Illinois Owners' Stakes Preview

Sometimes the conditions of a race (printed at the top of a program or past performance sheet, or in a condition book) look like strange jibber-jabber.

This week's stakes at Arlington Park is a good example. Here's how the conditions read:

Purse $65,000. For Three-Year-Olds And Upward, Where At Least 51% Of The Horses' Recorded Ownership Is Registered To An Owner Whose Illinois Racing Board License Registration Reflects An Address In The State Of Illinois And Said Horse's Illinois Owner Must Have Owned At Least 51% Of The Horse Prior To February 15, 2013 In Order To Be Eligible To Run In The Race. One Mile.

The purse ($65K), age restriction (three-year-olds and older), surface (turf), and distance (one mile) are given.  That's not out of the ordinary. What about the rest? Well, if at least 51% (that is, a majority) of the ownership is based in Illinois, the horse qualifies for this race.

In other words: If the horse's sole owner is Illinois-based, the horse is eligible for the race. If a majority of the ownership group (or syndicate) of a horse is Illinois-based, the horse qualifies.   It's different from a state-bred race in that the ownership location, not the breeding location, is the determinant.  (Example: A Kentucky-bred with Illinois-based owners can run here, but couldn't run in an Illinois-bred race.)

Note that the restricted stakes in this preview, which conditions as described above, is the feature on the Saturday, September 21 program.  At publish time, the rail on the turf will be set to Lane 5.  Note that there was a females-only race schedule, but will not be contested on account of too few runners.

At original publish time, morning line odds were not released. (They were added on Sept. 19).

Arlington Park -- Race 8 -- Charles Springer Memorial Illinois Owners' Stakes -- One Mile on turf -- post time 4:30 pm CT

This race is named for Charles "Charlie" Springer, a former exercise rider at Hawthorne Race Course and Arlington Park who was a stable associate in the Frank Springer (Charles was Frank's son) barn at the time the elder Springer had 2002 Illinois Derby winner War Emblem under shedrow.  War Emblem after the Illinois Derby was purchased privately, turned over to trainer Bob Baffert, and won the first two legs of the Triple Crown.

Trainer Tom Amoss is one of Midwest Thoroughbreds' trainers (another is Roger Brueggemann, who typically rules the roost at Hawthorne), and Amoss made the decision to scratch THE PIZZA MAN from last week's open stakes worth $150,000 (the Franklin-Simpson Mile), to run for less than half that in a restricted stakes.  It's a decision made more interesting in that Amoss stays as the trainer on record (rather than turning the horse back over to on-grounds Brueggemann).   I think Amoss tipped his hand that THE PIZZA MAN is sitting on a winning race.  He had tons of trouble three back, and chased around the likes of Coalport and Dark Cove.  Neither are here and this one-run closer will get pace to attack.  One horse making the pace is NATES MINESHAFT.  He beat a stakes-quality field on yielding ground at today's distance and surface--one mile on Arlington grass--two back.  It appears he ran dreadfully to report home twelfth last out, but instead it was representative.  He ran his race in the Arlington Million.  The problem is that the pace was a lot quicker, he showed his normal early run, and the field was a lot tougher.  It was a mountain too high, and now NATE'S MINESHAFT is back in a more realistic spot.  Discard that Million against tougher and a Hanshin Cup he needed for fitness four back and he's done nothing wrong.  MR. VEGAS returns to Arlington Park after a trip to Saratoga to ta ke own New York-breds (Recall: he qualifies based on ownership.)  Two back he was third to NATES MINESHAFT in that strong July allowance, and also finishing ahead of him that day was Trend, who was the recent runner-up in the Franklin-Simpson Mile.  MR. VEGAS goes third start off the layoff for a trainer that's quietly having a good Arlington meet.  If he can recapture the form he had in 2012 in New Orleans he'll be a player.  But insist on a turf course not rated "firm" before using MR. VEGAS.  (Alternate suggestion: TAZZ if it's a drier course).

Selections:

#3 THE PIZZA MAN (3/1)

#5 NATES MINESHAFT (7/2)

#6 MR. VEGAS (6/1)

Longshot:

The Longshot pick falls under the adage of "you don't get a second chance to make a first impression".  #4 SWEET LUCA (10/1) nailed on the line a highly-hyped sprinter turned next-out winner (and future stakes winner at Fairmount) in Work All Week two back in the Cammack. Then he ran fourth last time in a good three-other-than allowance behind a once-upon-a-time Arlington-Washington Futurity winner, a next out winner and a statebred-stakes level horse.  SWEET LUCA goes first time two turns, and he did handle the mile distance okay last year, albeit around one turn, when hitting the board on Million Day for sixty-five grand.  This might be a disposable prep for an Illinois-bred stakes in the fall at Hawthorne, but he rarely runs a bad one and he'll get a pace target to run down.

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