The preview for the stakes race is are taken from the piece "Arlington Sprint Preview" and all material was originally submitted for Danonymous Racing.
With a holiday weekend and backed by demand, "Picks and Ponderings" goes full card yet again, this time for the Saturday July 6 Arlington program. Note that turf races are described and handicapped for "turf only". At publish time, the rail will be set to Lane 5.
Race 1 -- $7500 N3L Claiming -- 6 furlongs on polytrack -- post time 1:00 pm CT
An evenly matched Saturday opener. The edge goes on pace to LIL MISS RICHIE who showed the ability to close last time winning a never-won-twice event over the local synthetic. Goes up in class, but it's worth noting he won a $16K conditioned race last time, that's not bottom level and here he's starting at the bottom of the N3Ls. Perhaps the connections are trying to part ways, but the choice of spotting means they're after a win as well. MY TEE TIME is one-way speed that needs the lead. It's possible in this spot he gets eaten alive by other speed, but he was facing off against quarter claimers across town and was on the wrong side of a photo last time against much better company. Trainer has a 21% win rate on double drops, which MY TEE TIME is doing. One of the speeds that could make life awful for MY TEE TIME is ANYCHANCEATADANCE from the rail. Trainer De la Cerda is having a solid meet, hitting at 20% wins. He won last time against the N2L gang going gate to wire and predictably goes into the N3Ls. Stays at six panels, where he scored his victory. Retains rider F. Torres, who got the victory last time. Although he's one way-speed, he could be aided if Arlington develops into the inside-speed favoring no passing zone it can sometimes get.
#3 LIL MISS RICHIE (5/2)
#6 MY TEE TIME (7/2)
#1 ANYCHANCEATADANCE (9/2)
Longshot: This race welcomes back jockey R. Homeister, Jr. after a few weeks away due to a concussion. She's a rider upgrade over the prior riders and climbs aboard #7 FEATHERINTHEBREEZE (20/1) in this never won thrice event. A fair amount of speed is singed on for this race from the rail horse and the two to the most immediate left. Maybe this one gets a set up and picks them off down the lane. And perhaps Homeister's agent gave her a nice first mount back?
Race 2 -- $25K--$20K Maiden Claiming -- 5 furlongs on polytrack -- post time 1:32 PM CT
CARTIAC ARREST is another De la Cerda production (see above in the first race with an explanation of his successes), and the outside drawn horse uses his first call rider C. Roman in this spot, a combination hitting at a solid 23% win rate. Trainer hits the top three two-thirds of the time on the synthetic, and this one could easily improve from start one to start two. Dropping from maiden specials to maiden claiming may be the path to improved form for NEVRMESSWITHRICHIE. Trainer L. Rivelli is off to a bang-up start early in the meet and brings this one back off a layoff of over eight months. Entirely possible this one had some aches and pains, as there's nothing on the recorded worktab in the first half of the year. However, the fact he turns back to five-eighths after two starts across town last year at three-quarters and the long layoff have him keen, and perhaps that offsets the time away. TACTICAL KATIE has two five-furlong grass starts and two checks in those efforts. Goes turf-to-poly in this race, a 19% win proposition. Finished ahead of a next-out winner two back. Is worth noting that this one may be allergic to winning as this older mare has yet to graduate after twenty-one starts. But does have nine starts among the top three.
#8 CARTIAC ARREST (7/2)
#7 NEVRMESSWITHRICHIE (5/2)
#6 TACTICAL KATIE (3/1)
Longshot: Let's try a first time starter, #2 RAJA BREEZE (15/1). Trained and bred by J. Haran, this one debuts for a tag, which is a stronger category for Haran. Also in favor: the dam has already thrown a winner before. This is a field with some professional maidens (see: ORPHANELLIE, WAPANUCKA) and with a clean slate, there's perhaps a glimmer of upside.
Race 3 -- $25K N2L Claiming -- 6 1/2 furlongs on polytrack -- post time 2:04 PM CT
Local owners Midwest Thoroughbreds sent out an armada of horses at the Hawthorne Spring meet and won the Owners' title there with ease. But they're a far flung operation, with a base on the East Coast under the tutelage of Jamie Ness. Morning line favorite LEVY switches circuits but retains Midwest ownership. This one graduated last time on the Tapeta in Erie for $16K. The humans have figured out this horse likes synthetics: he's got a win, two seconds, and a third in his last tries at Presque Isle. Switching to Arlington polytrack may be an issue, but going to Brueggemann's barn (the Midwest trainer here) and acquiring F. Torres should alleviate concerns. RAFALE breaks from the outside stall in this claiming contest. After a bad break and no pace, he sputtered going a mile on the polytrack last time. Two back at six furlongs he was third in this level. K. Desormeaux was aboard two back and last out, and he's back up in this race. He has yet to win since coming to the states, but perhaps this N2L may be facile enough. Does the yo-yo form go back up? RICHARD'S TUNE drops in class this for this heat. After a win for $25,000 last fall at Hawthorne, he stepped up to "Diet N1X" allowances that are written as starter allowances. Two of those, no wins. He went up to the Illinois-bred N1X condition after that. Two more of those, no wins. Perhaps the connections have gotten realistic and put him back in the claiming ranks after those four starts. On pace figures his last race was quite good for the IL-bred gang, and a repeat of that makes him a player.
#3 LEVY (3/1)
#8 RAFALE (6/1)
#5 RICHARD'S TUNE (10/1)
Longshot: If the 10/1 morning line quote holds (which I don't think it will), a dangerous horse in this spot is #7 BADGER BAY (10/1). Even a price two-thirds of the morning line quote would be acceptable. You're putting on a top five rider (Geroux) on a horse that's a new face among horses with summer homes in N2L Land. Yes, you could have had this one for $15,000 last time. But that race was first off the layoff, and perhaps the light bulb has flicked on in this new campaign. Team rarely works together, but the one time they did was a winner earlier in the meet.
Race 4 -- $50K-$40K "B" Claimer -- 6 furlongs on polytrack -- post time 2:36 PM CT
KIPLING'S KING cleared the Illinois-bred first-level allowance condition last time and comes back here in this multiple-conditioned $50K claimer. Having graduated for $15K across town at Hawthorne, the connections have done a smart job spotting: using the "Diet N1X" condition at Hawthorne, using the statebred allowances. Five of eight lifetime and lateral rider switch to Martinez. ISLE OF SKYE isn't a three-year-old but has more than three wins. If you're wondering how he qualifies, any race for less than $32,500 doesn't count against the numerous conditions of the race. ("B" claimers: gotta love them!) So the fact he won a $16K N2L at Arlington last meet doesn't hold him down. He faced quality horses like Hogy (who you'll see in the Arlington sprint) and J J Garbar (who cashed a 4th place check in a minor stakes in Iowa) last year. Second of the shelf with hot humans both training and riding. EMILE was offered up for $16K last time by trainer W. Catalano in what appears to be a fire sale move. Three back at Hawthorne he got a set up and was second in the Land of Lincoln for state-breds. He cleared the first-level state-bred condition, and then was offered for $16K. Claimed out of that and pushed up to the $50K level, but the jockey/trainer team did strike at high odds in an off-the-turf allowance last week.
#6 KIPLING'S KING (7/2)
#3 ISLE OF SKYE (2/1)
#5 EMILE (9/2)
Longshot: Won't have ginormous odds, but #2 HELOOKSTHEPART (5/1) looks the part of a horse that's going through upward the conditions smartly. Toss the two-turn race at Prairie Meadows and you've got a horse with two wins and a fourth, along with being a last-out winner on the local polytrack in an N2L at today's distance. There are also a lot of forward types in this race, and he showed an ability to pull back and make a run, as per his last start.
Race 5 -- $14K-$12K Claimer -- 1 1/16 miles on turf -- post time 3:07 PM CT
Speed kills. Pace makes the race. Whatever saying you want, the on-paper lone speed here is EXCHANGING KISSES, who comes off a winter layoff. Once upon a time he was setting the pace in upper-crust allowances and minor stakes like the Carey Memorial. Now eight, you can claim him for a fraction of that. Torres/Miller combination have worked well before (think last year's G3 Modesty winner Romacaca), and hit around 20% wins. MYSTIC got "Desormaeuxed" last time when chasing down a lone speed on yielding ground. He moved evenly in the stretch and fell from third to fourth position by the time of the wire, no appearing to accelerate. There's no change in rider, but perhaps with a less giving course he can move forward. Drops a notch on the claiming ladder, too. HOODLUM is owned by Team Block, formerly trained by C. Block, but perhaps "Block Off" is an angle worth investigating given that Block hasn't his usual winning self this meet. Chased a slow pace last time and was third at a level higher, and a lateral rider switch to Mena in this claimer.
#5 EXCHANGING KISSES (5/2)
#10 MYSTIC (6/1)
#1A (POE) HOODLUM (6/1)
Longshot: Here, 12/1 does seem possible on #6 WHEN WILLY WIN (12/1), with brought to you by the Geroux/Scherbenske team that has only worked together three times since the start of the 2012 meet. It has one win out of three, however. More useful is a horse that's twelve of seventeen lifetime in the top three and whose only career turf start was a fourth in Texas behind two next out winners. Perhaps turf is in the lineage, and you can likely discard his first start of the year in Winnipeg.
Race 6 -- Illinois-Bred $15K-$10K Maiden Claiming -- 6 furlongs on polytrack -- post time 3:38 PM CT
Time for a spin on the bottom level maiden claiming wheel. Let's take seven-pound apprentice S. Colvin aboard STARTTHEBOLLROLLIN, who goes back to the polytrack and stretches out to six furlongs. Double drops from maiden $25K to $15K, open to in-state. Trainer hits at a decent 14% rate going from turf back to polytrack with a nearly break-even ROI. From age two to age three, NEELI BERLYN has improved some. Improved enough to get two second place finishes after Beyer Figures of one and zero (this is not a misprint; do not adjust your monitors). Retains Emigh in the saddle, third start of the form cycle. PINE LAKE last time plunged to the open $12,500 level last time and was third under Graham. Drops again, to state-bred company, and perhaps a rider switch to five-pound bug E. Esquivel will help. Best career race was last time at the low level, but also at five and a half on the local polytrack.
#6 STARTTHEBOLLROLLIN (5/1)
#7 NEELI BERLYN (5/2)
#3 PINE LAKE (9/2)
Longshot: Improvement in maiden races can often happen from start one to start two, and be quite dramatic. Considering that some horses have single digit last-out Beyers (again, not a misprint), improving isn't that hard. Nor when your first time figure is in the 30s. Second time starter #1 CALYPSOS VENGEANCE (12/1) has these things in his corner, and the connections hit nationally for a positive ROI. Under the radar humans (1-for-20 trainer, 9-for-73 rider) should keep the odds square.
Race 7 -- Starter ($10K)/Optional Claiming ($20K) -- 1 1/2 miles on turf -- post time 4:09 PM CT
A strange race that combines two conditions and sends them all going three turns. BLUEGRASS JAM was claimed for $14K last time and now goes for trainer Mike Dini. Off the claim and bumped a level to the $20K gang, where he was two back. He set the pace and threw in the towel, but that race did yield a next out winner. Three back on Illinois Derby Day he won a off-the-turf route with aplomb. Think he cycles back to that strong route win off the stretchout from a single-turn mile. Trainer shows a positive ROI off the claim. Part of entry with SIR KIPLING. ULTIMATE X. set early fractions (:27 opening quarter) on opening day you'd find at Maywood or Balmoral, not Arlington. Yet he won within a week after that start, for the other half of today's condition, rating off a :25 3/5 quarter with Desormeaux as the pilot. Desormeaux is back aboard in this marathon effort. Was only beaten 1 1/4 lengths against two fellow foes last time. PROFESSOR PALMER was third last time in a first-level allowance last time, but drops in today to the $10K starter level. Has a win in the wintertime for $25K at Gulfstream going nine furlongs. Trainer I. Mason is clicking at 15% overall, 18% on the grass for the meet. Wasn't discredited when cashing a check two back in an N1X on the Saturday before Memorial Day.
#1 (POE) BLUEGRASS JAM (12/1)
#7 ULTIMATE X. (4/1)
#5 PROFESSOR PALMER (5/2)
Longshot: One more time we take #5 PERFECTLY AT HOME (12/1), who drops in class in this spot. He beat a yucky Illinois-bred N2X on the opening weekend, and naturally stepped up to open N1X company. Two forgettable N1X races later, he's back in hybrid claimers/starters. However, he threw in a clunker on a wet track at Hawthorne on the dirt and of his most recent two grass races, his "yielding" turf race was worse than his "good" turf race. The class drop out of N1Xs should help, but insist on a dry course with this runner. Should it be dry enough, you'll get a runner that's won before at routes and whose sire excelled at ten panels.
Race 8 -- Arlington Sprint -- 5 1/2 furlongs on turf -- post time 4:40 PM CT
This quasi-G3 Arlington Sprint with a last-out G3 winner and three prior winners could be a doozy. In his four career turf tries, HOGY has three wins and a sixth. That sixth place finish came two back in the G3 Shakertown at Keeneland, where he endured a sneaky-bad trip and made a good closing rush at the end. Last time out over a local mile in the G3 Hanshin Cup on polytrack, he stalked off a pace from Nate's Mineshaft and bested a solid G3 type in Mister Mardi Gras and a next out winner in Minnesota in Hammers Terror. The 45-60 day pattern fits for the trainer/owner team of Becker/Stiritz, and he went from mile on the poly-to-sprint on the turf last year and won on the green. CHAMBERLAIN BRIDGE got marooned out in the middle of the course in the G3-quality Governor's Cup at Penn National. Two back he was beaten on the line on Kentucky Derby Day in a G3 on a course with give, and he won the 2010 Arlington Sprint on a wet course. He's a closer that's prone to trip trouble, but certainly benefits from breaking in the middle of the field, not on the outside. Defending champion SAINT LEON is the speed of the speed here. If Arlington Heights were under a drought and the turf were firmer I'd be smashing my piggy bank to bet on him. Problem: the course could be wet (it was rated "yielding" on Thursday), but it certainly has played very negatively to front speed. Issues aside, trainer M. Boyce is at her usual 20% strike rate, and he dusted off a quality bunch of locals last time in a zippy clock time.
#8 HOGY (3/1)
#5 CHAMBERLAIN BRIDGE (4/1)
#2 SAINT LEON (5/2)
Longshot: The three above are quite logical and figure to take much of the wagering. So take a look at #4 BATITO (20/1) if you're chalk-averse. Last time out on Belmont Stakes Day going six and one-half, he made a sustained closing run to get second and missed in a photo. That could be helpful if someone pushes SAINT LEON (QUE POSSE?) on the front end. Back on Belmont Day, BATITO missed to fellow entrant QUE POSSE. Two back he was on the right side of the photo ahead of SWEET LUCA, and that Block trainee won a $100K Illinois-bred stakes earlier this month. Rider switch to Geroux, who has been collecting wins on the Catalano train, not an issue.
Race 9 -- Illinois-bred N1X Allowance -- 6 furlongs on polytrack -- post time 5:11 PM CT
Ascending figures and a hot riding F. Torres (19 starts, 10 money finishes, 5 wins in the past week) lead to HE'SARULER. He's one-way speed in this spot, but he disposed of state-breds in a maiden special last time and takes the logical class bump up. E. Castro rode him last time, but switch to Torres makes total sense as both Castro and Torres share the same jockey agent. Has three money finishes in three Arlington synthetic starts. It's been a rough meet for trainer C. Block and his first-call rider, Eduardo Perez. The combination that usually hits about 15-20% winners, 50% money finishes is connecting way less--10% wins, 40% top three. Normally a 20% trainer, Block is sub-10%. So it's interesting that RADIANT DAY is the morning line favorite in this spot. He's cashed checks in his last two starts with Perez as pilot, and he's strung together four solid races. REIGNING CATFISH threw in a clunker last time in this condition, but things were against him as he had a bad break at the start, rushed up on a slow pace, and sputtered in the lane. Two back he earned career win number one in the Springfield Stakes, and there he chased and passed a loose-on-the-lead speed in a downpour. Think there's more pace here than last time and really think the last race isn't indicative of his best. Turns back to six panels after two starts at one-turn miles.
#5 HE'SARULER (6/1)
#6 RADIANT DAY (3/1)
#1 REIGNING CATFISH (5/1)
Longshot: Let's go for a natural double. The owner/trainer/jockey team of Stiritz/Becker/Emigh stand a solid chance in the race prior, the Arlington Sprint. In this first-level in-state allowance, they have #4 RAPPIN ROBBY (10/1). Cleared the N1X condition last time at Fairmount, but qualifies here under the "money won" condition in the race's condition since Fairmount purses are a fraction of Arlington's. He's a four time winner in the field, and sometimes knowing where the finish line is an asset in these screwball state-bred N1X races. Rub is that he's zero-for-four, with a third, over this track. However, that was last year and he may be bringing some downstate confidence into this spot.
Race 10 -- N3X/$80K Allowance Optional Claiming -- 5 1/2 furlongs on turf -- post time 5:42 PM CT
Could easily consider this a female complement of the Arlington Sprint earlier on the day. KIP BERRIES got a free lunch on the front end last time in a wire-to-wire score in the Isaac Murphy Handicap for state-breds and comes back in this upper-crust open allowance. Even though it's a turf sprint, there's not a lot 0f crazy-go-nuts speed, or if everyone decides to be a speed horse, KIP BERRIES projects the quickest of the bunch. Won at this condition last meet, so trainer T. Swearingen must put her up for sale (the "optional claiming" $80K) in this dash. PALAZZO BABE might have found the five furlongs a bit too short last time, as she cashed minor award checks not winners' checks at Churchill. With their meet closing, time to look at Churchill shippers coming north to Arlington. M. Lovell conditions this one that won twice going five-and-a-half on the New Orleans grass. BOUNDING BI was behind PALAZZO BABE twice at Churchill on their grass and follows PALAZZO BABE north. Third odd the layoff is a 20% win rate for the trainer of BOUNDING BI, and picking up F. Torres to ride is also a plus. If she can cycle back to her Autumn races at Parx and Keeneland, she can contend. Note that BOUNDING BI takes off the blinkers, a 25% trainer win situation.
#2 KIP BERRIES (3/1)
#7 PALAZZO BABE (7/2)
#3 BOUNDING BI (12/1)
Longshot: #11 GOLDWAY (15/1) comes from a cold C. Janks barn. How cold? Janks has four (yes, four) wins on the Arlington meet. However, third off the layoff for Janks and going route-to-sprint are situations that each hit at better than 20% wins. Not concerned over the rider switch from Homeister to five-pound apprentice Esquivel in this spot. Why? The two have won together within the past sixty starts.
Race 11 -- N1X Allowance -- One mile on Turf -- post time 6:13 PM CT
Trainer D. Sanner has thirty starts this year, seven wins, and seven more money finishes. Something must have been wacky on the toteboard when GABRIEL'S CAT won at 55-1 last time at Churchill in a $50K maiden claimer. Here's a (surprise) Churchill shipper going north, and note that he worked a "bullet", according to the clock, post race. Lures M. Mena to ride. RANSOM CANYON is brought to you by the Glen Hill Farm/Tom Proctor owner/trainer team. Was facing some questionable fields in Southern California, but does go second off the layoff after a sprint prep earlier in the meet. It's possible he needed the first start and is ready to fire here. Acquiring F. Torres is also a plus. Trainer W. Catalano has cooled off since his hot start, but he's still the leader of the trainers by bunches. Usually his barn heats up in July when he consolidates his operations here, uniting the locals and the Churchill runners. First call rider C. Hill (Hill/Catalano hit at a tongs-hot rate) is aboard on CONSPIRACY. Second off the layoff in this spot and gets back on the grass, where he graduated last summer at Saratoga. The humans involved make this a "use defensively" type.
#4 GABRIEL'S CAT (7/2)
#6 RANSOM CANYON (5/2)
#10 CONSPIRACY (5/1)
Longshot: Our runner needs help to get in the field, but #13 HE'S GOT TO RUN (AE) (30/1) has two recent checks on the Arlington turf, and he's rallied off slow paces before to get those checks. Esquivel rode him the last two times and stays up in this mount. The pace in the one-mile turf allowance projects much quicker in here, so his take-back style should help. This race features quite a few stagnant types, so why not this one from the weeds?
Be sure to check out Twitter (@heylaserbeam) for all-day on-the-scene updates at Arlington Park. Good luck!