ARLINGTON HEIGHTS -- The northwest suburban oval staged its traditional features for two-year-old horses on a warm, humid early-September afternoon. Both races, the Arlington-Washington Futurity and Arlington-Washington Lassie, were contested at one mile around one turn on the polytrack.
Arlington-Washington Futurity: All About SOLITARY RANGER
The first was the open company Futurity, a Grade 3 with a purse of $150,000 that saw seven in the box. Favoritism bounced between WHYRUAWESOME, SOLITARY RANGER, and HIGH ROLL in the pre-race stages, with HIGH ROLL being sent off as the slight 3.20-1 favorite. WHYRUAWESOME was the second choice at the same odds.
The early lead would be set by stretchout sprinter LOTSA MISCHIEF, and he dictated a zesty early pace of :22.89 for the quarter, :46.43 for the half. LOTSA MISCHIEF would have company on the front end from SOLITARY RANGER, who broke alertly and was pressing just off the leader. When the three-quarters time of 1:11.95 was posted, the leadership baton had passed to SOLITARY RANGER.
From there, SOLITARY RANGER would remain in front. The zesty pace got the closers involved, but the damage was done and trainer Wayne Catalano would notch his third victory in the G3 Arlington-Washington Futurity. Florent Geroux was in the irons on the two-year-old by U S Ranger that was sent off as the third choice on the toteboard at 7-2. He returned $9.00 to win and won by 5 1/2 lengths. It also served as the first career win for SOLITARY RANGER, who covered the one-turn mile in 1:38.17.
WHYRUAWESOME closed from the rear to be second, 6 3/4 lengths ahead of CEE 'N O. CAPTAINS AFFAIR completed the superfecta, another 1 3/4 lengths behind the top three. 3.20-1 post time favorite HIGH ROLL was fifth.
Winning rider Florent Geroux commented that SOLITARY RANGER "broke very sharp. I just tried to nurse him around the turn and he got very relaxed. When I asked him, he went all for it and won very easy."
Winning trainer Wayne Catalano noted how SOLITARY RANGER had been working over the local surface and that those local works, along with starting on his home turf, led him to point SOLITARY RANGER to the Arlington-Washington Futurity. He instructed Geroux "to use his own judgement but whatever you do don't move too early."
Catalano, in further post-race discussions, plans to pre-enter SOLITARY RANGER in both Breeders' Cup events for two-year-old males: the BC Juvenile and BC Juvenile Turf. However, he didn't disclose what race would be used as a steppingstone to the Breeders' Cup in early November.
The $2 4-6 exacta of SOLITARY RANGER and WHYRUAWESOME paid $42.60. The fifty-cent 4-6-1 trifecta of SOLITARY RANGER, WHYRUAWESOME, and CEE 'N O yielded $65.00. Dime superfectas with CAPTAIN'S AFFAIR in the fourth slot gave $59.69 to their backers.
Arlington-Washington Lassie: SHE'S OFFLEE GOOD is Good
The female-restricted Lassie saw eleven in the gate for a pot of $100,000. The race lost its grade from the prior year, now carrying Listed status. The loss of grade didn't stop the race from being a competitive affair.
When the latch sprang, BATTLEFIELD ANGEL and Illinois-bred LOOK WHO'S HERE both had awkward breaks. Meanwhile, RICHIES SWEETHEART grabbed the early lead and dictated zippy early fractions of :22.66, :45.50, and 1:10.89 for the opening quarter, half, and three-quarters. Such an early pace would be too hot to handle, and the closers had a fortuitous set-up. The 6-5-8 horses at the first and second calls would be the ones making the charge from the back. One of those making the rally off the quick sub-:46 half was SHE'S OFFLEE GOOD, who was the recipient of a lot of early tote money. So was 3-1 post time favorite MARIA MARIA. So was SWEETSOUTHERNDAME.
On the second turn, ISTANFORD had survived the quick pace and would be the last to yield, even gaining a brief lead in the stretch. MARIA MARIA was making a closing rally from the inside. Four wide came SHE'S OFFLEE GOOD. Widest of all were GUMDROP and SWEETSOUTHERNDAME.
The inside-outside move from SHE'S OFFLEE GOOD was the best move, and she would earn the victory in the Arlington-Washington Lassie by two lengths. Eddie Castro piloted the two-year-old filly by Offlee Wild to victory for conditioner Richie Scherer. Sent off as the fourth choice at 5-1 odds even with early action, she rewarded her supporters to the tune of $12.20 win returns. Final time for the one-turn mile was 1:37.98.
Two lengths behind the Lassie winner was SWEETSOUTHERNDAME. MARIA MARIA, TAMAZULA, and ISTANFORD were the 3-4-5 finishers and all were about a half-length of the second place finisher, with a lengthy photo deliberation needed for exact placements. The official margins, top down, were a nose, a neck, and a neck.
Winning rider Eddie Castro "knew there was a lot of speed up front and the pace would be fast. At the three-eighths, I knew I had a lot of horse and she had a nice response the last part."
Winning trainer Richie Scherer pointed SHE'S OFFLEE WILD to the Arlington-Washington Lassie as a potential backyard stakes demonstration for a filly with strong works over the Arlington synthetic. Further, she would be showing her wares to a solid local ownership group. That group saw a filly that "does everything you ask her to. I know she can rate so it was all [jockey] Eddie [Castro's] race. For a second I thought she was getting late and tired but then she dug in and went on by."
Scherer plans to consider, and nominate to, the G1 $400,000 Alcibaides Stakes on October 4, the opening day of the Keeneland Fall meet.
The $2 5-11 exacta of SHE'S OFFLEE WILD and SWEETSOUTHERNDAME netted $118.40. The fifty-cent 5-11-9 trifecta of SHE'S OFFLEE WILD, SWEETSOUTHERNDAME, and MARIA MARIA paid $170.35. Dime 5-11-9-3 superfectas with TAMAZULA in the fourth position returned $184.30.
All Photos courtesy Four Footed Fotos.
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