Winner of the 1994 Beverly D., Hatoof took a winning performance in suburban Chicago along with a runner-up showing in that year's Breeders' Cup Turf against males and used that to nail down honors as that year's Female Turf Champion. Hatoof also won the G1 E. P. Taylor Stakes in Canada two years prior. Over in Europe, Hatoof won major races there like the Prix de Opera.
The Hatoof Stakes is for three-year-old fillies and serves as the local feeder to the G3 Pucker Up Stakes in September, that race itself a steppingstone to the G1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland. A feeder to the feeder, this race has a pot of $75,000. Twenty horses entered, but the race was split into two divisions that will bookend the day's major stakes. Both divisions are picked and pondered below.
Arlington International -- Race 6 - - Hatoof Stakes (First Division) - - About 1 1/16 miles on turf - - post time 3:21 pm CT
It's been a rough year for Chris Block, normally a 15-25% all starters trainer at Arlington that is only hitting at around 9% for all starters. One bright spot for Block has been in grass races, and we're on the weeds in this small stakes. MY OPTION closed off a slow pace set by Gold Edge (who goes in the second division) last time out in the Grade 3 Arlington Oaks. The only time she wasn't a winner this year was two back in the Purple Violet where she was outside of her comfort zone: forced to rally outside on a day where inside positions were dominant and forced closer to the pace on a day where speed was dominant. Even then, she was still only a half length behind BOLD KITTEN. She's the best sophomore state-bred filly in Illinois until proven otherwise. LIZ PENDENS went back to the turf last time in a second level allowance against older, reporting home with a third place finish. Nothing wrong with cashing a check in an allowance, but the second place finisher, Left A Message, recently won a stakes at Woodbine. On paper the race is a two-speed number and she's the speed of the speed. BOLD KITTEN beat my option two back in the Purple Violet when she got the inside position on a speed-favoring trip. Twice before at three and once before at two, MY OPTION has beaten her, all in stakes company including the Arlington Oaks. It's likely that MY OPTION is better, but BOLD KITTEN is one of many in the armada of Kitten's Joy offspring owned by the Ramseys and trained locally by Catalano. With two speeds in here on the endpoint posts, think she's closer to the action and able to come closer to her Purple Violet than her Arlington Oaks.
#5 MY OPTION (3/1)
#10 LIZ PENDENS (9/2)
#3 BOLD KITTEN (5/1)
Longshot: #9 MISS SCOUT (12/1) exists a second in a listed stakes for fifty grand more over at Indiana Downs, where she closed off a quick opening split and honest interior (1/2, 3/4) pace to be runner up. Two back she broke the maiden over at Indiana Downs. All because Trainer A. Granitz put this one closer to the pace after she floundered down south and the form perked up north. Think similar tactics could lead to a carryover of form from Indiana.
Arlington International -- Race 11 - - Hatoof Stakes (Second Division) - - About 1 1/16 miles on turf - - post time 6:26 pm CT
While the first division was a two-speed number, this one appears have a quicker cadence on the front end. Two weeks ago Channing Hill went to Canterbury in Minnesota to accept a non-Catalano ride on EDEN PRAIRIE, and he has the return call in this division of the Hatoof. Tough trip up in Minnesota last time and toss the race two back against Kitten's Dumplings, a filly that would make mince meat of this bunch. With strong pace figures from both bad races, think she gets the lead she needs and makes noise at the end. Arlington Oaks runner-up (the winner is in the first division) FRIVOLOUS was 12-1 and only beaten a short margin last time out on the polytrack. Her only turf start was two back and she graduated, but she pressed off the pace that day, then was more one-run closer type last out at nine furlongs. There is a lot of pace on the front end, but she could get the set up. The higher odds and more forwardly placed of the Chris Block runners gets the call here with ALETTE, who showed an ability to rate when clearing the first-level allowance and was beaten in a photo two back. J. Sanchez fits this filly who was third (though beaten a bunch) three back in the Purple Violet to My Option and Bold Kitten (they're in the first division). Sanchez/Block is a jockey/trainer team that doesn't hit with high frequency, but does provide good bang for your buck.
#3 EDEN PRAIRIE (9/2)
#9 FRIVOLOUS (5/2)
#8 ALETTE (10/1)
Longshot: Not often you get double digit morning line quotes on a Ramsey-owned horse, but that happens with #1 ALWAYS KITTEN (10/1). Mike Maker trains, Rosie Napravnik rides, and that's the same quality connections that won the G3 Stars and Stripes last month over the local green. This could be a race with a lot of runners that go to the lead and this one's best game is closing off the pace. Though trip dependent and purely a one-run type, she does get class relief after an even run in the G3 Virginia Oaks last out.