Today's seventh at Arlington is a maiden special weight for two-year-old fillies, going five and a half furlongs on the dirt. The race drew a field of nine: a mix of once-raced juveniles and first time starters, a mix of stalwart Illinois families and deep roots from elsewhere.
For context, the field does have several pairs of uncoupled entries that have connections to each other -- in fact, Kajawa (6) is the only loner, if you will. Ultra Mission (1) and Craft Show (7) are both trained by Jim Gulick, and are both Virginia H. Tarra Trust homebreds. (As one might guess, given that they are Tarra homebreds, both are from the family of Giant Oak.) Locash (2) and American Biz (5) are both owned and trained by David Reid. Though Fend (3) hails from the Eoin Harty barn and Carnival Colors is trained by Mike Stidham, both are homebreds for Godolphin. Chrome Attack (4) and Southern Attack (8), both trained by James Childers, were bred by Donald McCrosky and owned by Lois McCrosky. McCrosky farm stands the sire of both, Forest Attack.
- ULTRA MISSION (9/2) - Ultra Mission is by first-crop sire Noble Mission. Noble Mission, a full brother to Frankel who was a three-time Group 1 winner in his own right, excelled going ten to twelve furlongs on grass. His progeny are inheriting his acumen for turf, acquitting themselves nicely in the shorter two-year-old races (his average winning distance so far is 5.31 furlongs), though polytrack remains a question. Underneath, her dam Market Buzz is an After Market half-sister to MG1W Giant Oak. That family has proven it can be any kind surface-wise; like Giant Oak himself, his relatives have shown form and class on all-weather, dirt, and grass. The biggest question with Ultra Mission is the distance: Market Buzz's only win came at a mile and a sixteenth turns on polytrack, after a few starts at age three. Her only other foal to race (Market Top, by Cape Blanco) has her only win to date going a mile on grass.
- LOCASH (15/1) - Locash is by first-crop sire Cairo Prince, whose two winners so far (Abyssinian and Prince Pierce) have gotten their diplomas on dirt. She is the first starter out of the Dixie Union mare, Cash In Hand. Cash In Hand didn't race at two; she won fourth-out at three, going long on dirt. Her full sister, Union Cash, was stakes-placed at two turns on dirt, but also won going five furlongs on dirt. Digging deeper into her family reveals some affinity for going long on grass. Locash has raced once over the polytrack; in her July 13 debut she was fractious in the gate, showed nothing early, but ran on with some verve late in the five-furlong race. That may suggest she's figuring it out -- or it may suggest, like so many in her family, she may want to go long. The extra half-furlong will help today, but she may want even more.
- FEND (5/1) - This filly is by Street Sense -- who showed precocity and talent when unleashed over the synthetic track at Arlington during his juvenile year. His babies can run on it, too; just this year he has eight synthetic-track winners out of just 24 to try an all-weather surface, including The Lieutenant, a half-brother to Justify who won the G3 All American Stakes over the Golden Gate Tapeta. Fend is the second foal out of her dam, Goaltending (A. P. Indy). She has a full brother, Call West, who did not debut until he was three. He won first time out, going six and a half furlongs on the Santa Anita dirt, in a maiden special that was washed off the hill. Looking deeper in the family unveils layers upon layers of sprinting class: Fend's second dam is G1W/MGSW sprinter Game Face, her fourth dam is MG1P sprinter Harbour Club, and Harbour Club is the second dam of Verdana Bold, a stakes winning/GSP synthetic track sprinter, and proven synthetic track producer.
- CHROME ATTACK (10/1) - This filly is one of a pair in here by Illinois sire Forest Attack. Forest Attack was a stone-cold polytrack sprinter -- he could stretch out a little longer if the moment was right, including in his one stakes victory, in the Dust Commander Stakes at Turfway. Still, he did most of his best work going short over the polytrack at Turfway and Keeneland. Sprinting has suited the Forest Attack babies best; even with his first crop being six now, his average progeny winning distance is just 5.8 furlongs. On the dam side, she is out of an unraced Kitten's Joy mare, Facelift, whose only other foal to race is Illini Kitten (The Bold Bruiser). Illini Kitten has struggled at three and four, but showed her best form at two -- she won third-time out in a five and a half furlong maiden special at Fairmount in August of her two-year-old year. Digging further back into Facelift's family suggests turf: her second dam produced Richmond Stakes (G2) winner Hamoody -- the Richmond is a six-furlong turf sprint for juveniles. Other relatives did well with age and distance, including turf routers Northern Style, Stylish Star, and Synchrony.
- AMERICAN BIZ (15/1) - This filly is by first-crop sire Fed Biz, whose three winners include Madison's Quarters -- an Ian Wilkes trainee who graduated at five furlongs on the Arlington poly on July 13. American Biz has raced once before -- she brought up the rear in that same race Madison's Quarters won. She needs to improve significantly off that effort to win here, though there is some suggestion on the dam side that American Biz can move forward soon. She is out of American Megan, a producer of five winners out of seven to start. Out of those five winners, two (Meghan W and Secret Rose) won at age two, and four of them (Meghan W, Secret Rose, Quiet Ruler, and Curiousncuriouser) needed either two or three starts to get their diploma.
- KAJAWA (8/1) - This filly is by first-crop sire Cross Traffic. He has five winners of thirteen to start so far, all sprinting, preliminarily suggesting that he makes precocious foals. (Funny, for a stallion who didn't race until age four!) Cross Traffic has no winners on an all-weather surface, yet, making that an open question. Kajawa is the first to race out of her dam Milagra (Maria's Mon); Milagra herself was a four-time winner, all at six furlongs on dirt, though she didn't get off the mark until her twelfth start. Though Milagra raced before the days of synthetic tracks, all-weather acumen has emerged in the family. Kajawa is half to Bear Holiday (Harlan's Holiday), a first-out winner at two who subsequently won a pair of juvenile polytrack sprint stakes at Woodbine in 2007. She is also from the family of Behindatthebar, winner of the 2008 Lexington S. (G3) over the Keeneland polytrack.
- CRAFT SHOW (3/1) - Craft Show is by Creative Cause out of Crafty Oak -- making her a three-quarters sister to Giant Oak, as they share the same dam and Creative Cause is by Giant Oak's sire, Giant's Causeway. Creative Cause was well bred for distance and most of his progeny have shown a desire to go long -- but, that's not an absolute. They do err long -- even for two-year-olds, Creative Cause's average winning distance is 6.29 furlongs. But, Creative Cause was himself a stakes winner at six and a half furlongs at age two, and he sired G3W dirt sprinter Skyler's Scramjet and stakes-placed juvenile turf sprinter Baytown Macca. On the dam side, as mentioned with relative Ultra Mission, the family is proven on all surfaces, though leans toward going long. Crafty Oak is a proven producer of winners -- all twelve to start have won. Two, Giant Oak and Little Star (Forestry), won on debut. Both won on debut at two, though only Little Star did so at a sprint distance, six furlongs on dirt. (Giant Oak won on debut at a turf mile.).
- SOUTHERN ATTACK (20/1) - This is the other Forest Attack baby in the field, so the sire notes under Chrome Attack hold here, too. On the underside, dam Southern Wonder has yet to produce a winner in three starters. However, she produced Prince Abubu (also by Forest Attack), who has been second thrice in six starts -- including a second-place outing, at second asking, over the Arlington polytrack last year. Southern Wonder herself was precocious, winning at first asking at age three, sprinting on the Hawthorne dirt. Digging further back into the family reveals a bit of two-year-old class; her third dam Dance Song produced Ski Dancer (Baldski), who was twice graded stakes place in dirt sprints at Del Mar at age two.
- CARNIVAL COLORS (5/2) - This filly debuts. She is by Distorted Humor, whose progeny win at a rock-solid 16% rate first time out. On all-weather, his progeny have been respectable as well: 15.2% winners in 1172 all-time starts. Carnival Colors is the first to race out of her dam Carnival Court, though a three-year-old full sister Carnival Lass is on the worktab at Saratoga. Carnival Court's family is all class: Carnival Court is a Street Sense half-sister to champion Royal Delta and graded stakes winners Delta Prince and Crown Queen. Carnival Court won second time out, though three others out of her dam won on debut. Empire Way won a six and a half furlong juvenile sprint over the Del Mar polytrack at first asking, and Royal Delta won on debut at the one-turn dirt mile at Belmont. Though so much of the family is route class, this filly is bred closely to a precocious sprinter -- Khozan, who is by Distorted Humor out of Delta Princess, Carnival Colors's second dam. Raced just two times in his career, he blazed to victory over seven-furlong and one-turn mile trips at Gulfstream.
Kajawa appeals strongly, and will almost certainly be an overlay. The pedigree shines, both in terms of winning early and in terms of sprinting on the polytrack. Trainer Michael Reavis is firing at 16% with first-time starters and 18% with debut runners in maiden special weights, both with positive ROI. The long, slowish works are no concern -- they're business as usual for Reavis horses, and they're posted regularly. All in all, in a competitive race, she's the best win bet in the field.
Carnival Colors will likely be the favourite, and with good reason. Trainer Mike Stidham wins at 20% with debut runners in maiden special weight company, and has been doing characteristically well (4 of his last 11 winning, 7 of his last 11 in the money) with his "A" jockey Mitchell Murrill. The family is all class, there is win-early lurking there, and just enough whiffs of sprint pedigree to suggest that she not only can have upside later, but she could pop first-out. She'll be a short price, but it would be no surprise to see her run to it.
Fend has strong appeal on pedigree: she has synthetic-track acumen top and bottom, and comes from a deep and classy sprinting family. She'll be the second-string Godolphin, and the 0-18 mark for trainer Eoin Harty on the meet concerns. But, she ought to at least hit the board, and belongs in underneath rungs of exactas and trifectas.
The uncoupled Gulick horses deserve a look -- even though both are bred so well to go long, Gulick has been having a hot meet, and his debut runner Crafty's Dream (by Bodemeister out of Cause She's Crafty, making her from the same family as Ultra Mission and Craft Show) just missed in her five-furlong debut on July 13 with Sophie Doyle aboard. On pedigree, Ultra Mission appeals more first-out because of Noble Mission's success with juvenile sprinters this year, but Sophie Doyle's presence on Craft Show suggests she's the "A". Both have worlds of upside going longer. But, today? It's hard to love either on top unless Craft Show drifts well above her 3/1 morning line, though both have underneath claims.
The other four horses, all with one start under them, will be the longest prices in the group. Among the outsiders, Locash appeals most. She was running on well late in her last, and has a right to improve based on both general second-start progression as well as the possibility for her to behave better at the gate this time.
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