The opener on the Arlington Million Day card is for three-year-olds going a mile on the polytrack for $65,000, the Straight Line Stakes. Straight Line was a double G3 winner at Churchill (Iroquois S., Ack Ack S.) and he zigzagged through the Midwest tracks, based locally out of the Brian Williamson barn. He earned nearly a half million dollars in twenty-six starts, winning ten times. He was also named Illinois Champion First Crop Sire in 2011.
Straight Line during his racing career. Photo courtesy ITBOF.
Arlington International - - Race 1 - - Straight Line Stakes - - One mile (one turn) on polytrack - - post time 12:45 pm CT
There are quite a few horses in this minor stakes that like to be on the front end. MONGOLIAN SATURDAY and CAMEO APPEARANCE come to mind as one-way speed. So perhaps it's a good idea to look away from the speed to a horse with closing ability.
POSITIVELY has only one all-weather race, last year in the Grade 1 Lane's End Breeders' Futurity where he made a wide move and flattened out in the stretch. As a three-year-old, his best races have come around one turn in long sprints at seven-eighths of a mile or a mile, and today's race should hit him between the eyes. Second last time at Churchill to a next out winner at Saratoga that's being pointed for a $175K stakes. POSITIVELY can from behind like he did last out, a plus with the one-way speed. FORDUBAI was second three back in the G3 Illinois Derby to Departing (who a week ago won the WV Derby by a zip code) at big odds. Taken to the turf next in the G3 Arlington Classic, he showed some press and attack and checked in last. Discard the turf race and wheel back to his dirt races earlier in the year at cross-town Hawthorne and his polytrack race last time in a second-level allowance where he beat older. He'll need to stay away from the potentially pace, however. GROUND TRANSPORT came out of the strongest region in the Kentucky Derby prep races--New Orleans. He chased around Departing, Revolutionary and Free World (won a $200K stakes on the grass at Indiana Downs) during the winter and was ninth in the Illinois Derby. First off the freshening since April, but trainer M. Stidham is 20% at that strategy, as well as going from dirt to polytrack.
#4 POSITIVELY (10/1)
#1A FORDUBAI (7/2)
#7 GROUND TRANSPORT (5/1)
Won't talk off those that read the yutz above and back POSITIVELY, also considering local Illinois-based connections that would be thrilled to win a stakes on Million Day and were responsible for Take Charge Indy most recently. But if you really want to live dangerously, try the other Stidham horse in #8 CARSON'S CROWN (12/1). Only one win on the docket, but three seconds and three thirds from a runner that likely will get a good outside spot flanking speed. Rider upgrade to Prado in this spot as well. Two prior local sprints may have him cran