time 2:04 PM CT
Time for the diet version of the non-winners of one allowance. MISS MY ROSIE acquires one of the best finishing riders on the grounds in Graham and it's worth noting how he "fits" the conditions. She started first out for $20K but won three back for $30K. However, by starting for $20K, he qualifies for this field. She drops in class from a true non-winners of one allowance, where he was second last time at Oaklawn. Trending upward on the figures. BIN ELUSIVE looks to be the controlling speed in this spot. A winner two back, she's been claimed in every one five of her starts. Today she won't be claimed, and does acquire the services of Mike Smith. REAL GOOD TIME was second in this condition last time out across town at Hawthorne. The winner that a day won by at least a half dozen, and this one beat the third place finisher by a half dozen herself. She did burn a fair bit of win tickets last time on the south side as the 1-2 favorite. However, two back she won and did so as the 9-10 favorite at Gulfstream. A daughter of Hard Spun, she should be able to handle the green.
#3 MISS MY ROSIE (2/1)
#1 BIN ELUSIVE (7/2)
#6 REAL GOOD TIME (5/1)
Longshot: Perhaps #5 BEYOND (6/1) threw in a clunker last time in the first-level allowance at Keeneland. Or perhaps it was waters too deep. In any case, she drops in class from regular N1X to today's "diet" condition. Worth noting that three back she closed on a speed favoring track at Hawthorne and won at this condition two back also at Hawthorne. The wins were on the dirt, however. But BEYOND goes first time polytrack, and Langfuhr isn't the worst polytrack sire out there.
Race 4 -- $15K-$10K Illinois-bred Maiden Claiming -- 5 1/2 furlongs on polytrack -- post time 2:36 PM CT
The heavy morning line favorite is MINDY CAN DANCE, and it's hard to look past the favorite in his bottom level maiden event. Broke quickly and nearly held on, beaten 3/4 of a length going six panels. Cuts back to five and a half in this heat. Jockey/trainer team are hitting at 24% wins on the meet. ROMANCE THE DEVIL goes second off the shelf, and showed some life last time when in the $25K condition. Takes a drop to the bottom and note the lateral rider switch to five pound bug Esquivel. Trainer has been cold (0-20 at Arlington, 1-34 since the year started) so watch for dramatic movement on the tote. STAND UP RITA has eight career starts, zero wins, and five money finishes. Third behind MINDY CAN DANCE, she seems to be a clunk-up "garbage collector" type. However, two back she finished behind a next-out winner and she seems to show up each time.
#3 MINDY CAN DANCE (6/5)
#6 ROMANCE THE DEVIL (5/1)
#7 STAND UP RITA (4/1)
Longshot: Not a lot of form to go in, both literally (not many starts) and figuratively (speed figures somewhere in the range of shoe sizes). If MINDY CAN DANCE misses the break, the race opens up for something whacky to happen. First-time starter #2 UWAGA (20/1) gets the nod here. Trainer is two out of three in the first weeks of the meet and rider C. Hill has put together a nice skein of riding at the meet. There are two first-timers in the field, but the trump card is that UWAGA is a three year old, and as such gets to tote six less pounds.
Race 5 -- N1X Allowance -- 1 1/16 miles on turf -- post time 3:08 PM CT
Typically, Arlington turf is the domain of Chris Block. But another trainer, Michele Boyce, usually wins about 20% of the time on the weeds. You may remember trainer Boyce from oft-featured media subject Magna Fortuna. On grass, she's got a positive return. On the meet, she's two for ten (including Magna Fortuna). PESO goes from the Boyce barn and gets rider K. Desormeaux to take the call. There looks to be a lot of early pace in this first-level allowance, and PESO can sit off if needed, as he did last November over on the other local turf course. Goes second off the layoff, and he won doing that in the early stages of the meet last year. DANCING ROCK folded in the stretch on opening day on the meet in a yielding course. The course won't be so squishy this time around, and this is another going second off the shelf. Two wins and five money finishes in this horse's grass resume. ROI LE ROY won an N3L claimer in the final month of the Arlington season last September and all three of his career wins have been on the grass. Makes a lateral move from a $32K claimer to this first-level allowance, and he was seen in the same zip code two and three back against Costilla Range and King Rootin Tootin, who were good enough to get a crack at state-bred stakes.
#5 PESO (7/2)
#8 DANCING ROCK (5/1)
#2 ROI LE ROY (6/1)
Longshot: I think #9 PERFECTLY AT HOME beat a stinky field last time in the Illinois-bred N2X condition on Kentucky Derby Day. However, a win is a win and he moves up to tackle winners in this turf effort. Two main reasons for taking him are as follows: First is pace--there looks to be a lot of front speed in the race, and maybe he can mow them down in the lane. And if you cross out his wet track race earlier this over at Hawthorne, you'll find a horse in form that's having a good 2013. And if grass is a concern, take note it's the surface (albeit the Hawthorne grass) he graduated on.
Race 6 -- Maiden Special Weight -- 1 mile on turf -- post time 3:38 PM CT
This appears to be a two-speed number, and we give the edge to first time stretch-out WIFEONTHEWARPATH, who gets a rider upgrade to Esquivel and goes first time sprint-to-route and turf-to-dirt, which the pedigree (by War Chant out of an El Prado mare) that suggests may be what she's wanted all along is a mile on the weeds. Also helps when you get lasix for the first time. SUGAR SPUN goes third off the layoff and makes her first career start in Chicago. Shifts to an outside draw in this event, and that's meaningful when she was caught on the inside and threw in the towel last time at Churchill. It's possible she's working on being a professional maiden, but she gets the outside draw and goes a two-turn mile in this maiden race. She's run her best with those givens. HONEY LAKE comes back off a freshening to make career start four. She ran two okay races at Tampa Bay last time and ships north from Kentucky for this effort. When brought back after a winter vacation, she fired her best two back at Tampa. Perhaps one that needs time between starts?
#6 WIFEONTHEWARPATH (8/1)
#10 SUGAR SPUN (7/2)
#5 HONEY LAKE (3/1)
Longshot: Don't be scared of #4 BOO IN THE WOODS (12/1) going dirt-to-turf at double digit odds. The dam has thrown a turf winner before, the family is bred on both sides of the gene pool for turf, and maybe she can improve in the second start after an okay second across town on the Hawthorne dirt. Going from start one to start two also gives her the best chance to improve, too.
Race 7 -- G3 Arlington Matron -- 1 1/8 miles on polytrack -- post time 4:08 PM CT.
In foal to Leroidesanimaeux, HOOH WHY will have just a few starts left before she goes off to motherhood. However, she's become a hard-knocking honest mare that gets on her best surface (polytrack), acquires the meet's leading rider in five-pound apprentice E. Esquivel, and showed she can make one run last time winning a minor stake at Tampa Bay. She wasn't that far behind Old Tune at Tampa, who had an okay fifth in the G1 Wiley and whose one-run closing style was compromised by a speed-friendly Preakness Day turf. An honest mare who always provides wagering value. IMPOSING GRACE chased around 2012 Kentucky Oaks winnner Believe You Can through the winter in New Orleans and later Louisville. Perhaps getting away from her will help. But perhaps going back to Arlington polytrack will help too, as she's hit the superfecta in all three starts on the local main track. The Catalano/Hill Team that have hit at a 50% win rate the past two weeks are behind this runner. ICE CREAM SILENCE won the G3 Doubledogdare last time out over the Keeneland polytrack. She put on a solid speed number on the polytrack that day, so she stays on the polytrack for today's G3 Arlington Matron. She's never been nine furlongs, but having the Street Sense-Street Cry sire line in the pedigree suggests a mile and an eighth should be within her scope.
#8 HOOH WHY (3/1)
#7 IMPOSING GRACE (6/1)
#2 ICE CREAM SILENCE (6/1)
Not often you get trainer Al Stall, Jr. and rider Garrett Gomez at potentially high odds, but you might get on #1 DISTORTED LEGACY (5/1). The last time she won? July 2011. Nearly two years ago. However, her speed figures haven't tumbled horribly from her 2011 campaign despite the starts and stops. She had trouble last time at Churchill on the dirt, so maybe she's in better-than-it-looks form. And if you dig into her past, you'll find a horse that was three of five in the money on polytrack at Woodbine. Could drift up on the tote.
Race 8 -- $7500 N3L Claimer -- 6 1/2 furlongs on polytrack -- post time 4:38 PM CT
Every big day at Arlington has a claiming race positioned adjacent to the big stakes, or between the big stakes. It's a frustration to the multi-race players but a boon to the majority of single-race players that play day-to-day on the northwest side. So our latest spin on the basement level claiming wheel gives us the never-won-thrice types. A new face in the gang is PROUD JACKSON, who won in the N2L level last time out over the Arlington synthetic. Six of ten in the money over the local polytrack, and graduated at today's 6 1/2 furlong distance last fall across town at Hawthorne. GAMBLIN JACK ran a sterling race four back at Hawthorne to graduate at the N2L level going two turns on the dirt. He's made seven starts, by far the least in the field, so he has yet to buy property at this level. Rider upgrade in this event to Desormeaux, and he drops out of allowance company into this claiming race. CLOUT drops in class for this effort, as he was in the "B" claimers that are restricted to those older horses who haven't won four races, and now he's in never-won-three company. You have to go back to last September to find the last time he got the picture taken, and it was going a mile on the poly. Both of his career wins have been here at Arlington, and he's five of eight in the money over the strip.
#12 PROUD JACKSON (4/1)
#10 GAMBLIN JACK (12/1)
#1 CLOUT (8/1)
Longshot: Everyone here has two wins (by the definition of "never won three life"). Most everyone has twenty starts. So this is a field of professional conditioned claimers. This race either chalks out or blows up the tote and sends shrapnel flying into Wisconsin. It could be #6 TRUST MORE (20/1) that applies the TNT. A Diego/Mason production, which is an under-the-radar jockey/trainer team on the circuit, and this one turns back to six and a half furlongs after going a single turn mile last time. Cutting back in distance is a 26% win, 60% in-the-money proposition that turns a solid flat bet profit every time it's used.
Race 9 -- G3 Hanshin Cup -- 1 mile (1 turn) on polytrack -- post time 5:08 pm CT
One for the home team, as MISTER MARDI GRAS returns to the scene of his G3 triumphs two summers ago. An honest G3 type, he held his form last year despite not winning a stakes. He closed out his 2012 campaign closing for a victory on a speed-biased track across town at Hawthorne. And he started his 2013 campaign with a second in an upper-crust Keeneland allowance. It's second off the shelf for a horse that has hit the board in all four career tries on polytrack. When HOGY last saw the starter, it was to ship to Keeneland to run in the G3 Shakertown on Blue Grass Day. He was only beaten 2 1/2 lengths on the sod, and he comes back to what this observer feels is his best surface. A mile may be not his optimal distance, but he wasn't flummoxed by it on Million Day last year in the Straight Line. Brought to you by the Stiritz/Becker jockey team. HAMMERS TERROR was the even money favorite last year in the one mile one-turn Straight Line on Million Day. He pressed and tired to fourth. Still, he might have been on the wrong side of the curve that day. He goes second off the layoff for trainer M. Stidham.
#9 MISTER MARDI GRAS (3/1)
#10 HOGY (8/1)
#5 HAMMERS TERROR (10/1)
Longshot: Traditionally the Hanshin Cup is a race that features longshots. (Spotsgone, Havelock,...) Let's take a trainer that's spending his first season with a permanent string at Arlington, Mark Casse. He's got three Arlington starts, with a win and a second. He puts out G2-placed #8 PATRIOTICANDPROUD (15/1) in the Hanshin Cup. Eight of nine in the money on polytrack, and you can cross out the dirt try last time in the Alysheba. He was mostly a speed horse going two turns, but he rated off the pace with no issue going one turn in Canada.
Race 10 -- G3 Arlington Classic -- 1 1/16 miles on turf -- post time 5:38 pm CT
Each year, trainer Michael Stidham seems to have a solid sophomore turf horse that gobbles up some stakes prizes. Willcox Inn and Workin' For Hops come to mind as examples. Maybe Stidham has another with DORSETT, who broke his maiden two back at Fair Grounds on the grass. Cross out the first lifetime start (wide) and two back (off the turf). He's also a speed/presser horse that may have been compromised by the typical "pick-a-closer" profile of the New Orleans course. Let's take him in a mild upset. PROCUREMENT is the likely post-time favorite, based off the solid connections of owner/trainer Glen Hill Farm/Tom Proctor and a sterling Brisnet figure earned last out in the La Puente. Connections have had many quality sod stars through the years; they trained last year's Beverly D. runner-up Marketing Mix. It's rare to see an Arlington stakes race without Chris Block, and he's represented with BAMBAZONKI. Runner-up to Kentucky Derby starter Charming Kitten two back in the Kitten's Joy at Gulfstream, he turned in a meh effort in the G3 Transylvania last out. Maybe getting back to his home barn will jump-start his form. Graduated over this course last September.
#9 PROCUREMENT (4/1)
#12 BAMBAZONKI (8/1)
I'm picking a horse trained by Gennardi Dorochenko in this space. Go ahead: do your spit take, spit out your beverage, and lift your jaw off the floor. Point and laugh. When Dorochenko wins, it's usually at ginormous payoffs. And with horses with subtle form. Perhaps they intersect here on #2 GEFEST (30/1) who wired a first-level allowance field on Keeneland polytrack. He was trying to close on wintertime Turfway polytrack, which is easier said than done. He's trying grass for the first time, and has a very favorable pedigree for it. Has the riding services of R. Homeister, Jr., who is quite capable booting home price horses.
Race 11 -- $16K N2L Claimer -- 1 1/16 miles on turf -- post time 6:08 PM CT
Time for the final race, which offers Super Hi-5 wagering (note that it's a jackpot wager) for those brave enough to try it. MISSION STORM goes second off the layoff in this grass tilt. He was claimed for $16,000 (today's price last out on Derby Day by trainer L. Rivelli, and Rivelli is a 24% winner, 56% ITM off the claim. The course is likely to have some give, and he was third on a yielding course and won a good-to-firm Autumnal course across town at Hawthorne. MORIOBA drops in class from a "diet N1X" starter allowance at Keeneland to this true N2L claimer. Potential for upside is there, as she's only made two career starts: the starter allowance at Keeneland and a win at Tampa Bay at today's distance and on the grass. Goes third off the layoff. GIVENCHI was second last time out in the same May 4 N2L that MISSION STORM was third. He did cross the line first two back at Hawthorne, but that was in a $5K N2L. He was disqualified to sixth. Won three back at Hawthorne on the dirt in a bottom-level $7500 maiden claimer. Perhaps the light bulb went on when we in March and another good start is in the works: his 2013 record has 4 starts, 1 win, 3 money finishes, and the only out of the money finish when was he got DQed.
#9 MISSION STORM (9/2)
#7 MORIOBA (3/1)
#11 GIVENCHI (6/1)
Longshot: This N2L features quite a few horses who have, or are going to have, permanent homes in N2L land. A popular angle is to try a horse doing something different; #8 LUCIA BUNS (30/1) fits the bill. You'll be sure to get a high price on this horse, as she's from the lower-than-Hawthorne rated Fairmount Park downstate. And she graduated three starts back for $3200. So why the nod here? Pedigree. She's by Kugelis, an unraced Ontario-bred that was a son of Langfuhr. That's top-side grass breeding. She's out of Holly Sprig, an unraced mare that was a daughter of BC Mile winner. That's bottom-side grass breeding. So we have top and bottom breeding for the grass and first time grass. And it could be clue to the jackpot pentafecta.
Be sure to check out Twitter (@heylaserbeam) for all-day on-the-scene updates at Arlington Park.