Thursday's Arlington card features a pair of two-year-old maiden races. and we're tackling the maiden special weight first. The third race of the day is a maiden special weight for Illinois-bred juveniles, sprinting on the polytrack. The race features mostly new faces, as five of the six horses in the race are entered to make their debut.
In a separate piece, we tackle Race 4 on the card, a maiden claiming turf mile for juveniles.
Race 3: Maiden special weight, two-year-olds, Illinois-registered, five and a half furlongs on the polytrack, post time 2:15pm CDT
The only horse in this race who has yet started is Cast a Stone from the Gary Delong barn; he has run twice, both times in polytrack sprints, and been unplaced both times. However, both of those races came in open maiden special weights, so this is a class drop.
Trainer Larry Rivelli has entered a pair of first-time starters. He conditions both Brilliant Richie and Ravin's Treasure. His "A" rider nowadays, Jose Valdivia, has the call on Brilliant Richie. E. T. Baird, a solid maiden rider and one who once rode for Rivelli a lot, takes the call on Ravin's Treasure.
Also worth noting is that Victor Carrero is named to ride Can't Stop the Cat. Carrero has 462 wins in 4,796 starts between 2001 and 2015, but has not ridden races since July 2015 at Parx.
- PRINCE ATTACK (20/1) - This colt is a first-time starter by Forest Attack, a sire who has yet to produce a debut winner. However, the sprint distance should suit, and the polytrack isn't a minus, given that Forest Attack loves poly and he's starting to have some progeny who can hold their own at Arlington. The underside of her pedigree further underscores taking a wait-and-see approach. Dam Laynee Bug (Behrens) was unraced at two, and winless in 17 career starts. Her only runner so far has gotten off the mark. Kingsbury Dream -- a full sister to Prince Attack -- graduated in her tenth career start, a six-furlong dirt sprint at Fairmount. In four starts at age two, Kingsbury Dream was unplaced. Second dam Ghost Queen (Silver Ghost) won at third asking at age two, in a six-and-a-half-furlong dirt sprint at Ellis; she went on to win two more dirt sprints that year, including the Hoosier Debutante Stakes. Ghost Queen went on to produce four winners -- including Mrs Cindy's Walkin (Cactus Ridge), who won a six-and-a-half-furlong polytrack sprint at age two.
- BRILLIANT RICHIE (5/2) - Sire Brilliant Speed's progeny win at a solid enough 11% rate, though the five-and-a-half-furlong distance is on the short side for his progeny. Dam Richysthunderingal has only one other runner -- Thundering Richie (Brethren) eventually won, but didn't race at age two, showed nothing in two polytrack starts for usually-reliable maiden trainer Rivelli, and didn't get off the mark until heading down to Fairmount and getting a few dirt sprints there under his belt. Dam Richysthunderingal (Thunder Gulch) was, like Brilliant Richie, a Rivelli trainee. She didn't race at two, graduated fourth-out at three, and showed aptitude over polytrack and turf at both extended one-turn as well as two-turn trips. Second dam Monopoly (Dixieland Band) doesn't suggest a lot of precocity: her only win came at age five in her eleventh career start, and of her four horses to race, she does not have any two-year-old winners. Her daughter Smart Trade (Smart Strike), however, did win on debut at age three, in a turf mile at Gulfstream -- by a head over well-related Single Solution, an eventual G3 winner.
- GOLD'SWAY (9/5) - This colt is by Midnight Lute, whose progeny win 10% of the time on debut, but whose babies tend to need a bit more time and distance to develop into themselves. If the name "Gold'sway" rings a bell, it means you probably followed Chicago racing through the first half of this decade -- he is the first foal out of the multiple stakes-placed Illinois-bred Goldway (Champali). Though Goldway didn't graduated until a turf mile at age three, in her sixth start, she finished second in her first two starts at two, both in polytrack sprints. Second dam Margies Connection (Just a Cat) has produced seven starters so far, all winners, though Goldway boasts the best juvenile form of any of them. The family has been versatile. Though much of Goldway's siblings' form has come at two turns on grass, Goldway's full sister Beeway showed good form sprinting on dirt, turf, or polytrack. Other Margie's Connection foals have shown versatility, too: Wayaway (Stroll) has won on dirt, turf, and polytrack over both sprint and route distances, Afleet Connection (Northern Afleet) has found her best in extended sprints on Tapeta. So, though he may improve with age, the dam side of his pedigree suggests he could turn out to be anything.
- CAN'T STOP THE CAT (5/1) - This debut runner is by Run Away and Hide, a 13% first-time starter sire. He is a respectable 53-142 lifetime with juveniles, and sprints tend to suit them. To win at two, he will have to take far more after his sire's progency than his dam's. Dam Sir Catalack (Sir Cat) did not race at two, graduated second-out at three in a dirt sprint at Fairmount, and succeeded at both one turn and two there in Collinsville. She has two winners in three starters, including full brother Cat's Runaway. Cat's Runaway was unplaced in his only start at two, but returned to win a five-furlong dirt sprint at Hawthorne in his sophomore debut and was third in the Springfield Stakes at one mile on polytrack later in the year. Half-brother Sircorri (El Corredor) was unplaced in two starts at two, and finally graduated at tenth asking at age four. Second dam Fantaskra (Naskra) took ten tries to break her maiden, and only placed once in five starts as a juvenile. She produced ten winners of twelve to race, but only two graduated at two: Irish Zeal (Unreal Zeal) and Sultry Shadow (Sultry Song).
- CAST A STONE (20/1) - This colt is by Birdstone, whose foals tend to get better with time and distance, and whose foals only number 64 two-year-old winners among 222 juvenile starters. Dam Zipping Away (City Zip) did not raced at two, and won at sixth asking at age four going a mile on the Arlington poly. Zipping Away was a sprinter-miler who won over polytrack, turf, and dirt during her career. Cast a Stone is the second starter out of his dam; her only other starter, Temple Zip (Temple City), is unplaced in five starts. Second dam Wild Note (Wild Again), a half-sister to mainly-turf-route sire Skipshot (Skip Away), produced six winners of seven to start; none won at age two.
- RAVIN'S TREASURE (2/1) - This colt is from the second crop of 2011 Secretariat Stakes winner Treasure Beach, a 10% first-time starter sire. His progeny have shown some two-year-old form, including Decorated Ace, recent winner of the Sorority Stakes at a mile on the Monmouth lawn. As would befit a son of Galileo, Treasure Beach's progeny are appreciating distance and turf. Dam Fast Punch N Judy (Two Punch) won at third asking for Rivelli in a six-furlong dirt sprint at Mountaineer; she did not race at two. Though four of the five starters out of Fast Punch N Judy have won, none have done so at first asking (though all debuted for generally strong two-year-old trainer Rivelli), and only Punchyourlitesout (Pomeroy) won at two, at second asking in a five-furlong polytrack sprint. Second dam Too Fast to Catch (Nice Catch) won at fourth asking at age two. She produced 12 winners and three stakes winners among 13 foals to race, including inimitable dirt (and occasionally turf) router Eighttofasttocatch (Not For Love). Five of Too Fast to Catch's babies won at age two, all of whom broke their maidens in dirt sprints.
This race doesn't have any real pedigree standouts -- there are some well-bred horses in this race, but no major stand-outs from a precocity standpoint. It's particularly strange that usually-strong two-year-old trainer (and debut runner trainer) Larry Rivelli hasn't fired first out with half-siblings to Brilliant Richie or Ravin's Treasure. At least Goldway, the dam of Gold'sway, showed some of the better juvenile form of her close family.
The aforementioned #3 Gold'sway gets the nod. He has some sharp works, some works longer than the actual race, and (most importantly) his workouts have been posted in a nice, regular pattern since they began in late June. He also races for trainer Michele Boyce, who tends to fly under the radar with first-time starters. She has won with six of her last 27 debut runners, with a +$2.68 ROI during that time.
As for the pair of Rivelli horses -- it will be interesting to see if they even both stay in, since he so often enters two and scratches one. Action on the board will also be interesting, as it tends to be a good sign when his horses take money, and a bad one when bettors shy away. Between the two Rivelli horses #6 Ravin's Treasure is slightly preferred; E. T. Baird excels at the gate, a positive with first-time starters, and his worktab doesn't have a midsummer gap like #2 Brilliant Richie's does.
Among the three longer shots, it's hard to get too excited about any of the three of them on paper, though if any of them show particularly good demeanour or sprinter build in the paddock on Thursday, it would make sense to put them in the discussion. #4 Can't Stop the Cat looks most interesting of the longer shots, at least before seeing them -- though the barn isn't usually ready to fire first-out and the female family doesn't scream precocity, sire Run Away and Hide is a solid juvenile sire, and he may be fit from working over the deep Fairmount track.
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